5 October 2005

Howl's Moving Castle - Don't Move Along Please, Plenty To See Here

I've been waiting for Hauru no ugoku shiro for a very long time, the hype surrounding it is huge. Disappointing is a word I could not use to describe this film. 'Mesmerised' and 'in awe' would explain quite well how I felt throughout the whole film. The genius of the director is clear for all to see in his animation. The detail and imagination is incredible and his ability to take you back to a childhood state is amazing. Put simply the story is about love and personal exploration. Howl (or Howell from Wales as he is in the original book this is vaguely based on) is a magician who looks a bit like Ken (think Ryu not Barbie) and he is continually running away, notably from himself. There is a young woman called Sophie who falls for him but Howl ignores because she is very ugly (because she was cursed into being a 90 year old woman). A simple journey set in Victorian England spiced up my magic, that entertains you all the way along. Oh yeah, I forgot to say the police fly on personal helicopter/planes, the world is at war, bombers use shape-shifting creatures and the evil henchmen are oil blobs who freak you me out. And Howl's castle can move, looks like something from Monty Python and exists in three points in space at the same time. Like I said, mind-expandingly good. There is nothing about the film you cannot like, especially the characters. The scarecrow Turnip Head is my favourite, closely followed by the fire Calcifer. This is one of the very best films I have seen, a full 5 magic wands out of 5. It's so good it has actually convinced KT to watch Miyazaki's earlier (and in some people's opinion even better) work, Spirited Away and Mononoke Hime, despite them being Anime animation and only subbed in English - now that is a powerfully good film.