English: Howl's Moving Castle
Synonyms: Hauru no Ugoku Shiro
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Nov 20, 2004
Duration: 1 hr. 57 min.
Rating: G - All AgesL represents licensing company
Score: 8.711 (scored by 101765 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsadventure drama fantasy ghibli romance
Feb 11, 2008
Story: the story is about a girl named Sophie who gets turned into an old woman and ends up living with a wizard named Howl in his moving castle. The story is the only part I felt was lacking in this movie. Though I have to admit I see more flaws with the story after reading the book (even though I find the movie much better). Overall, I felt many of the war scenes were overdramatized and left a lot of questions. There were also a lot of small things throughout that they could have done a better job at explaining. Even after watching the movie so many times I cannot fully explain some scenes and still have questions about the movie.
Animation: The animation is absolutely stunning and many of the backgrounds look realistic. I also have to say that I am impressed with how Sophie is animated, and how it is so easy to tell when she is aging/regressing just simply by looking at the animation (her voice also helps). Overall this is the most impressive Miyazaki art I've seen and I really haven't seen much that can top it.
Sound: I'll just start off by saying the music in this movie is so beautiful. I love every single background music in this movie, and the only song I don't like so much is the theme with the words that plays at the end. Aside from the beautiful soundtrack, the sounds in the movie are so dead on. Hearing Sophie's bones crack as an old woman is really painful, and as much as I don't like Sophie's voice, her seiyuu does a great job at portraying the character and how she fluctuates between young and old so frequently throughout the movie. I think all the seiyuu in the movie were good as well.
Character: The characters in this movie make up for all the lack of closure in the plot. Each character has their good points, even the Witch of the Waste. I personally adore almost all the characters, though I actually like Sophie the least of all. Calcifer, Heen, and Turnip head are such adorable and fun characters to watch (and Heen and Turnip have pretty much no lines in the whole movie). Howl is also another loveable character as well. The characters have such different personalities that you will probably like at least one character or more.
Enjoyment: Obviously I enjoy this film a lot. I've watched it so many times! Each time I sit there in awe of the animation and empathize with the characters. It's one of those movies that I love to watch and I have not gotten bored of it yet. I do have to say that towards the end I get slightly bored with the stressed focus on the war, but that only lasts at most 15 minutes.
This movie is defenitely worth watching, and even if you watched it and didn't like it, you only spent two hours watching it since it's a movie. I think it's defenitely one of Miyazaki's better works. If you have time or interest, I think it's worth checking out the book, since it's a completely different take on the story. It's got a lot less romance between Sophie and Howl in it, but it brings a lot more character development to Markl and Sophie's sisters (she has more than one in the novel). But if not, just watch the movie!! read more
Apr 30, 2009
NOVEL, ANIME: Howl's Moving Castle was originally a young-adult fantasy novel written by Diana Wynne Jones in 1986. It won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1987, and was also was designated an ALA Notable Book for children and young adults.
Howl's Moving Castle was produced by Studio Ghibli (Ponyo on the Cliff, Spirited Away), and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind). Howl was released in theatres in Japan on November 20th, 2004, and showed dubbed in theatres Stateside starting on June 10th, 2005, courtesy of Disney, and is available both subbed and dubbed on DVD.
STORY: Sophie Hatter is a young, self-conscious young woman who, after a chance encounter with the wizard Howl, is cursed with the body of a ninety-year-old by the spiteful Witch of the Waste, and is unable to tell anyone about the curse. She ends up going into the Waste, and, with the help of an animated turnip-headed scarecrow that she helps, ends up finding Howl's home; a legged, walking, amalgamation of a castle. In order to break her spell, she makes a deal with the fire demon who powers the castle, Calcifer; if she can break the spell on him and Howl - which he also can't tell anyone about - he will break hers.
Howl's Moving Castle isn't necessarily one of Ghibli's strongest movies, story-telling wise. There are a lot of disparate plot elements floating about, with not a lot of explanation given, or even development, for that matter; the movie kind of just drifts from scene to scene, as if it can't decide what plot element it wants to focus on. Probably the biggest example of this is Sophie's curse. There are times in the movie where she'll appear younger or older; it's hinted that this difference in physical appearance is tied to her self-confidence, but it's never explained, it just happens. The ending is kind of unsatisfying, as everything's quickly wrapped up in a neat package with even little to no explanation of sudden plot elements that end up popping up.
