A wild and surreal trip into the mind of a master. (by surenm)
I think this is possibly Miyazaki's most intriguing movie. All of his other films are very linear and even though their highly varied worlds may be visually stunning and highly creative, I feel the dreamy world of Howls Moving Castle is by far the most captivating, bizarre, and imaginative of all the worlds Miyazaki has ever envisioned.What I love about this movie is that it's highly emotional without a great deal of logic or plot or story to get in the way. In this way the film is simple, pure, and extremely beautiful. It is as if the characters go from one emotion to the next, in a <more>
world that is as random as one's own dreams. Some people have complained about the lack of plot or story or serious character development, but even though the characters are fairly static, their emotions and the physical changes they undergo as they go through these emotions brings out a higher truth that is seldom given such artistic and natural freedom.I think this is a very smart movie in many subtle ways and it's one that I look forward to watching again on the big screen and then on DVD. Although it flirts from theme to theme to theme with a kind of animated attention deficit disorder, the landscapes and utter unabated surrealism left me stunned and never bored.Also, from a quizzical character design perspective, Howl is certainly one of if not the most beautiful characters that Miyazaki has ever created. Howl is an interesting departure from Miyazaki's more classical wabi-sabi anime style that most of his heroes and heroines are drawn in as Howl is definitely a very contemporary bishonen.If you're looking for quaint settings, dynamic characters and a very involving character or plot driven story, you're not going to necessarily find them here, but you will find an equally stunning and pleasing movie if you let yourself go and enjoy this passionate, heartfelt and surreal Miyazaki dream.
Howl's Moving Castle is as marvelous and magical as Miyazaki's other great work. Something in Disney's advertising or the description I read gave the false impression that it was going to be sub-standard work meaning it was still going to be better than anything DreamWorks Animation was doing Madagascar was sooo pedestrian .While not as awe-inspiring as Spirited Away or action-packed as Mononoke, it does work on the level of Kiki's Delivery Service as a girl is forced to be better than she thinks she can be well, that's not a big surprise, that's all his films . And <more>
as with all Miyazaki stories, the story teaches without being preachy. And the lessons learned are represented in character changes and in the character's physical appearance as well. It's that same attention to detail that has made Pixar so great.The animation is wonderful. The castle is itself is a mesh-mash of so many haphazardly arranged pieces that an engineer would have an aneurysm just sorting them all out and yet it works. Through magic, of course. The magic being Howl's and the authoritative hand of Miyazaki's direction. The airships wow, airships in a Miyazaki film? Who would have thunk? are great variations of one's he's used before and there are some rather dark and beautiful scenes of a world at war.Most of the voice work was very strong including Christian Bale Howl and Emily Mortimer as the young version of the heroine, Sophie . The voice that surprised me was Billy Crystal as Calcifer, the little flame that could. He's the heart of the castle and only annoyed at his first few scenes then becomes a very likable character.There a few clunky moments in the plot line where transitions between story points weren't very strong, but overall it's another outstanding film from Studio Ghibli. Even my 40 year old partner, who had spent the day mountain biking, was dead tired and had never seen a Miyazaki film stayed awake for the entire 2 hours. When we left at 3:30 in the morning still jabbering away about all the imagery and meaning, we realized we had seen true art.
Thank you so much for this movie Mr. Miyazaki (by Andrea_R)
I Don't get words to express what I felt when coming out of the cinema, Howl's Moving Castle is an absolutely fantastic film and has even out Laputa and Totoro as my favourite Miyazaki film.The story is amazing and the characters and creatures are as excellently crafted and fun to watch as ever. The voice actors and music are perfect Joe Hisaishi in my opinion is the best contemporary composer.My only criticism very little is maybe the ending last minutes that rises suddenly, far from the habitual perfection of the catharsis final of the Miyazaki's films but nothing <more>
importantThe movie has a really bad thing of the film: THE LONG WAITING TO SEE IT AGAIN!ESSENTIAL
Another wonderful movie from Miyazaki (by whitetigah)
first of all: sorry if my English is not the best out there, but it's not my native language I was lucky enough to see the world premiere at Venice Film Festival, September 5, 2004 .Not only the art and animation is breathtaking with almost no CGI , but the story is also above Miyazaki standards.The characters are wonderful, each one with his or her own personality. Among them the best is for sure Calcifer, the Fire Demon, who is actually an almost all-powerful being, but is often underestimated by the other characters "If you don't obey, I'll pour water on you!" <more>
.The music is one of the best parts of the movie. Even if you don't notice it, it is always there, always conveying the right feeling.Bottom line: this is an excellent movie. If you liked other movies by Miyazaki such as Mononoke Hime, Spirited Away, Laputa Castle in the Sky... you cannot miss it.
In a time of war and falsity here it is a dancing poetry from Japan against all the cruelty and pain. The moving castle leads us to a magic place where life has a strong value and elderly people have an important role to play. Also in an apparent hostility or in a scarecrow, Hayao Miyazaki gives us the chance of finding a friend and not letting the dream go down. The perfect technique and the emotional stream are in complete harmony. If the jury of the Venice Film Festival had been more far-seeing, it would have given a more prestigious prize to this masterpiece.
