Howl’s Moving Castle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

April 19, 2011
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“Howl's Moving Castle” was the winner of the Tokyo International Anime Fair Animation of the Year in 2005. It is also a compelling movie about a cursed girl turning to the infamous wizard Howl (who has his own problems) for help amidst a raging war between two kingdoms. From the start, viewers are stunned by the beautiful scenery of late nineteenth-century Europe. You can really feel the lively atmosphere director Hayao Miyazaki tries to convey. In addition, the soundtrack beautifully captures the movie's imagery and themes in a style reminiscent of that era of European music.

Like Miyazaki's previous films (“Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away”), “Howl's Moving Castle” is a mix of romance and suspense. All his movies have unique characters and don't stray far from the main story, with history and background that are enriching, all based on a specific tradition. What sets “Howl's Moving Castle” apart, however, is its character development.

Sophie (with the voice of Chieko Baishô in Japanese and Emily Mortimer in English) has the misfortune of inheriting the family hat shop, and is soon cursed by the Wicked Witch of the Waste. She is a timid girl who is very self-conscious and basically antisocial. After being transformed into an old woman, her personality sparks the audience with her humorous age-related jokes and crackly laugh.

However, Sophie isn't the only character who is memorable and loveable. Wizard Howl (Takuya Kimura in Japanese and Christian Bale in English) is a handsome playboy who is immature and cowardly. In one scene, he runs out of the bathroom half naked and starts oozing green goop because his hair is dyed orange!

The movie is a pure joy to watch, but it does have its flaws. There are parts where viewers may become confused and need to backtrack. Moments where Sophie appears young while being under the curse may confuse first-time viewers. Her appearance matches her mood. For example, she appears the youngest when she is happiest. The motive for the war is also unclear, but if you listen carefully to the conversation between two men at the start of the movie, you'll understand better.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. The characters are funny and quirky, but the plot intrigued me the most; a moving castle with four doors to four different places – what other word can possibly describe that except for original?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

4everyoung15 said...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

This is seriously one of the movies i can watch 100 times a day and not get bored of it!!! the review is clear, organized, and very well thought! 

I have to say though, I thought Sophie changed younger whenever she had a different feeling for Howl,

when she is casual with Howl, she is old, but when she was pretending to be Howl's mother, she deffended Howl thus slowly changing young again. Then when people would tell her she was in love with Howl she would turn back old bec... (more »)

4everyoung15 replied...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm
I <3 Calcifer!!!! <-- spelled the name wrong i noe (- -;)
writingrocks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm
Michelle, you are published in this month's magazine!
writingrocks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm
Well, I think you know who I am... I sit at your lunch table and talk about "sesagging"...
browneyedcat said...
Apr. 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm
I love this  movie. :D great review!!!
InvisibleNerdGirl said...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm
Great review! :) And I am in love with this movie. (And pretty much all other Miyazaki movies. TOTORO!! :D)
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