The characters themselves are all fairly well fleshed out, though, and are at least intriguing to watch; the moments in this movie that center around the characters alone are where it really shines, such as Sophie going through and cleaning the house, Markl going to market with Sophie, or Calcifer and Howl talking by the fire.
Taken in terms of the original novel, Howl is a nice retelling. The basic plot elements from the novel are mostly intact, though a great deal of the actual plot has been changed around. If you don't mind a looser retelling of the novel, then you should be fine with this; however, if you're looking for the novel translated exactly onto the screen, then you may not want to see this.
ART: As always with Studio Ghibli, the art for this is beyond beautiful, that goes without saying. There are three big things that stood out for me with the art, though:
-The castle. I can't say enough about how intricately this was done; just the design itself is amazingly thought out, and the animation of the movement and all the little parts moving and operating on their own and as a part of the larger whole is incredibly steampunk.
-Anything to do with magic being used. Incredibly created, especially in how it manifests from character to character, and with beautifully intricate detail.
-The war sequences. Incredibly realistic and devastating, though it should be noted that production on this was happening while the Iraq War and the bombings were just beginning.
MUSIC: Joe Hisaishi does the composing work on this, as he always does. While his music has most of the normal chords and progressions it normally does, the music here tends to be variations on several instruments of the main theme song, which, while not my favorite ever, is passable. Not the greatest soundtrack he's ever done, but still fairly solid.
SEIYUU: The cast for this is fairly new to voice work, but it doesn't show; there are some excellent performances in this, especially the voice actor for Calcifer. I actually like the sub and dub about equally, so I can't state preference here for any one cast. I do like that there is a single seiyuu for Sophie, whether she's young or old, as it just shows you the range of the seiyuu.
VOICE ACTORS: The English dub for this has some fairly big names for the performances; Christian Bale does a pretty good job (and even utilizes the Batman!growl) as Howl, Jean Simmons does an amazing job as the older version of Sophie (even though I don't really understand why there needs to be two separate voice actors here), Billie Crystal does a good job of being the comedic relief in Calcifer, Lauren Bacall is an amazing Witch of the Waste, and Crispin Freeman even shows up for a few lines. Overall, a solid performance.
DUB: I have absolutely no criticism whatsoever for the dubwork on this. Translations are done accurately, there's no intentional flubbing of the original meaning, and it's fairly well done.
LENGTH: The movie does tend to drag at times, especially with how the movie tends to float from scene to scene. The whole thing feels kinda dreamy, though, and you tend to not notice where the time's gone at the end of it.
OVERALL: Not Ghibli's best story or score, but still has wonderful characters, amazing animation, and a fairly solid dub, and cast in both languages. A dreamy sort of film, good for a rainy afternoon.
VOICE ACTORS: 8/10
OVERALL: 55/70; 79% (C+) read more
Jun 9, 2008
STORY - This movie was apparently based off a book, but as I haven't read the book, I'm judging this movie as a work all on its own, for better or worse. So I suppose this was, in a way, a story about courage and facing one's fears, but it was approached in such a roundabout way that I'm really not sure, even now. The premise of the movie -- Sophie getting bewitched into an old woman -- seemed almost completely random, and I was left wondering why? and what was the point of that? Those questions were, for me, repeated a ridiculous number of times throughout the course of the movie. Indeed, most of the scenes seemed haphazardly spliced together with little rhyme or reason connecting them. Eventually, the focus of the movie fell onto Howl and his troubles, which was fine, except that we seemed to forget entirely about Sophie's initial dilemma because of it.
In some ways, Howl's reminded me of Spirited Away, what with its eclectic assemblage of characters, all with their own problems and goals. But while Spirited Away maintained and remembered its initial story and theme, Howl's Moving Castle was seriously all over the place. The further we progressed into the movie, the more it seemed like Sophie's problems were taking a backseat to Howl's, and even her position as a member of his castle and one of his helpers didn't seem very important. One of the things that annoyed me the most was also the fact that the spell placed on Sophie was never explained the depth -- all you knew was that she couldn't tell anyone about it (which was pretty useless since most characters seemed to be able to tell anyway). Nothing was explained as the spell seemed to gradually fade; when Sophie randomly appeared to be her old self, you were never sure whether it was for real or a dream. Eventually, you sort of accepted that she was slowly regaining her old self, but even then, you weren't sure why.
