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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It may sound funny, but "BUY IT NOW", March 16 2006
By 
Leah (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
I may write my review like a teenage - I like to scream: "Buy it now!"
1) The anime storyline is a 4-star story. It is classic, romantic, lucid and beautiful, but lacking of fancy modern twists. However, this is the reason that I like the story. In my personal opinion, the story is more catching than the "Spirited Away" although all major works of Miyazaki are quite interesting. The only setback is that young viewers may not be able to catch the subtlety of the story.
2) The interpretation, translation and adaptation worthies 5 stars. I watched two versions in both English and Japanese. The English voice-dub is as good as original Japanese if it were not better than. The voice-dub is professionally done and has raised the bar for future voice works. What I really like is the translation and adaptation. The I-T-A of this movie is excellent.
3) Both animations and colors are superb. It is an old fashioned 2D anime. But, all those beautiful details like waving flowers in the wind, the clear blue-sky, the background mountains, the buzzing cities, the grand palace and more make me very fond of the whole theme of 2D animations. The entire color theme of this anime is well designed and well matches the storyline with vivid, bright, but not overly sharp colors.
Overall, it is a 5-star DVD set for a 5 star anime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real howl, June 12 2005
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
Not a lot of directors would be brave enough to take on a love story between a girl-turned-old-lady and a wizard missing a vital organ.

But Oscar-winning director/writer Hayao Miyazaki tackles a new fantasy realm in in "Howl's Moving Castle." In this case, it's the world of fantasy dowager Diana Wynne Jones, and he wraps the storyline in humor, romance and genuine flair. No, it's not faithful. But it is fantastic.

Sophie (Emily Mortimer) is a plain, unhappy young woman working in a milliner's shop. But then the evil Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall) comes into the shop, and turns her into a hobbled old lady (Jean Simmons). Sophie ends up wandering into the Moving Castle, a chicken-legged chaos machine, and encountering the sexy, immature wizard Howl (Christian Bale), smart-aleck fire demon Calcifur (Billy Crystal), and preteen apprentice Markl (Josh Hutcherson).

Sophie appoints herself the cleaning lady and starts whipping the castle into shape, trying to deal with Howl's temper tantrums and the rapidly deepening war. And, of course, trying to de-curse herself. But when she runs an errand that Howl is too scared to deal with, she finds that her new boss has some sinister problems of his own -- including a missing heart.

Don't expect much fidelity to the humorous fantasy novel. Miyazaki takes plenty of liberties with the story, leaving out characters and adjusting others. As a result, it feels more like his story than Jones', with the earmarks of his style -- blobby monsters, colorful rural settings, intense anti-war messages, strange machines, and a Jules-Verne atmosphere of Victorian technology. But "Howl's Moving Castle" is very different from the others Miyazaki has done, since he kept the British flavour of the original book.

Moreover, it's a love story. Miyazaki has vaguely touched on romance in prior movies, but here it's full-blown, and surprisingly un-cheesy. In less skilled hands, having Howl say "I finally found something worth protecting. It's you" would seem inane. In Miyazaki's hands, it's not. And even though Sophie looks elderly through most of the movie, Miyazaki never falls into trite observations about inner beauty. He just lets the story show it.

Not that it's all lovey-doviness -- Sophie's housecleaning and Calcifur ("Sophie, help! I'm going out!") provide plenty of amusement. And the animation is as close to flawless as you can get, from the chaotic absurdity Castle to the breathtaking aerial battles that Howl swoops in on. Tiny details are everywhere, from painted ceiling beams to elaborate doorknobs. Calcifur is the one sore point -- he's not done badly, but he looks vaguely artificial.

There are a few flaws in that the story could have used a bit more fleshing out -- at times the relationships between the characters are sketchy. Not much detail, for example, is given about sorceress Suliman (Blythe Danner) and her relationship to Howl, why she's so peeved at him. And it's a bit hard to comprehend why Howl's condition would turn him into a monster bird.

