• An early shot of a suburban street in The Cat Returns

The Studio Ghibli retrospective currently underway at the Gene Siskel Film Center is the one foolproof source of movie entertainment this summer. Even the weakest of Ghibli’s animated features—like The Cat Returns, which plays again tonight at 6:15 PM—stands heads above an American studio production like Shrek or The Lorax. It isn’t just the lack of cynicism that distinguishes these films (some of the only contemporary movies that children and adults can appreciate on the same level), but the personalized care that goes into their creation. Ghibli’s commitment to hand-drawn animation has been rightly celebrated, and you can sense the meticulous creation process in the films’ development of characterization, mystery, and suspense.