There's also the matter of the war. Throughout the entire movie, it seemed like more of a background element more than anything else. We were never told why the war was going on or against whom they were fighting; thus, it didn't seem like all too important of a thing, even when leaders were requesting the aid of magical folk. In a way, I find this impression interesting as there seems to be a distinct separation between the affairs of our characters and the world around them. Despite the war, they're in their own little world, even with airships attacking every so often and Howl's subsequent injuries. I'm not sure why that is or whether it's a positive or negative element, but it's there all the same...
CHARACTER - I wasn't really all that impressed by any of the characters in this movie. Most of them seemed to be typical of Miyazaki both in personality and goals and were consequently predictable. Sophie is an all around "good" character who only wants the best for her family and friends. Howl is the mysterious one with great power and internal insecurities. Calcifer is the sharp-tongued, sarcastic one who just wants to be free, despite a seemingly good relationship with his master. And Markl is just a good kid, more or less in the same vein as Sophie except younger, and the Scarecrow was a similar personality as well. The Witch of the Waste is a completely stereotypical semi-villain, as is Suliman.
Though there are certainly attempts at expanding on some of the characters' very flat personalities, I don't really feel as if any of them are successful. Sophie's fascination and eventual love for Howl was a little interesting, but the feelings could be attributed very easily to the typical goodness of her personality, and it didn't seem like Howl was very special to have her affections. Similarly, Howl's feelings for Sophie seemed generic, or perhaps he (and all the other characters) could not help but be attracted to her goodness, as there didn't seem to be very many flaws in that purity at all.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION - This is easily what contributes the most to the entire movie. As we have come to expect from Studio Ghibli, Howl's Moving Castle was an exceptionally beautiful film. The highly detailed background renders were superb and featured all sorts of fantastical elements, giving the environment a wonderful personality. The streets and storefronts were inviting and cheerful, and the darker alleyways held a mystery of their own. The characters were all wonderfully animated, especially Howl, who transformed slickly between his human and harpy-like form.
The design for the castle was especially fun. As more or less a gigantic heap of metal parts, its lack of uniformity gave the viewer a lot to look at, and all of it was interesting. It was also great to see rooms and halls within the castle shift, contract, and expand as Howl magicked them around.
MUSIC - I don't remember anything especially extraordinary, but I think it's safe enough to say that most of the music was satisfying and fitting for their scenes.
VOICE ACTING - I've only seen the movie subbed. The voices were about average, but I would say that's more because of the characters' flatness more than lack of talent on the part of the actors. Calcifer is the only one that had a particularly memorable voice -- it was a little whiny and a little scratchy: absolutely perfect for his grumbling character.
OVERALL - Howl's Moving Castle was a very fun movie to look at. The visuals were gorgeous and everything smoothly animated. Unfortunately, the story and characters definitely left a lot to be desired; there was so little substance that I might have gotten about the same impression if I'd seen the whole thing on mute (or without subtitles). I've been told that the original novel is better, and I wonder if Miyazaki's downfall is only in that he was trying to adapt someone else's work, because certainly I know the man's capable of telling a story better than this. read more
Feb 6, 2007
We are introduced to a young girl named Sophie Hatter and her town Ingary, where she runs a hat shop. Apparently there is a war going on with a neighboring country, so we get to see spectacularly animated warships of many kinds (including Final Fantasy-esque flying warships). In the middle of all this is a wizard called Howl, who is being pursued by a witch called the "Witch of the Waste". Anyway as many stories go, Sophie lands in a bit of trouble and ends up being saved by Howl - but the mere fact she had some association with Howl seems to upset the Witch of the Waste so she puts a spell on Sophie. This is where the main part of the story kicks off.
As expected from a Miyazaki film we are constantly being wowed with lush landscapes and detailed scenery, and in fact a lot of scenes are put there merely for the "isn't that lovely" factor, which at times makes the film move a bit slowly. Being it's 2 hours long though, this does not deprive the film of it's story. This film is full of lively and interesting characters, including little animal sidekicks, talking fires, enchanted scarecrows and shapeshifting wizards. So if you watch this film, you are definitely in for a treat.
As a final point, don't make the same mistake as I did and compare this film to Spirited Away. They are nothing alike (for one thing, this film doesn't even take place in Japan). Even though I enjoyed Spirited Away, I like this film just as much, if not more, for different reasons.
