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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Cardcaptors - The Movie
Cardcaptors - The Movie
Pioneer // G // March 26, 2002
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Loren Halek | posted April 4, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

CardCaptors The Movie takes place between Volumes 9 and 10 of the continuing CardCaptor Sakura series distributed by Pioneer. The release of this movie and the series is a bit confusing, as there are 2 versions of every release. There is CardCaptor Sakura that includes only the Japanese language and the original script. Then there is the CardCaptors line that is in English and with severe edits to the entire series including entire episodes being cut and character names outside of Sakura being given more Americanized names. This movie is aimed at the CardCaptors series and is severely lacking in regards to the other version, which I will get to later. With that out of the way, I will be using the English character names with actual Japanese name in parenthesis when I first talk about them.

Before I get into the movie, a little background of the series is needed first. CardCaptor Sakura is about a girl that is given the power to call upon the Clow Cards, cards that summon magic and magical creatures. Most of the time she looks for the creatures out in the world and tries to capture them into a card so she can use it later. There is also another CardCaptor, named Li Shaolin, who both helps and competes with Sakura in capturing cards. This series and film are animated by MadHouse studios, famous for such series as Trigun, Spawn: The Animated Series and pieces of Batman: The Animated Series along with many others. They are considered one of the top animation studios in Japan. Sakura is a bit of a departure for them with being a far more child-like show than the ones named above. There are some very mature ideas behind this series from time to time, but you will never see that unless you get the Japanese version of the series. Sakura is also hugely popular both in Japan and the US.

At the beginning of the movie, Sakura is trying to capture the Arrow card. The Arrow, a girl who fires power arrows, is giving Sakura a good fight. Li helps Sakura and she gets the Arrow card, which comes in handy later in the movie. We next see Sakura and her classmates: Madison (Tomoyo), Li and Meiling as they get their grades for the end of term. They start talking about spring vacation and it sounds like Sakura and Madison are not going much of anywhere. Next we see them in a store they frequent and Sakura buys a notebook. The owner says Sakura can reach into a box and see if she wins a trip to Hong Kong. Sakura puts her hand in the box and the winning ball magically goes into her hand. So off to Hong Kong Sakura and Madison go along with Sakura's brother Tori (Touya) and his friend Julian (Yukito), who Sakura has a crush on.

Once in Hong Kong, Sakura has dreams about being on water and a woman showing up who has magical bandages. Kero notes that there is a lot of magical energy around Hong Kong and that there is a lot of evil energy around as well. In Hong Kong we meet Li's mother and his older sisters who take a liking to Sakura and Madison until Tori and Julian come by, then they really take a liking to them. Li's mother is very distinguished and is important in the overall plot of this movie as she has very powerful magic and helps Sakura get past something blocking her way. Eventually Sakura falls upon the woman with the bandages and finds out that she wants revenge on Clow Reed (basically the creator of the Clow Cards who has long since died) who locked her away in aother dimension because of her evil magic. She realizes Sakura and Li have Clow Cards, but does not believe Reed is dead. The sorceress imprisons everyone but Sakura and Kero. Sakura must face her alone…what will she do?

Overall this movie was ok. It really stands on its own outside of the series. Anyone could pick this movie up and watch it. Although there are some references to the series, it does not detract from someone just picking this movie up and watching it. I have problems with this movie from technical standpoints that will be explained later, but as a self-contained movie it was an ok film.

I had enough of a problem with it being in English only to detract from the enjoyment I would get out of this movie. The thing is I usually listen to anime in English, but Sakura is an exception as things are cut so horribly. The songs in this movie are cheesy and annoying. This series has great songs in it from the Japanese standpoint and I am sure they are great in that version. From what I have heard the Japanese and English versions from a video, not plot, standpoint are the same. I can only imagine how the Japanese version would be, but I think I could recommend that version easily over this one.

The DVD

Video: The movie is presented in Full Frame 1.33:1 ratio. It is very hard to watch this movie as I know the Japanese version has a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. What is presented here is pretty good though from a technical standpoint. Even during flashing lights parts of the movie I did not notice any shimmering at all. I can only imagine how beautiful the Japanese version is.

Sound: Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and in English. The Japanese version has a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in both Japanese and English. I hate the English version of this whole series and was not impressed by this version either. As a 2.0 track it did sound pretty good though.

Menus: The menu is pretty bland on this movie. Music is in the background and the menu is easy to traverse, but there is only one menu.

Extras: There are not many extras on this movie and it really suffers in this section. There are really only 2 extras and neither really is exciting.

English Trailer: This is just a basic trailer for the English movie.

Music video: One of the annoying English songs in a music video. Horrid.

Final Thoughts: As a movie, CardCaptors the Movie is ok. I have a feeling the Japanese version is much better and I may just go out and get it. It is too bad I cannot trade this version in though. I believe children will like this movie and will understand the meaning behind it and may get them interested in picking up the series or watching it on Kids WB. I can only say to Rent It though as the English version is just so tough to sit through. I am very pro-dub, but not in this case. Go out and get the Japanese version if you can, you will probably enjoy it better.
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