Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Movie #357: Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle is a steampunk-ish anime directed by Hayao Miazaki and starring (in the English dub) Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacell, Blythe Danner, and Billy Crystal.

Sophie (Mortimer) makes hats in a hat shop, but outside, a war rages. Out in the "wastes," wizards and witches dwell, one of whom, Howl (Bale) is rumored to eat pretty girls' hearts. One day a massive with simply called the Witch of the Wastes (Bacall) comes calling, and curses Sophie, turning her elderly (and giving her Simmons' voice). She flees, and winds up taking up with Howl in his immense, moving castle, powered by a fire demon called Calcifer (Crystal).

Much of the movie involved Howl running from his responsibilities as a wizard, and eventually returning to accept his oaths. The war ends, Sophie falls in love with Howl and regains her true age, the castle falls apart after a rival witch curses Calcifer...

So, I have to say, I have yet to find a Miazaki movie that tops Spirited Away (we'll get to the S's). This, Kiki's Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky are all good, but they kind of ramble, there are a lot of characters, a lot of subplots, and a lot going on. With all of that said, the high magic and fantasy are amazing, the animation is, as always, top-notch, and the English voice performances are fun.

Truthfully, I bought this movie because Teagan is a huge Miazaki fangirl and she hasn't seen it. She liked it, I'm glad, I'll keep it around.

My Grade: B
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Life of Brian