Ten-year old Sakura Avalon, Cardcaptor of the elusive, magical Clow Cards, unexpectedly wins a trip to Hong Kong where strange dreams lead her to an imprisoned sorceress with close connections to the creator of the cards.
Sakura and her friends have just finished the fourth grade, and are enjoying a well-deserved break from both school and cardcaptoring. While shopping at a local store, Sakura is fortunate enough to win a free trip to Hong Kong. Once there she is reunited with her rival and friend Syaoran Li, soon discovering that her good fortune is actually the work of a powerful sorceress with a grudge against Clow Reed, the long-dead creator of the Clow Cards.Written by
As a bonus for audiences who attended the Japanese theatrical run of the film, Studio Madhouse animated a special short music video based on another of CLAMP's manga series: 'Clover.' The short, which was directed by Kitaro Kousaka, was not been shown at any other time and remained unavailable on home video and DVD for many years due to legal issues between the studio, the group which provided the song (ALI Project), and the financiers. In 2007, the short was finally released on DVD in Japan. For English language viewers, references to the short may be found in some of the Japanese language commercials on the 'Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie' DVD. See more »
[a Clow Card, the Arrow, is pulling back the string of a bow. The Card releases the bow string, and the single glowing arrow fired turns into many, which start raining down on Sakura and Kero as they attempt to fly away and escape]
It's coming, Sakura!
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Spinning a movie off from an ongoing anime series is a popular trend and has been for ages. Cardcaptor Sakura being a series that has drew in wide appeal naturally was destined for a big screen treatment of it's own back in the series run. This movie, Cardcaptor Sakura the Movie is set sometime in the middle of the series making this story act as an interquel to expand on the ongoing series. One difficult aspect about making a movie from a serial adventure of the week is making it worthwhile and the Cardcaptor movie delivers on the worthwhile aspect. The main series of Cardcaptor Sakura is about Sakura capturing a set of magical tarot styled cards and ensuring their power remains sealed.
This movie story tells it's own unique side-quest adventure scenario featuring Sakura, her best friend Tomoyo, her older brother Touya and her childhood crush, Yukito going on a trip to Hong Kong. True to the style of Cardcaptor Sakura's story this trip is no luck of the draw but the will of the universe and fate itself. This gives a sense the real sense of being fresh and original and doesn't let the movie feel like a slightly longer episode.
The pacing can be a bit on the slow side, Sakura sees the same dream several times as a means to build a sense of foreboding this may dissuade some and feel a bit like padding.
The animation is of high theatrical quality for the era and still looks very good today. The lighting and color tones are softer and darker compared to the brighter television series but it looks very well done especially on later Bluray remasters. Studio Madhouse teamed with famed Studio Ghibli for the film's special effects and visually it's an impressive marvel of animation for the late 90s. Fluid cinematography adds to the overall energy of the film.
The acting is about what you might expect if you are familiar with the series. The original Japanese cast returns and they do the job all the same as the series which was good as it is for the kind of show it is that is a silly, bubbly and upbeat series. The English dub is best avoided but if you do need to watch it dubbed seek out the mostly uncut version which features the story intact but do keep in mind the names are all Westernized. The heavily edited and trimmed down "Cardcaptors the Movie" is best avoided all together.
A relatively short film, the Cardcaptor Sakura movie will provide joy to fans of the Cardcaptor Sakura series. Obviously for first time audiences with no knowledge this won't be the movie you'll want jump into of course if you are a fan and this has passed you buy it's never too late to check it out.
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