Angus read more
Oct 19, 2008
Story: 10 (Outstanding)
It's hard to say that Howl is original when not only does it draw very heavily from established conventions and tropes from high fantasy and nostalgic works but also happens to be the anime adaptation of the British book of the same name, but it manages to be surprisingly original nonetheless. The story begins with Sophie really just minding her business when she happens to cross paths with an ornery witch who curses her with advanced aging. Desperate to find a cure, she later bumps into another magical being, the mysterious magician Howl and his moving castle. Howl quickly reveals his true colors as a friendly and simple nice guy and shelters Sophie while he helps her track down the witch responsible for the curse, who just happens to have been jilted by Howl in the distant past. All of this gets swept aside as Sophie, Howl, the witch and their companions are caught up in a devastating war between two powerful nations and are left to fend for themselves and remain a step ahead of warfare's perils.
Art: 10 (Outstanding0
Nothing more can really be said other than "it's Myazaki". As usual and par for the course for him, the scenery is breathtaking, and is just as much a part of the actual storytelling as the narrative. Myazaki went all out for this one and his imagination went full tilt to give us a world populated by early 20th century European sensibilities with just the right amount of magic thrown in.
Sound: 10 (Outstanding)
Once again, Myazaki is an expert in terms of choosing who to score his work, and the musical score is just as outstanding and breathtaking as the visuals they compliment.
Character: 10 (Outstanding)
The characters are both lovable and deep, from Howl to Sophie to the scrappy little Calcipher (brilliantly voiced by Billy Crystal, perhaps one of his most memorable roles period) to even the mean-spirited but later gentle witch responsible for cursing Sophie, who is also very memorably voiced by none other than Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall.
Enjoyment: 10 (Outstanding)
Anything less would be an outright failure for a Myazaki work, and Howl's Moving Castle is certainly not a failure. It's a solid work through and through, and there's little wonder as to why Zack of Anime News Network's Answerman column would adopt the personality of Howl as his favorite.
Which leads us to an unsurprising final score of:
10: Outstanding read more
Apr 8, 2012
So the story is about a decent lady named Sophie and her meeting with Howl, an infamous wizard known for his reputation for eating hearts. The story lacks of intensity, got to say. It has no main goal to achieve; and in the end we're left with so many questions. For example: how the heck did Sophie got her usual appearance back? What is this war Howl was participating in? What the heck happened with Howl's teacher (that woman mage) and why did she stop chasing for Howl? Who exactly is Howl anyway? The story just wanders wherever it wants to go, and that was kinda mystifying. They haven't solved any mysteries at all when suddenly the story ends. Da-dah. Yes, it's kinda mindf***ing but at least it's enjoyable enough for us to keep watching 'til the end.
The artwork, there's nothing left to say. Ghibli is always fascinating with its beautiful artworks. It's simple, but it doesn't lack of details and creativity. There's nothing mainstream about the art! I love how they even noticed the smallest of things like how shadows move as the object moves. And how they design old ladies, it's always cool. The background is soooo awesome and breathtaking, with lots of colors. We'll never deal with normal humans in Ghibli movies. That's it.
Sounds are also awesome. The BGMs were also beautiful and the seiyuus really fit the personality (i was kinda shocked to know that Sophie's seiyuu is a real granma). Well... nowadays seiyuus are trying their best to match with the characters but sometimes they exaggerate a bit. That never happened here, it's all natural, it's as if we're listening to normal people speaking in real life... and oh, i love Calcifer's voice.
What's left is the characters... seriously, in all Ghibli movies, I've never found a character I got to hate. All of the characters are soooo lovable even if they used to be the antagonist (for ex, Witch of the Waste in this movie). Some antagonists just remain annoying as usual, but we've shown some traits of them that we can't just afford to hate. And if we even like the antagonists, what about the protagonists? Heck yeah! In this movie, we have Sophie as the main character. I kinda like her strong and clever personality, she just fits to be a granma (ha ha). Then also the flamboyant Howl is just so...... so..... so.... indescribable. Besides the main charas, i also love the supporting charas, such as Calcifer and Turnip. Graaaahhh weird creatures are always the best in Ghibli movies! I suddenly remembered that certain ghost from Spirited Away which I really really loved.
