Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Cat Returns on Blu-ray

The Cat Returns is an animated adventure by Studio Ghibli that looks at the story of Haru (Anne Hathaway), a young girl who is able to talk with cats.  This ability which she’s hidden from others eventually leads to her rescuing an “odd-eyed” cat named Lune.  She quickly learns that he is the Prince of the Cat Kingdom, and somehow ends up engaged to him.  And an adventure ensues from there.  It’s a fun fantasy film in a way similar to the Wizard of Oz, and today, June 16, it’s available as a newly remastered Blu-ray edition for families to enjoy,

The bonus features on the Blu-ray are identical to those found on the 2005 DVD release of the film.  In addition to the original Japanese Trailers and TV Spots you will also find:

  • Original Japanese Storyboards walks you through the story of the movie using the sketches originally used at Studio Ghibli to lay out the story of the movie.  It is a condensed version of the movie, but does cover the entire plot, so save it for after the movie.

  • Behind The Microphone Anne Hathaway talks about how much fun she had voicing Haru, how she especially enjoyed all of her emotion and how she learned to scream without hurting her voice.  Cary Elwes and Peter Boyle talk about voicing The Baron and Muta, and what it’s like to dub English over an already existing Anime film, including the work involved in aligning syllables to the beats of the characters mouth movements.  Andy Richter, who is very well versed in voice work for animation, talks about voicing Natoru and how different the voice alignment was from the voice work he is normally used to.  Also chiming in are Elliot Gould, Tim Curry, and others.

  • The Making Of The Cat Returns is a piece originally recorded in Japanese at Studio Ghibli and is subtitled in English.  In it you’ll learn how the characters have their origins in another film Whisper of the Heart.  These characters were then to be tied to a Japanese Theme Park attraction, that was tied to manga called “Baron: The Cat Returns”, but the project was shelved.  Eventually, Miyazaki realized he needed to make sure that new blood was in charge of projects at Studio Ghibli and this lead to Hiroyuki Morita becoming the director.

As I indicated above this is a great family movie.  Completely fun and enjoyable with a lot of laughter and silliness to carry you through the story.  As with many Studio Ghibli films this movie is a “coming of age movie” as it really about how Haru needs to break out of her shy shell and move beyond the things in life that are holding her back.  Okay, yeah there’s a lot of talking cats, but you can liken the relationship between Haru and the Baron to other Disney pairs like Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket for example.  The parallels and familiarity are there.  This will make a great movie night for your family.

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