DVD Title
The Cat Returns
International Title
The Cat Returns
DVD Length Original Length
75 Minutes 75 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Disney 2005
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English, French English, French
Region Number of Discs
1 2
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 (Anamorphic) 2.0 Stereo, 5.1 Surround
Extras
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Menus (English)
.
Chapters (12)
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Trailers: The Cat Returns (6 in total), The Incredibles, Bambi: Special Edition DVD, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds/The Cat Returns/Porco Rosso DVDs (Disney), Spirited Away (Disney), Kiki's Delivery Service (Disney), Castle in the Sky (Disney)
.
Behind the Microphone (9 minutes)
.
The Making of The Cat Returns (34 minutes)
.
Complete Storyboards (75 minutes)
Captures
Review

An unlikely early Ghibli release from Disney, given that the firm's most famous director, Hayao Miyazaki, had almost no involvement. Regardless, the company does a good job with this 2002 film as the video and audio quality are great, if one can stomach the dubtitles, while there is also a wealth of added materiel to look over.


 Video: Star Rating

A great, if not slightly flawed, video presentation for this release. On the plus side, the print used for the transfer looks to be near flawless, with hardly any grain and not a scratch in sight. The movie is also presented with either the English or Japanese version, depending on which is selected, and it will change up things like the main title and credits appropriately. Unfortunately, the colors are a little harder to gauge here. They are certainly vibrant, to say the least, but they look to be washed out as a result to achieve this as either the saturation or contrast has been adjusted too high. The brightness level could also cause a problem for some, but I'm hesitant to mention it as it depends greatly on the settings of one's player on how much of a problem this will be. Case in point, if this scene looks problematic then one has an idea what to expect. Like all of the company's releases, edge enhancement is present in the form of halos, but it's really the only digital inconsistency to note.

The Cat Returns is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

Disney has done another great job with the audio tracks here, giving a nice 5.1 surround presentation for the English dubbing and 2.0 stereo presentations for both the Japanese and French tracks. All three are presented faithfully as well, with no distortions and crystal clear dialogue. Speaker distinction in all three tracks is respectable as well, with the surround presentation of the English dubbing being the best, of course.

Despite the qualities of the actual audio tracks, though, there is one problem with the audio portion of this release that should be all too familiar to Toho fans: dubtitles. Yes, that's right, the only subtitles provided on this release are a near word-for-word reiteration of Disney's dubbing for the movie. Now I understand that this DVD was rushed into release to fill a void caused by the delay of the company's My Neighbor Totoro set, but that still doesn't excuse the lack of effort put forth in this regard. What I find disheartening, though, is that very few other reviews for this release appear to have caught this (a Google search for "Cat Returns" and "dubtitles" points at those that did, and kudos to them). On the bright side, the dubbing doesn't contradict the source material much, but artistic license has been taken, and it gets very awkward when subtitles start appearing on the screen when no Japanese dialogue is being spoken.


 Extras:

With some luck, Disney has packed this two disc set with a very good selection of extras for fans and Ghibli enthusiasts to mill over after the feature itself. The standard extra for these style of sets is of course included, which is a full storyboard feature that runs the full 75 minute length of the movie and can be viewed in either dubbed English or Japanese with removable English subtitles (or dubtitles, to be more precise).

This is followed by a 34 minute making of documentary on the film, located on the first disc. This covers the entire production in detail, with interviews from producer Toshio Suzuki, Hayao Miyazaki, and voice actor Tetsuro Tamba among many others. A lot of aspects of the movie's workings are also given inspection, including the creation of the soundtrack and animation elements behind the movie's many cats. Unfortunately, this feature is dubbed, and not very well either. In fact, I could hardly stop laughing at how bad it was at points. Considering how much work goes into dubbing vs. subtitling, I'm amazed that they went through the extra effort for something that would likely turn off the purists that would be most interested in such a feature. Regardless, if one can weather the dubbing then there is a wealth of information to be had from this extra.

Next up on the roster is a rather robust collection of trailers for the movie, all of which are in good shape. Although unlike other discs from Disney, they are not subtitled (raising the question as to if their normal subtitler was sick when this disc went into production?). Finally, the standard "Behind the Microphone" feature rounds out the supplements on this disc. Overall, it's not one of the better ones Disney has conducted, even if there are some very familiar faces attached to this project, such as Cary Elwes, Anne Hathaway, Tim Curry and Peter Boyle. Still, for those interested into what some of the English voice actors thought of the dubbing, this feature will tide them over for its duration.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, Disney dropped the ball in respects to the subtitling of this release, but otherwise they did a fine job. Anime fans, or those looking for some family friendly entertainment, should be more than satisfied with this DVD set.

- Anthony Romero  
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