Well.. this movie has lots of flaws in the stories, but the other aspects were as fabulous as ever, sasuga Ghibli! It's not my favorite Ghibli movie, but it's still notable to me since the characters were just too cute. To me, this movie is kinda enjoyable, and i believe you too will enjoy it, unless you're too stuck and can't understand the story just as it is. Overall it's good, i still recommend it to get some fun when you're bored! read more
Jun 10, 2011
That is the reason why "Howl's moving castle" was, at my first viewing, a serious disappointment. It was the first time a movie by Miyazaki didn't transport me to the world and imagery it showed. Almost two years later, however, and trying to bring another perspective about this film, I have watched it again, and while this has worked with some other works, it seems "Howl" is still my thorn in Miyazaki's filmography and will always be.
Of course the world introduced here is amazing. This is probably the most gorgeous and visually powerful film Miyazaki has ever done, just watch the scenery, the many traces of impressive imagery, and of course Joe Hisaishi with another solid performance. It's a pleasure for the senses, such a beautiful experience to look at and hear that surely makes it worth viewing.
But that is not an excuse for the many plot holes and sudden changes in character behaviour. That is, in the same way we have a really eye-candy experience given only by the -already known- technical skills of Miyazaki and his group of animators, the story is always lacking.
I would seriously like to be able to fill my review with interpretations and theories about this fascinating world, but quite honestly, didn't find any thread to follow or to keep my interest on. I just can't sit through what in my opinion are clear character and story inconsistencies sucking the emotion or the involvement in whatever the movie is trying to tell me. I won't go with specific scenes to avoid spoiling anyone, but will just say that I find it really disappointing to find that Sophie, the girl who is supposed to introduce me to the story and let me see the events from her eyes, looks so incoherent and variable in her interaction with many of the elements, say the Witch of the Waste or the reactions at some magic events happening around her.
The construction of the storyline is pretty poor, and that is fully shown at an ending scene that feels rushed and ridiculous, where there is not any hint to follow why some characters make some relevant decisions, and looks just plain lazy writing. Really, really lazy, and unsatisfactory. I don't know the original source, but I know Miyazaki far enough to be sure that the fact the novel may or may not be good shouldn't affect the quality of the movie, as in his adaptations he chooses to change stuff freely in order to adjust it to his own subjects and concerns.
It has been said that in this case the plotline is secondary, and it should be seen as a fascinating travel around a world full of magic, where the logic is not needed and if it appears it doesn't make any effect in the enjoyment of the movie. I couldn't disagree more with that statement. During my experience in Miyazaki's works, I have found often this recurrent idea about him, seeing his films as powerful visuals with messed up plots, and as far as I can tell I have never conceived them in that way. Even -and specially- at his least linear and most complex narrative, "Spirited away", every event tries to follow an internal logic, therefore the plot is here and is unavoidable. It also should happen with "Howl"; the fact that it's filled with fantastic and strange elements isn't a valid excuse to make the storytelling lackluster and inconsistent, and of course doesn't change the fact it is needed. More so when it's so clearly intended to be.
In conclusion, and while I can say this work is extremely powerful and memorable at the artistic aspects, I still see it as an unsuccessful attempt that becomes evident at the many plot holes and lack of competent character writing. As entertaining as it could be, it is my biggest disappointment with the otherwise excellent work of this director and the only one that has never fulfilled my expectations. read more
Apr 10, 2009
In this regard, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is a perfect epitome of Miyazaki’s work, in all its strengths and weaknesses: it’s beautiful and filled with numerous heart-felt story elements and themes (about greed, cowardice, and the futility of war), but how these elements connect on a plot level is subjugated to how beautifully they are rendered on screen.
The story follows Sophie, a young woman who is rescued from being accosted by two soldiers when the mysterious and handsome wizard Howl intervenes, literally flying her through the sky. Howl has a reputation for devouring the hearts of beautiful women, but Sophie doesn’t feel threatened because she doesn’t believe herself to be beautiful. Unfortunately, being rescued by the wizard is a case of going from the frying pan to the fire, as Howl is being pursued by the minions of the Witch of the Waste. The Witch puts a curse on Sophie, turning her into an old hag and preventing her from explaining what has happened. Unable to face her mother, Sophie leaves home and stumbles upon the titular castle, where she takes up work as a cleaning lady.
Domesticity takes a back seat when war breaks out and Howl is ordered to report for duty. Howl admits to Sophie that, despite his powers, he is a coward; even his magnificent moving castle is just a way to run from trouble. He sends Sophie to turn down the call to arms. Along the way, Sophie meets up with the Witch of the Waste, who has her powers stolen from her (we have no doubt that the same would have happened to Howl had he reported for service as ordered).
