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.
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.
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!
Ce film di Hayao Miyazaki est mon favori! Je l'ai revue plusieur fois déjà et sur de le revoir plusieur fois dans le futur. L'animation est unique et très minitieuse dans son ensemble. Encore une fois c'est mon film préféré et je vous invite à le voir aussi. C'est un chef d'oeuvre dans les films animés.
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.
I love all of Mr. Miyazaki's movies, they're the only ones that make me cry every single time, no matter how many times I've seen them. The animation, plot, characters and dubs are always rich and enchanting. Don't even ask yourself which Hayao movie to get -- get them all!
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.
One of my most favourite films. If you are curious about Studio Ghibli, definitely dive in here. Though I prefer the subtitle versions, this dubbing was exquisitely directed and cast, with the likes of Billy Crystal and many more! In essence it provides you with two different re-tellings! Very happy with the dvd/blu-ray.