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Pioneer Entertainment presents
Cardcaptors: The Movie (2000)

Sakura: There can't be a Clow card here can there?Kero: No, this is different. This feels... more evil.
- Carly McKillip, Matt Hill

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: September 05, 2002

Stars: Carly McKillip, Matt Hill, Rys Huber, Maggie Blue O'Hara
Other Stars: Tony Sampson, Sam Vincent, Nicole Oliver, Stevie Valance, Brian Drummond, Dale Wilson
Director: Morio Asaka

Manufacturer: CADDS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence)
Run Time: 01h:21m:39s
Release Date: March 26, 2002
UPC: 013023174498
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B-A-B+ D+

DVD Review

A jewel in the CLAMP crown, the TV series based on their Cardcaptor Sakura manga follows the exploits of a young girl searching for the magical Clow Cards, after she accidentally released them while cleaning her father's library. The guardian of the cards, a flying Teddy Bear named Kero, is also released and charges Sakura with the task of retrieving all the cards which, if left alone, will cause no end of mischief. Like many popular Japanese TV series, a US distributor, in this case Nelvana, picked up the show for broadcast on Kids WB as Cardcaptors, and like other series, it was hacked into something deemed suitable for an American audience. A Cardcaptor Sakura feature film was produced near the end of the first season, and was extremely popular in Japan. This version of that film is presented here, and like the TV series, it is "fixed" for US audiences in both its scripting and frame composition.

Providing a warm-up for what will follow later, the movie begins with Sakura battling an Arrow card, which demonstrates why she has been chosen as the Cardcaptor over her friend Li. That night, she has a dream that she is underwater, where she meets a mysterious woman with long, flowing veils.

While visiting her local comic shop, Sakura wins a trip for four to Hong Kong, the original home of the Clow cards. Since her father is going away on business and can't go with her, he allows her brother Tori to chaperone. They are joined by Tori's best friend Julian (who Sakura has a crush on) and Sakura's best friend Madison, with Kero coming along on the sly. After seeing some of the sights when they get to Hong Kong, the four meet up with Li and Meilin, and visit Li's mansion where they meet his mother. It soon becomes evident that something is amiss when Kero senses a presence, which leads the gang to an old bookstore. Here, they discover a portal to another dimension, where the woman from Sakura's dreams, a sorceress imprisoned in this netherworld by Clow Reed, casts a spell that traps her friends in suspended animation. It is up to Sakura to figure out a way to save them.

Cardcaptors: The Movie differs from the TV series in that it isn't a hunt for the "Clow Card of the week." For young kids, it is entertaining on many levels, from great character design to the mixture of drama and comedy that pervades the feature. Given the theatrical budget, the source animation quality is beautiful, lending a strong visual appeal to the movie. Like Cardcaptors TV, it offers advecomes evident that something is amiss when Kero senses a presence, which leads the gang to an old bookstore. Here, they discover a portal to another dimension, where the woman from Sakura's dreams, a sorceress imprisoned in this netherworld by Clow Reed, casts a spell which traps her friends in suspended animation. It is up to Sakura to figure out a way to save them.

Cardcaptors: The Movie differs from the TV series in that it isn't a hunt for the "Clow Card of the week," and for young kids, is entertaining on many levels, from great character design, to the mixture of drama and comedy that pervades the feature. Given the theatrical budget, the source animation quality is beautiful, lending a strong visual appeal to the movie. Like Cardcaptors TV, it offers adventure, suspense and danger without being too frightening nor laced with adult humor, toned down further with additional cuts of minor violence and romantic content.

The characters are fun, but other than an introduction, there isn't much development here, relying on the audience's familiarity with the television show. Sakura is forced to use her wits to solve her dilemma, and true to form, the film gives a moral message about people's good underlying character, with the villian in the story given redemption by the end, despite her evil deeds. This version plays well enough on its own; however, the edits made to the story—many of which have no apparent reasoning behind them—and the recomposition to full-frame seriously detract from a faithful representation.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image quality is very good, with minor aliasing and interlace artifacts as the main issues. Grain level is variable; colors and black levels are strong, except when intentially washed out. The principle problem with this release is the pan & scan transfer, which ruins the film's proper widescreen composition (available on the anamorphic Cardcaptor Sakura version), making many scenes look too tight, and cutting off faces, such as a close up of Kero where both his eyes are missing from the shot, leaving a yellow screen with his nostrils and mouth as the image.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Unlike the Cardcaptor Sakura version of the movie, which has both Japanese and English 5.1 tracks, an English 2.0 track is the only available option here. Sound quality is very good and well defined, with even tonal coverage and easily discernable dialogue. While there is some directionality, the soundstage is very center-focused.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Music video
Extras Review: Extras here are pretty slim, consisting of a No Nagging music video by Eurodance group Froggy Mix, which features clips from the movie. An English trailer is the only other inclusion.

The chapter listing insert folds out to a mini poster.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

While its animation and story are enjoyable, buyers of this disc are being short changed on all fronts—the story has been needlessly edited, the picture composition is compromised, and even the soundtrack is downgraded to a stereo surround mix. It is a good movie, but I can't in good conscience recommend this version to anyone. Look for the Cardcaptor Sakura version instead.

 


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