When full-scale war breaks out, Howl finally decides to stop running, but when his defense of the castle brings him to the point of death, Sophie destroys the castle so that he will no longer risk his life. More through luck than design, Sophie manages to lift a curse that has been binding him to the fire demon Calcifer that powered his castle. She also lifts a curse on a missing prince (whose disappearance was the cause of the war). And she herself returns to her youthful appearance (although her hair remains silver-hued.
The film is filled with sweeping visuals that pull the viewer along: the castle tromping across the countryside, a fiery aerial bombardment, Howl in bird form swooping through the skies as he is battered by the enemy. But the logic behind these events is frustratingly vague, and you’d be hard-pressed to explain the logic of the film’s happy ending (at least three curses are lifted in the last few minutes, but the details of how this is achieved are glossed over). Howl seems to recognize that the old woman who cleans is castle is the same young woman he rescued, but how or even exactly when is not clear. Sophie seems to regain her youth when she expresses concern for others, but this carries little dramatic weight, since she was never particularly self-centered to begin with. Apparently Howl’s problem has something to do with trading his heart to Calcifer (in exchange for what?), but the exact nature is never clarified, so it’s hard to tell how Sophie figured out a way to undo the damage.
Perhaps detailed explanations are not necessary. On a simple, primal level, it is clear that the characters are being rewarded for their altruistic behavior, even if the exact mechanism for how this works is never explained: if we know the “why,” the how is unimportant. But in some cases, even this emotional attachment is lacking: for example, there is a throwaway “plot twist” wherein Sophie’s mother betrays her, but this thread is cut before it can develop — it might as well have simply been cut out completely for all it contributes to the story.
The animation is all beautifully done. Miyazaki uses the screen lke a canvas, filling it with breath-taking vistas that are populated by amusing characters and bizarre images: including a legless scarecrow hopping about on its wooden post and an asthmatic dog that befriends Sophie. Both of these are the sort of cute characters that are immediately endearing, lighting up the screen whenever they appear, regardless of story deficiencies. Even if the plot points are not always clear, the visuals tell us what’s happening in a way that feels emotionally right (as when the formerly imposing Witch of the waste is turned from villain to victim, reduced to flabby, diminished version of her former self).
The English dubbing is very effective. Emily Mortimer and Jean Simmons seamlessly integrate the two versions of Sophie, young and old. Billy Crystal doesn’t overdo the jokes too much as Calcifer, and Lauren Bacall strikes the properly haughty tone as the witch. In the title role, Christian Bale is suitably enigmatic and ambivalent as Howl, alternating between awesome and alluring on the one hand and childish and craven on the other. Sadly, the look of the character seems to become increasingly boyish throughout the film, until it starts to resemble the familiar cliché of the too-cute wide-eyed anime hero.
Ultimately, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is not as impressive as Miyazaki’s
ambitious PRINCESS MONONOKE, but it captures the pastoral beauty and charm that we have come to expect from the creator of LAPUTA: CASTLE IN THE SKY and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO. That’s more than enough to make it worth seeing.
Sep 28, 2007
Oct 25, 2008
Thankfully, Miyazaki changed around an awful story to make a semi-decent one. A lot of people complained about the changes, but I was glad, since I didn't want to see a movie about a book which pages I use to wipe dog doo off my shoes.
The art was amazing, top-quality, but such a waste--everything else was pretty stupid.
Howl is a loser, and I know I will get hate for that because 'OOOHHH, he's sooo hawt! And so traaagic.' He's emo, you dorks. Just because he's blond don't make him less emo. So we got an emo irresponsible lead, and an annoying Sophie to look at. The only good thing about it was that when she was old and hideous, she was actually tolerable. The best character was the scarecrow, honestly, mostly because he didn't speak.
This movie is eye-candy and that's all. If you like it, one, you have an awful taste in literature, since you may have watched this to see your beloved novel animated, or two, you like hawt bishies, and Howl is so hawt.
