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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(4 star).Show all reviews
TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 7, 2013
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.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2006
I really did like Howl's moving castle, but I wasn't as thrilled with it as I thought I would be. Having watched many of Hayao Miyazaki's films and Spirited Away being one of my favorite movies of all time, I must admit that, although Howl was possibly one of the most gorgeous anime characters I've ever seen (I really liked Sophie too),I was a little disappointed with the plot. I like how characters like Chihiro and Sophie learn about themselves, how to make themselves better and their good qualities, and I love the characters and the animation, but it just didn't seem like Howl's Moving Castle had the same flair as his other movies, or the same plot. It seemed to drag on a little bit, but all in all, it was really great, and obviously a Hayao Miyazaki creation, and I have an immense appreciation for him and his works.
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Howl's Moving Castle is yet another in a long line of Studio Ghibli animated adventures that Disney has now re-issued in a Bluray/DVD combo edition. And like Arrietty, it's based on a western novel. But unlike the more family friendly Ghibli movies such as Arrietty, Totoro or Ponyo; this movie is a little more dark, a lot more angsty and involves war. Definitely aimed at a more mature audience as it comes with a PG rating. So I'd put it in a similar category to movies like The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Nausicaa. A family movie for kids old enough to watch the typical sci-fi movie like The Terminator without flinching. Younger than that; you'll have to check it out first and decide for yourself. Otherwise though, it's the same high quality animation and magical wonder as other Hayao Miyazaki movies!

The storyline revolves around a young shop girl by the name of Sophie who gets hit with a life altering spell and must go on a quest with a mysterious stranger in his walking castle to break the spell. Set in a Victorian style alternate world that Miyazaki always does so well; it consists of steam engines, strange villainous creatures, flying battleships and of course Howl's Moving Castle! It's quite wondrous to behold and is the best part of the picture. If you've never seen any previous Ghibli works and you think they're typical animated movies; you're going to be in for one heck of a shock! Ghibli movies are always among the best looking animated movies on the planet

Now it's not my favourite Miyazaki movie; his masterpiece Princess Mononoke and my personal favourite Kiki's Delivery Service hold those spots. But it's still a Studio Ghibli movie and that means stunning visuals, fine detail and being a newer production, a full and rich surround track with 5.1 DTS-HD audio for the English and Japanese dubs; Dolby Digital 5.1 for the French. All three tracks sound pretty much equal.

For a Disney combo pack, the extras are surprisingly sparse. There's a 9 min. piece on the English dubbing, a 7 min. piece with the English translator and a short documentary with John Lassiter welcoming Hayao Miyazaki to Pixar studios where the dub was made. That's about it. The DVD is similar.

A little too dark and angsty at times to be among my personal favourites and with a plot and ending that's a little too muddled for my tastes; I'll rate it 5 for the animation and 3-1/2 for the storyline. 4 overall.

J. A.
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on November 26, 2013
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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on June 10, 2015
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon October 7, 2006
A different kind of anime

This one was first a book

And although very different

The movie's worth a look

A wizard's castle moves about

A demon's in the ashes

A young woman's under a spell

And now she's past hot flashes

Working in a hatter's shop

Avoiding all the hassle

Until the spell changes her life

and lands her in the castle

The castle is a wondrous heap

Of bolts and gears and springs

It takes them here and everywhere

and hides from evil things

The outside world is hard at war

With guns and bombs and fire

At first Howl wants no part of it

This wizard's not for hire

A meeting with the wicked witch

A cunning wizard trick

The demon and a falling star

All make this movie tick

It may not follow to a tee

The book from which it came

And though it's done in anime

At heart it's still the same

Amanda Richards
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