Genre: Animation (In Japanese dialogue with
English and Chinese subtitles)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Cast (Featuring the voice talents): Chieko
BAISHO, Takuya KIMURA, Akihiro MIWA, Tatsuya GASHUIN, Ryunosuke
KAMIKI, Yo OIZUMI, Haruko KATO
RunTime: 1 hr 59 mins
Released By: BVI
Date: 24 Feb 2005
acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki ("Spirited Away").
An eighteen-year-old girl, Sophie, who helps out at her late
father's hat shop in the boring town of Market Chipping, is
transformed one day by the evil Witch of the Waste into an
old woman. Determined to get turned back to her normal self,
Sophie seeks out the help of the Wizard Howl, who has an amazing
moving castle (which looks a bit like a giant robot), which
is fueled by a fire demon named Calcifer.
Anime fans are no strangers to the works of Hayao Miyazaki.
"Spirited Away", "The Cat Returns" and
"Princess Mononoke" are just some of his famous
full-length animations. His latest, "Howl's Moving Castle"
which has the biggest opening in Japan last year retains his
usual trademark of surreal imagination and eye-opening artworks.
on the original novel by UK writer Diana Wynne Jones but have
since deferred much from it's origins. Sophie, an 18 year
old girl is being cast under a spell by a wicked witch that
caused her to age prematurely. With nowhere to go, she accidentally
stumbles into the wizard Howl's (voiced by the handsome Takuya
Kimura) mobile residence, a four-legged castle with legs of
a chicken. It is in this strange place that Sophie learns
about the complications of the world and her love for Howl.
This review is not meant to deter any fans of Miyazaki from
watching "Howl's Moving Castle". But "Howl's
Moving Castle" honestly failed to garner any high five
on the plot which seemingly ponders on a long, sagging journey
to nowhere despite the comic relief from the supporting characters
such as Calcifer, the Witch of the Waste, Scarecrow and the
endearing little boy wizard, Markl (sounds especially cute
when pronounced in Japanese). The history of Howl and the
relationships between his master and Sophie is never dealt
in details and setting the story in a turbulent times of war
doesn't help either.
Miyazaki fans might find some of the artworks errily similar
to his past works. On the positive side, the team from Studio
Ghibli has maintained the high quality visuals, the moving
castle which made up of CG components will be endeared by
theme music by Joe Hisaishi and Yumi KIMURA is haunting and
mesmerising at the same times, tugging the heart strings which
the plot has failed to do.
Despite the flaws, fans will still like it over time. There
are people who will be attracted by the visual alone and people
who just love the charming, surreal storyline. And please
catch this in the cinema with it's original Japanese dialogues.
Any dubbing will not do justice to the credibility of the
Japanese voice actors.
Review by Linus.T.