HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
DECEMBER 26, 2013

Full of interesting characters and Hayao Miyazaki’s beautiful animation styling, “Howl’s Moving Castle” is an awesome feat of Japanese film making, setting the cornerstone for anime that plays across to a much larger audience than most iterations. The film follows Sophie, a hat maker and oldest daughter of a flighty debutante mother, as she toils with the Witch of the Waste, who casts her into an old lady. Voyaging away from her village, she comes across the infamous “moving castle” inhabited by a young boy named Markl, a living flame demon named Calcifer that powers the castle, and the wizard, Howl. Together, they venture across the English countryside as Howl takes it upon himself to fly off as a giant eagle, in hopes of ending a war that is approaching. But the more he becomes this eagle, the greater chance he has of being stuck in that form, and for that, Sophie, who has fallen in love with Howl, struggles to find the key to breaking the spell on him as well as on herself. Not the most straightforward of narratives or even deliveries, Miyazaki fumbles with projecting the character of Sophie, often dropping the old age on a whim and making her young again to serve the plot. However, the characters are very rich and mysterious, helped in large by being based on a novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones. Miyazaki’s animation is rich in color and depth, bringing to life these strange worlds that breathe real from his paintbrush (before be digitally enhanced), and etching yet another milestone in his illustrious career.

RELEASE DATE
June 17, 2005

DIRECTOR
Hayao Miyazaki

WRITTEN BY
Hayao Miyazaki

BASED ON
“Howl’s Moving Castle”
by Diana Wynne Jones

STUDIO
Studio Ghibli

PG
(for frightening images and brief mild language)

ANIMATION
ADVENTURE
FAMILY
FANTASY

119 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Atsushi Okui

COMPOSER
Joe Hisaishi

EDITOR
Takeshi Seyama

JAPANESE CAST
Chieko Baisho
Takuya Kimura
Akihiro Miwa
Tatsuya Gashuin
Ryūnosuke Kamiki
Haruko Kato
Yayoi Kazuki
Mayuno Yasokawa
Yō Ōizumi
Rio Kanno
Akio Ōtsuka
Daijiro Harada

ENGLISH CAST
Emily Mortimer
Jean Simmons
Christian Bale
Lauren Bacall
Billy Crystal
Josh Hutcherson
Blythe Danner
Jena Malone
Mari Devon
Crispin Freeman
Liliana Mumy
Mark Silverman

PRODUCED BY
Toshio Suzuki

BUDGET
$24 million

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