ハウルの動く城 (Howl’s Moving Castle)

[Screenshot]That I would eventually see this movie was a foregone conclusion. It’s Hayao Miyazaki; how could I not? And because it’s Miyazaki, there are a couple questions we have answered right away, to wit: is it whimsically charming? is the English dub adequate? does it involve a teenage girl flying? In recent films he’s also shown a fondness for brassicoform magical creatures: can we add this to the Miyazaki-tropes list? It’s kind of a disappointment to me that I have absolutely nothing constructive to say about the characters or the plot: it’s basically the usual Miyazaki story, in which love and determination overcome an evil enchantment in a land of greedy warring factions, but it’s a testament to his skill, and the skill of evertyone involved in this production that the basically familiar plot and characterization do not detract particularly from this story’s appeal. The art is absolutely lovely, with breathtaking urban and pastoral scenes, and the eponymous castle as an incredibly detailed and endearing monstrosity. The storyline is fleshed-out, if unoriginal, so despite the essentially formulaic creation, it’s an absolutely delightful movie. As for voice-acting, Ghibli films generally deserve at least some commentary on that point: English-language voice-acting is one of the best fruits of the Ghibli-Disney collaboration, and the acting on Howl’s Moving Castle meets the fairly high expectations. My main quibble is that Emily Mortimer’s English accent is much more pronounced than Jean Simmons’s, which jars since they theoretically play the same character. Others may find Billy Crystal’s clownish Calcifer distracting, but I liked him, but then, I also liked the equally controversial choice of Phil Hartman for Kiki’s Delivery Service.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

One Response to ハウルの動く城 (Howl’s Moving Castle)

  1. melbournite says:

    Others may find Billy Crystal’s clownish Calcifer distracting, but I liked him, but then, I also liked the equally controversial choice of Phil Hartman for Kiki’s Delivery Service.
    I saw Kiki’s Delivery Service in English first and then decided to see what the Japanese version was like—and the original voice for the cat sounded very weird. I ended up not watching it all the way through, partly because of that. I think Billy Crystal did okay in his role, it didn’t quite fit, but it was close enough in sound to how the animation looked that I wasn’t thrown by it or anything.
    …Also, familiar plots or no, I really like watching Miyazaki’s movies. Or any kind of pretty, feel-good movies.

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