The Cat Returns Review
The Cat Return’s is one Miyazaki’s real duds and feels completely out of the norm compared to the acclaimed creator’s work. Its short runtime and little emotional impact strongly take away from the interesting characters and fun-loving story.
After saving a cat from being hit by a truck, a young teenage girl named Haru (Anne Hathaway) is suddenly visited by a clan of magical cats. Once they attempt to whisk her away to marry their cat prince, Haru meets a fancy clothed cat, named The Baron (Cary Elwes), who tries to help her escape from the dastardly Cat King (Tim Curry) before she is forced to stay in the Cat Kingdom forever.
The film’s animation is extremely colorful and is unique compared to other Miyazaki’s films. Many times, characters do not even have to speak to have their personalities and motives be recognized. This is thankfully the case as, more often than not, the dialogue between the characters feels painfully mediocre and even at times a little cringe worthy. It feels oddly immature for Studio Ghibli and ruins moments in the film.
There is also not much to be remembered of The Cat Returns as a whole. The plot isn’t anything worthwhile and even the biggest of Studio Ghibli’s fans won’t really feel much towards it. It does have some fun moments, however, that cat lovers will find humorous and totally relatable. Not to mention, that is also has a couple great gags mixed with some clever pop culture homages.
The biggest crutch of The Cat Returns is the extremely short run-time the film has. It’s just over an hour and makes The Cat Returns feel less like a movie and more like a TV special. It also makes the plot feel completely rushed and gives little emotional weight to what is happening.
Overall, The Cat’s Return is a disappointing entry for Studio Ghibli. It wastes some great characters and decent material on a short film that will have little impact on even the biggest Ghibli fans.