Friday, January 28, 2011

REVIEW: Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Howl's Moving Castle (2004). Dir: Hayao Miyazaki. Starring the voices of Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer, Jeanne Simmons, Lauren Bacall. PG. DVD. IMDB.

I've seen Howl's Moving Castle enough times now that I start crying as soon as the music swells during the opening credits. It's one of my favorite movies.

Howl's takes place in an imaginary country under siege; the country's king has recruited its magicians to assist in battle and a young woman named Sophie is cursed by one of them, a villain called the Witch of the Waste, after she catches the eye of another wizard, Howl. The Witch turns Sophie into an old woman and the only way Sophie can undo the curse is with Howl's help. But Howl is self-centered and has problems of his own, and Sophie must find a way to save them both.

What follows is a thrilling, unpredictable and gorgeous adventure and love story, with twists and turns and a whole cast of unforgettable characters. Sophie's confidence grows as she navigates Howl's crazy home and builds warm friendships with the ragtag family housed within. Everyone must take a risk and sacrifice something they hold dear to save themselves and each other.

If you couldn't tell, I love this movie. Miyazaki's artistry has never looked more beautiful and never served a more beautiful story. The music is amazing and underscores the emotional highs and lows, and the English voice actors all do a wonderful job. I love the loose ends he leaves- the bittersweet fate of Turnip Head and the transformation of the Witch of the Waste are twists I never would have expected. The movie touches on trademark Miyazaki themes of the horror of war and pollution without being didactic or interfering with the main storyline. It's not a movie for kids but it's a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful film for anyone who likes a beautiful love story with lots to see and do along the way.

It's one of my TOP PICKS.

Rating: RUSH

No comments:

Post a Comment