Don't watch it. Go watch better Ghibli movies or go read Salinger, Austen, Dostoyevsky, Pratchett, Dickens--some GOOD books. read more
Oct 11, 2009
I even found myself confused by the end. I don't think things were explained enough. A lot of the humor was gone as well. I have never been a fan of Studio Ghibli, but I was willing to give them a chance with this. I have to say that I have never been so let down with a book to move adaption since The Series of Unfortunate Events. I suppose I am in the minority when I say that this move isn't as good as people make it out too be. read more
Aug 25, 2011
The story is a “typical” Hayao Miyazaki female coming-of-age plot (if you can call anything that Miyazaki does as typical), and has an air of magic and wonderment very like a fairytale. His extensive use of metaphors and symbolism, as is typical of much of his work, leaves the viewer feeling that the movie is extremely thought provoking. The themes he addresses, love, war, forgiveness, self-confidence and self-deprecation, are all explored multi-facetedly and in great depth. At the same time, rarely is anything specific mentioned that drives the reader to a certain conclusion. What Miyazaki does instead is present facts in abstract ways that leave a sense of wonderment and encourages each viewer to come up with their own conclusions about each subject.
One of the unique features of this story is that, at times, the story doesn't appear to make sense. Usually, that would mean that the story is lacking or not fully developed; however, in the case of Howl’s Moving Castle, it actually enhances the charm and beauty of the story. The mysterious and sometimes confusing reaction it creates will leave you thinking about the movie long after you are finished watching it. Another characteristic of the story is its pacing, which may appear at times to be disjointed or questionable, but upon further reflection, actually adds a little bit of reality to this otherwise fantastical masterpiece.
Art: 10 (Sound and Animation)
Flawless. Perfect. Intricate. Amazing. Everyone should watch this at least once, even if it is only for the art.
Howl’s Moving Castle definitely has some unconventional, albeit amazing, character development. There is very little back-story of the supporting characters, and even some of the main characters have much less back-story than usual. Instead of the movie focusing on the characters history, it focuses much more on their souls. You get to know the characters simply by the actions they take, what they say, and the way they act and react. Again, this method adds a touch of realism to the magic of the story.
It is a true work of art, and one of my favorites.
I'll say it again, this is not your traditional story. It leaves you wondering "what was that about?" and "How did that happen?" at some parts. Some people think that this detracts from the movies quality. I, on the other hand, think that it is the true genius of this movie. I would definitely recommend this to everyone, but would also suggest leaving any expectations you might have on how a story should be aside, and let yourself take this masterpiece in with a clear mind.
Jun 4, 2008
I put 8 for the story, there is a nice plot through out, though I some times found it hard to understand.
I just had to put 10 for the amazing artwork. What I loved was the scenery. The artist really got creative and there are tons of wonderful things to see.
The sound was great. I don't know if this is part of sound, but actually enjoyed watching this in English, the voice actors did a fantastic job.
Like in Spirited Away, the Characters a wonderful, and strangely spectacular. They each have a attitude, good or bad they don't get on your nerves and you enjoy each one.
I truly enjoyed this film. It just nice to watch and feel the magic that comes with it.
I highly recommend this if you like fantasy, nice light romance and pure fun. read more
Oct 25, 2008
Based off a novel I never read, this is continued proof that Miyazaki just fails to deliver great films when the story is not of his own writing. It is obvious that these characters are not that important to him.
I do think this is one film that wouldn't be a complete waste of time to pick up because of the incredible and colorful animation. It's excellently done and it's a shame it was wasted on such a lousy story. read more
Feb 25, 2012
Of all the Ghibli movies, Howl's is my favourite. I just can't keep myself from a romantic story like this.
- The story is outstanding, I simply love it! And therefore I give it a 10.
- The art is great, it's not my favourite style, mainly because I like the style used in most animes better. But it is still great. A 9.
- The music and sound effects couldn't be better. I have no complains! That's also a 10.
- The characters are probably what I adore most in this movie. I just love them all! They are nicely created and planned. Simply outstanding!
- I enjoy this film every time I watch it. I think I've watched it like 4 or 5 times in a row. (which means that it is the only film I watched for a period, not at the same day) Overall I give Howl's a 10!
Anyways, you should absolutely watch Howl's. It is an amazing story, both exciting, romantic and funny.
Jun 29, 2010
The movie starts with Sophie, a young girl working as a hatter at her late father's hat shop. She meets Howl by complete chance, and catches his attention, much to the irk of the Witch of the Waste who wants Howl's heart for herself. The With of the Waste then casts a curse on Sophie, transforming her to the body of an 80-year old woman. Finding Howl once again, this is the story of how she regains her youth and gains Howl's love in a moving tale set around a fantasy world in the midst of war.