And while there are the usual "howls" that the English dubbing is inferior to the original Japanese vocal work, the American voice actors did exceptional work. Christian Bale and Billy Crystal are the major standouts -- Crystal is funny and dry as usual, while Bale is sultry, sexy, soft-spoken and deep. Except, of course, when Howl runs around the house wailing that his hair is ruined.

"Howl's Moving Castle" moves on a little too fast in places, but it's still a breathtaking, romantic, colorful ride. A wonderful story, told by one of the few filmmakers who could do it justice.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Miyazaki Hayao film yet., March 7 2006
By 
Ashley R. Brunt (Middle of northren nowhere, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
For the longest time Princess Mononoke has been my favorite Miyazaki film but now I find it being quickly replaced by this latest masterpiece (plot holes and all).
I have just started reading the novel from which it is based and while the two are drastically different I have found the book helpful in setting up the backstory that the film missed.
Even with this in mind I am still giving it a 5 out of 5 for the sheer amazingly brilliant entertainment value this has. It's a must see for Anime fans and animation fans (adult and child) alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howl's Supernatural Castle, Nov. 12 2011
By 
Stella Carrier "joyfulwoman2078" - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
"Howl's Moving Castle" is a great movie that implies the powerful message of how things are not always as they seem. Sophie plays a spirit who is reliable, down-to-earth, and is doing the best she can with the hand dealt to her in life. Her life is forever changed when she encounters a man named Howl. Howl met her when she was accosted by a couple of men. From their first meeting clues are given to how the movie is going to unfold. This is because Howl commands Sophie to act natural within moments of their initial meeting. Howl feels at ease with her, and even engages in some magic within minutes of meeting her. Another female is interested in him, and is a character foil to Sophia. The following are some of the other characters that play a pivotal role in this film: Howl's apprentice Markl, Calcifer, and Madame Suliman. Howl's Moving Castle is highly recommended for anyone who enjoyed any of the Harry Potter Movies. This is because "Howl's Moving Castle" contains various magical and supernatural themes that are related to many of the metaphorical "Harry Potter" messages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, June 11 2014
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This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
Another fabulous movie from Studio Ghilbli - the colours, the graphics, the story itself all lend to the viewing experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic film, fascinating and amusing story, June 2 2014
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This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
Christian Bale is great as Howl, love Billy Crystal as Calcifer the Fire Demon is so entertaining, in fact it's a top notch voice cast, with an interesting story to say the least and as I get older the comments Sophie makes as an old woman really resonate. It's an affectionate version of the book and definitely worth many repeat viewings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another five-star movie., April 14 2014
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This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
Miyazaki is part of the top four greatest animators of all time (Walt Disney, Frédéric Back and Norman McLaren being the three others). This movie is another proof of that.

While not perfect, the movie is great. It's got great looking animation and art, awesome voice acting and beautiful, inspiring music. The characters are great and the storyline is very good.

I would've rated this movie 4.5 stars if it was possible, only because it doesn't reach the level of artistic and technical quality other movies like Spirited Away have achieved, but that is a matter of personal taste.

Nevertheless, Howl's Moving Castle is still i my top 20 best animated features of all time. It's story and characters will move you, especially Sophie, a young girl who doesn't have a very high esteem of herself and who learns to be stronger as she's turned into a 90-year old woman by a jealous witch. Get this movie, or at least rent it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas gift !, Nov. 26 2013
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This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
I don't know yet because I have wrap it and it is a suprise for my daughter at Christmas. SO HOPE she'll enjoy it !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best kids movie I have ever seen, Sept. 21 2013
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This is the most original, beautiful movies we have seen. Beats all Disney and all Studio Ghibli movies thus far. A sweet love story with a twist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic movie, Aug. 22 2013
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This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
Seen this movie so many times. I'm an avid Miyazaki fan & have to own all his movies. Recommend this movie highly.
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Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual)
Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) by Hayao Miyazaki (DVD - 2006)
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