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9 of 9 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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5 of 6 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 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.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is simply magical!, July 3 2013
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This is by far one of my favorite movies. It is beautifully written and the visuals are perfect. I just received my bluray copy in the mail the other day and the quality couldn't be better.. If you already have the dvd I 100 percent recommend getting the Bluray because the quality is a way better and makes the movie even more lovable (if possible :P )

The shipping was fast (I'm with prime) and the movie was in perfect condition. I couldn't of asked for a better experience with Amazon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Whimsy With Depth, April 7 2013
By 
Theo (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) (DVD)
Howl's Moving Castle works beautifully as a pure flight of fantasy, and one that even fairly young children ought to be able to enjoy on that level. At the same time, it also works as a more introspective tale; one that dwells at some length on the underlying "logic of magic"; which is to say on the logic of our own psyches. In the world of Howl's Moving Castle, wizards can ultimately pay a terrible price for unleashing the more destructive applications of their art.

Or, as St. Paul might have said, the wages of sin is death.

Of course, one could also adopt a more literal and overtly political take on this movie. Warfare, both magical and mundane, is at the root of all the really serious carnage in the world of Howl's Moving Castle. One can't help but remember that this is, after all, a film that comes out of a nation completely devastated by its own last foray into military adventurism. But whatever way you want to look at it, this is a film with something to say for itself. A film with sufficient depth that it is worth taking the time to consider alternative interpretations.

Like much of Miyazaki's work, Howl's Moving Castle includes a certain level of sentimentalism. However, judged by western standards it is actually kind of sneaky, even deceptive in this. For just when you think you're in a sweet little kid's movie, without any warning you can suddenly find that you're really in a very adult place indeed. The contrasts here are not quite so sharp as in Porco Rosso, but they are sharp enough nonetheless. Incidentally, one of the things that I personally love most about exploring the media of other cultures is just how viscerally it can make one realize the arbitrariness of the conventions of genre to be found in one's own home culture; conventions that are otherwise all too easy to simply take for granted, as if they were somehow hard-wired into the nature of story itself.

Howl's Moving Castle is also rather interesting in the world it envisions. This is neither our own reality nor the standard swords and sorcery milieu, but a kind of 19th century fantasia almost steampunk in trope. On the down side though, one thing I didn't like about this movie was that the war that forms the backdrop to so much of the action is never really explained in any intelligent way - especially in the ending.

Overall though, I would definitely say that provided you can deal with a certain level of sentimentality, this is a movie worth seeing. And if you do happen to be an adult looking for something you can watch with the kids without being bored to tears, this may just fit the bill.

Theo.
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Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual)
Howl's Moving Castle (Bilingual) by Hayao Miyazaki (DVD - 2006)
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