While a lot of questions remain unanswered, and it's a lot less focused on the romance than that of the story it's based on (by Diana Wynne Jones and well worth a read) this movie remains a fantastic epic abstract in only the way Studio Ghibli can pull off.
The sound matches the movie perfectly. The main theme almost seems to swoop through the bars of endless strings and piano, lulling you into the tale, wanting for more. The sound effects are amazing as well, although I have only seen the dubbed version, so I'm guessing they are as up to scratch as the original.
I loved Markl and Calcifer. Calcifer, a fire demon who made a deal with Howl when he was a young boy, is a comedic character who will never fail to put a smile on your face, brilliantly voiced by Billy Crystal. Markl is explored in a lot more depth than that of the book, and he's so sweet and innocent, while trying to remain serious and idolize Howl.
A lot of questions remain unanswered, and no character is really delved into in depth, apart from Howl and Witch of the Waste (though not nearly enough if you ask me). But then again, would this ever be a true Studio Ghibli film if they did?
All in all, this is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to anyone. Even the anime-haters among you (though, on a site recommending anime you will be few-and-far-between) should watch this brilliant film. It will definitely change your outlook. Beautifully drawn, wonderfully cast, and bittersweet story. read more
Sep 28, 2008
The story revolves around Sophie, a hatter, trying to find a cure to the curse the Witch of the Waste, an abjected witch, casted upon her. While looking for answers, she ended up living in Howl's, a strong wizard, moving castle. It sums up to be entertaining, yet it can easily lose the viewer's attention.
The art employed for the surroundings is pretty nice, but the characters were drawn in a very light manner, lacking shadings and details.
The sound effects and the voice acting was very good; the music employed was acceptable as well, but it could've been better.
The character development is somewhat alright, though some of them remained unexplained. Most of the characters involved are based on anime standards, as well, so you might be able to predict some actions every now and then.
Overall, the movie is enjoyable, though a bit too long. I recommend to watch it whenever you have free time. read more
May 28, 2012
There are a lot of plot elements here, most notably, the war motifs which are featured in the background. The film is sometimes controversial (not because it differs from the book) but because of the anti war theme and how it impacts the film from a storytelling perspective. Howl is at its forefront a love story. However, several major plot elements, like the missing prince or the political tensions between the government and the wizards, revolve around this war, and yet the conflict is never really explained. And then at the end, bombs start falling, but audience lacks a good understanding of why.
Howl’s Moving Castle was under development when the United States declared war on Iraq, which profoundly influenced the film Miyazaki produced. With this knowledge in mind, you can sort of see where the anti-war sentiment was added as an afterthought, and why it doesn't mesh all that well with Sophie’s quest to break her spell or the romance that develops between the two main characters. A lot of this superfluousness is what makes the movie so flawed and merits the criticism Howl has received. However, like all of his movies, the visuals, the music, the likable characters are all wonderful and the entire film has a very mysterious, light and airy quality (with the exception of the falling bombs). For once, Miyazaki actually gives us a real love story which must have been nice for fans of his work to finally see, and-- for all its problems-- it holds a very special place in my heart. read more
Oct 29, 2011
Story: The overall plot was just well done. The way the movie moved was great and the pace it went was just right. Even in all of these great things there are some flaws I do see. Like the lack of details in some of the events in the movie like the war. It just felt like the movie could be longer and have more explanations on some of the things that happens, but overall the plot was great.
Art: The scenery in this movie was just beautiful and realistic. Many of the scenery especially in the cities are just detailed and stunning. The characters all looked great and were all well drawn. Especially Sophie and her ever changing age look. All of the characters looked nice and Howl's castle just looked incredibly detailed.
Sound: The music used in this anime fitted perfectly and it was just harmonious. It was great and enjoyable, and the changing voice of Sophie was also well done to help indicate her age.
Character: The character development was well done. Like how Howl changes along with Sophie. And many other characters. The rate they change and the amount of interaction they have was done at a nice pace. However, there are moments where you just feel that there are parts that are missing. And like it is an almost complete puzzle, like the very corner piece is missing.
Enjoyment: I really liked this movie. I just loved it because I just feel like it was one of those "classic" anime movie that everyone should watch at least once in their life. Miyazaki is just a wonderful director and I just think you should watch all of his works. Well it was an extremely cute story that I loved, very much like Spirited Away. Overall it is a wonderful film that is worth watching. Well hope you enjoy!
Jan 14, 2009