They tried to save each other ... (by chsorley)
I saw this twice, because there was no way I could understand the plot especially in the second half after only seeing it once. The first time around I got too carried away watching the animation, but the second viewing helped me understand the story a lot better, as I managed to pay more attention to all the dialogues.Honestly though I still don't know exactly what happened in the last half an hour or so. I'm going to read the book, and I'm sure I will enjoy it but don't know how useful it's going to be. The film's said to be wildly different from the original <more>
setting.It really doesn't matter, because I don't seem to mind seeing the film once again & again . The animation is so beautiful & I find the characters cute gorgeous, funny & very heart-warming.*SPOILERS*I figure that the face of the old Sophie changes & she instantly looks younger when she feels excited / happy / alive, even as a very old woman she looks young when asleep, but I wonder if it's only in Howl's vision .It breaks my heart that she looks sad & immediately turns back into the old Sophie when Howl tries to tell her sincerely "you are beautiful". But then both Howl & Sophie must fight the war to save each other & the rest of their newly-formed family incl. their old enemy & the dog. The curse is already gone by the time Sophie comes back to present from the past through the door, finds the wounded Bird Howl & kisses him. She won't look old any more.Still, I also like the fact that earlier in the film, after the initial shock, Sophie was clearly able to enjoy herself being old. Think she was already in love with Howl when he came back to the Castle & found her, but she didn't have to be nervous or anything because she knew she was no longer a shy 18-year-old.And Sophie's first encounter with Howl in the back street ... did he say "There you are, SWEETHEART"? Has he actually been looking for Sophie ever since he as a still very young boy saw her & heard her cry FIND ME IN THE FUTURE. That's clever, and most romantic.
It's hard to make any movie that follow after 'Spirited Away' So, when you watch, you have to try and keep an open mind....which is hard to do since the characters, and the whole feel of the film seems so much like his previous works.But what fun this film is! And interestingly beautiful. I could watch most any of his movies, just to look at the beautiful scenery. I love some of the incredible imagination that goes into his works.I could easily recommend this film. No, it's not the better than the rest, but I feel it's definitely worth your time.I look forward to seeing <more>
the film again, maybe I will understand some things a bit better.
The more you've seen Miyazaki's films, there is a chance you'll less likely enjoy this movie. Why so? Because you can familiarize almost every single element from his previous works in Howl, which is actually quite strange. Before Howl his films were ALWAYS unique and new, when compared with the ones he had made before. But in Howl we can at least subconsciously easily compare those black liquid shades chasing Howl to Spirited Away's No-face and the whole ambiance stands somewhere between Kiki and Laputa. Not good.If you take all those before seen Miyazaki trademarks away, <more>
the entity of the movie is frankly said quite fragile; Mages used as part of the military machinery. I haven't read the book version of Howl, but for the movie part I can say, that it is a very traditional piece of Ghibli and also has a worn-out story. The original and thus powerful themes we saw in Mononoke and Spirited Away are gone now, and have been replaced with the used ones: war and love. So "unmiyazakian".Yet I'm quite sure that I would appreciate Howl a whole lot more, if it was the first Ghibli, and above all the first Miyazaki-manufactured movie I've had ever seen. The technical asset of Howl has been substantially improved and Hisaishi's score is once again a top-notch personal performance. The usage of 3D-imaginery has been increased, but the animation is still 99% hand-made, which I naturally appreciate. The characters have variable personalities and especially Witch of the Waste had something, that this movie truly needed.Maybe Mr. Miyazaki shouldn't have done a book adaptation in the first place, since his purely imaginative mind is meant for bigger things. Instead of "loaning" ideas from others, he should be the only source of inspiration, when preparing for his new project. I sure hope that Howl won't be Hayao Miyazaki's final depot in his long career, rather I want to see him leave the ring as a legend instead of a champion.Rating: ***½
First of all, I'd like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of this film and intend to see it several more times. On a technical level, Miyazaki has elevated the traditional 2-D animated film above the cheesier but more realistic 3-D Computer-generated works that seem to prevail everywhere else. Whether he used computers to simulate the 2-D look is beyond my current knowledge, but I applaud his attempt to abandon the technique that even crept into his previous work, _Spirited Away_.The film is *very* loosely based on the original novel. In fact, only the basic premise and the <more>
main characters seem to have survived Miyazaki's scalpel. As a story, it is unimaginative and trite. Furthermore, the characters lacked depth. Unlike he did with _Kiki's Delivery Service_, Miyazaki failed to improve upon the original work. All is forgiven, though. This is one-hundred percent pure uncut Miyazaki. I was left with the impression that he was going to have fun with a project, this was the project, and he had a great deal of fun with it. Joe Hisaishi, once again, provided excellent musical support. I gave this film an 8.