(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The Cat Returns)
Doug (vo): So remember that story in Whispers of the Heart [sic] that the girl was writing about this cat baron who could go into these magical lands and have these great powers? Well, apparently, the idea was so good, that they decided to make a movie out of it. Insert The Cat Returns...a very confusing title, seeing how the cat isn't really returning, he's meeting this character for the first time, but whatever.
Doug (vo): The character he meets is a girl named Haru. She saves a cat from danger in the middle of the road, but it looks like that cat is a magical cat, the prince of a kingdom, to be exact, a kingdom ruled by talking felines just like him. Touched by his rescue, he asks Haru if she would marry him. She's so dumbfounded by what she's seen, she doesn't know what to say, and he confuses it for a "yes"*. So the king of the cats, played by Tim Curry, demands that she be brought to the kingdom and turned into a cat herself. Her only salvation is a cat baron, played once again by Cary Elwes, who voiced the exact same character in Whispers of the Heart. Through all his magical antics and mysterious ways, he finds a way to get her out of trouble as she gets back into trouble, and they constantly keep saving each other back and forth. And it's a race to get home as all sorts of whimsical magic keeps taking place, much enchanted scenery is discovered, which, of course, leads to a lot of fun and some fantastic imagery.
- The cat prince, Lune, never actually wanted to marry Haru. The king offered her to marry him and her mixed response was confused for consent.
Doug (vo): It's funny that they got Cary Elwes to play this part, because it actually does sort of have a Princess Bride feel to it. Not the story itself, but more kind of the feel. It is kind of funny and quirky. But it's also kind of like a fairy tale. With magical lands, flying, talking animals, it's a really charming setup.
[Clips focusing on the film's characters are shown]
Doug (vo): A young Anne Hathaway plays Haru and she does a wonderful job, actually playing it very similar to her Princess Diaries character, which I stand by wouldn't be that bad a character if she was put in a better story. This is that better story. She is klutzy and awkward, but she's also kind of wide-eyed, innocent, and just trying to make sense of a world that has very little of it. The rest of the voice actors are great, too. Tim Curry? Pfft. How can you go wrong?
The Cat King: Not entertaining enough!
Natori (voiced by Rene Auberjonois): Yes, sire.
[A cat is thrown out of the window as punishment]
The Cat King: Whoever's next better not stink! GOT IT?!
Doug (vo): Peter Boyle as the Baron's sidekick.
[Clips of Natoru are shown]
Doug (vo): But there is one casting choice that just boggles the hell out of me. I first saw this in the original Japanese language, and one of my favorite characters was this cute little assistant cat. You just saw her and you just wanted to pinch her cheeks, she was so cute and she had this little smile and this friendly little voice, she was just adorable. But then, when the American dub came, who did they get to voice her?
[Clip of the English-dubbed Natoru is shown. There, she is voiced by Conan O'Brien's co-host Andy Richter]
Natoru: Excuse me, but I think there's a bit of a problem.
Doug (vo): Wait a minute. Is that Andy Richter? Why is Andy Richter doing what is so obviously a female design? This isn't like in Kiki with Phil Hartman where maybe it's male, maybe it's female, you can't quite tell by the design. This is so clearly female. Every time I see this character, it's just so jarring to instead not hear this cute little fluffy voice and instead Conan's co-host.
Natoru: Emergency exit for all guests right here, please. Thanks.
Doug (vo): And don't get me wrong, he does fine, it's just...it's so clear this isn't the right voice that should go with this character. It's kind of like giving the voice of The Little Mermaid to a male baritone singer. It just doesn't add up.
Doug (vo): However, the rest of the film is just a pure delight. It's not anything on an epic scale like, say, Mononoke or Nausicaä, it's more like what the girl was writing in Whispers of the Heart; a cute little fairy tale. But as cute little fairy tales go, it's very well done. It's funny, it's imaginative, it's clever. It has enjoyable characters and a lot of wonderful visuals. But, hey, why listen to me talk about it anymore? See for yourself and get whisked away.
[The film's ending scene, showing Haru bidding farewell to the cat baron as he flies away, is shown]