Sunday, July 31, 2005

Howl's Moving Castle

Steam trams, airships, Victorian fashion, Flemish architecture, English street signs, colourful uniforms, witches, wizards and everyone speaking Japanese. Obviously we are in the world of Miyazaki Hayao animation.
It is actually more about Sophie the hat-maker than Howl the wizard. Sophie falls foul of the Witch of the Waste, and as is traditional is put under a nasty spell. Howl is a powerful wizard, gradually falling under side-effects of the magic he is using. You can probably guess where this plot is heading, though the knowing doesn’t spoil the ride. There is a rich array of side-kicks, baddies and others to entertain and frighten you along the way, in particular the witch’s gloopious minions and Calcifer the loquacious fire demon and the moving castle itself. Magic is mixed seamlessly with technology, human good and evil contrasted with magical good and evil. A visual feast for both kids and adults coupled with both adult and child messages.
If you want a movie for your kids, that you won’t find boring yourself, or you are an adult who wants something different, or are a closet Walt Disney or Finding Nemo fan or a Japanese anime cultist this is your movie. I think this is the best film of the festival.
We both rate it 5/5

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