Sunday, July 10, 2005

Movie Review: Howls Moving Castle

A little while ago, I saw Hayao Miyakazi's new animated movie Howls Moving Castle. In case u are a mentally deranged monkey that spends all of its time in a cave somewhere and do not know who Hayao Miyakazi is, I'll just refresh ur memory. Hayao Miyakazi is the same brilliant director that brought us Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, My Friend Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and many other beautiful animated films, some that were never distributed in the United States.
His new movie, Howls Moving Castle, is yet another edition to the revolution of movie making that he began. It starts out with this woman, a simple person living in a simple town in a simple land, which borders The Waste (ominous music). At first it looks like (by the way the people she's living with treat her) she's a servant or something, but they turn out to be her mother and sisters. It's not that they don't love her, their just horrible meterialistic people, and Sophie (thats her name, Sophie, I finally remembered it) is not.
Anyway, its peaceful in town, until. . . (ominous music) Has everyone seen Spirited Away? Good. Than I can tell u that what ahe sees next are just like mini NoFaces, like blobs of blackness, except without the mask and the obvious exception that, unlike NoFace, they are Pure Evil and their dressed up in 3 peice suits (remind u of anyone? *coughcoughbushcoughcough*). But Sophie is saved by this mysterious man who turns out to be Howl (ominous music), the apparently evil wizard who eats pretty girls hearts and travels around in his Moving Castle.
Later, when Howl has long gone (and Sophie is unharmed), there's a knock on her door (ominous music). When she opens it, proclaiming in a patient voice that the hat shop where she works is closed, she finds an old, American-style obese woman, dressed all in black. In what makes for a scary moment, the Witch of the Waste (for that is her name) rushes straight through Sophie, thereby casting an evil spell on her, turning her into an old woman. Then the Witch says "Give my regards to Howl." and vanishes in the night. Now Sophie decides to venture into the Waste to find Howl, and see if he can help her.
This movie is based on the book "Howls Moving Castle" which is an American childrens book. Like the book, the movie has one of the "what the hell just happened there?" crappyest endings, but its still ten times better then anything else on the animation circuit right now. I give it 3 out of 4 stars.
My favorite visual and idealistic aspect of the movie by far was the spin wheel attached to the door of Howls Castle. On it were painted several different colors, and when turned to one of those colorsoo, the dr opened onto a different place. It is a warp hole in space, becomeing one with another door that Howl has also enchanted, and letting the occupants of the Castle move freely about the world with just a few steps. I just love the idea of it.
Well that's it for now, I strongly advise u to see this movie (even if the ending could be better). To my knowledge it is currently playing at the Embassy and Coolidge Corner.

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