Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 10th, 2005
Poor Haru is have a rough day at school, and it isn’t like this is an exception. She can’t seemto fit in, and is filled with self-doubt. On her way home, she rescues a cat from traffic, and isastonished when the cat speaks to her. It turns out that she rescued the prince of the CatKingdom. By way of thanks, the Cat King decides she should become his son’s bride. Harudoesn’t like this idea. Coming to her aid is the Baron, an elegant cat figurine come to life, alongwith his f…iends, an enormously fat white cat and a raven. Haru is carried off to the Cat Kingdom,with her friends in hot pursuit.
Other than the initial concept, Hayao Miyazaki wasn’t directly responsible for this StudioGhibli offering, and it’s interesting to see someone else’s handiwork. The story is a delightfulone, and the voice acting in both English (Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, etc.) and Japanese isstrong. One of the standout features of all these films is the carefully crafted sense of an ordinaryworld which makes the extraordinary events all the more special (try to think of a NorthAmerican cartoon where we see the young heroine and her single mother sharing breakfast in anordinary home). Wonderful stuff.
It must be coincidence, but the audio each Ghibli offering is stronger than the last. This is thebest yet of the recent releases. All the tracks are 5.1, and they’re great. The music is evocative,and the dialogue is free of distortion, but the standout is the placement of the sound effects. Theenvironmental illusion is very convincing. One terrific track.
The picture quality is excellent, very much in line with the other Ghibli DVDs. The coloursare vibrant, and the print is in perfect condition. There is no grain at all. This is a beautifullooking disc. The picture is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.
The extras follow exactly the same format as the other recent Ghibli releases: a burbling”Behind the Microphone” featurette wherein the American voice actors wax promotional, adubbed Japanese making-of featurette that is not uninteresting, the Japanese trailers and TVspots, and, on Disc 2, the scored storyboards for the entire movie (has anyone ever watched thisall the way through?). The main and special features menu are animated and scored, while mostof the other screens are scored.
Another classy release. More like this could only be a good thing.
Special Features List
- “Behind the Microphone” Featurette
- Making-of Featurette
- Trailers and TV Spots
- Complete Storyboards