Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Howl's Moving Castle (ハウルの動く城 Hauru no Ugoku Shiro)

  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Genre: Animation (Sub-catergories: Adventure / Fantasy / Romance / Sci-Fi / War)
  • Studio: Studio Ghibli
  • Release Dates: Japan (20 November 2004), Malaysia (23 September 2005)
  • Rating: MPAA RATING: PG for frightening images and brief mild language
  • Music: Original Music by Joe Hisaishi with Songs by Yumi Kimura and Shuntaro Tanigawa.
  • Fact: This anime film is the 3rd Highest Grossing Film in Japanese History

This visually stunning film was brought to you by the ever brilliant Studio Ghibli which
has also produces several other highly acclaimed anime such as, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and the likes with the help of Hayao Miyazaki, a talented and famous director in the animation world. So, did this particular anime measures up to its predecessors? Well, it has gotten 13 nominations and bags 7 win from prestigious film awards worldwide to boast. How’s that for quality hmmm?

A bizarre
but engaging story based on a British novelist, Diana Wynne Jones’ novel bearing the same title. The book was first published in 1986 under The Castle Series, categorized as fantasy and children’s literature. I know it’s a kiddy read but I don’t care, I would still go pick up a copy of it to quench my thirst for more of this story I fell in love with.

Plot Summary
It’s about a strong will young woman named Sophie, the protagonist in this story who wa
s cruelly cursed by a spiteful and envious Witch of the Waste into a 90-year-old hag which in turns trigger off the biggest adventure of her lifetime, embarking on an arduous quest to break her curse.

Sophie lives in a town called Ingary where magic are accepted ways of life. Her home was also where she works, as she is the eldest child in the family she had taken up the responsibility to dutifully take care of her family’s hat shop. One day when Sophie was on her way to visit her pretty younger sister Lettie at the bakery, she had an enchanting encounter with a young wizard named Howl who has left her pretty much in awe and admiration for his handsomeness and suave demeanor. Who wouldn’t have swooned if someone so appealing took you for a stroll through the sky? Except for the fact that all woman in Ingary should have known better what’s best for them, as it is a wide known fact Howl has an unfavorable reputation of a womanizer and worst of all… was also rumored to be very fond of eating pretty young woman's heart. OMG!

This short but sweet encounter of Sophie’s has unfortunately stoked the jealous heart of the Witch of the Waste who has then promptly left her with that cruel curse which I had mentioned earlier. Unable to face her family, Sophie left and went into the Waste in search of a cure when she met and made friend with a friendly scarecrow, Turnip Head after mistaken him for a walking stick.

Turnip Head repaid Sophie’s kindness for rescuing him from the bushes by leading her into Howl’s moving castle. It was a run-down but enchanted castle that walks on four spindly legs. There, she made her acquaintance with Calcifer, a cute albeit feisty and proud little fire demon and also Markl, Howl’s 8-years-old boy apprentice. On their first contact, Calcifer persuaded Sophie to help him break the contract that binds him to Howl as a servant, and in return he shall lift Sophie’s curse.

Sophie then decided to take refuges at Howl’s castle hence she masque
raded as a cleaning lady employed by Calcifer, of which both Howl and Markl readily accepted her service. What follows after this was a chain of exciting incidents whereupon threatens and at the same time strengthens the relationship of both Sophie and Howl.

Moments Dear to Me
I was utterly mesmerized when Howl first came to Sophie’s rescue at the small lane where she
was trying to ward of unwanted attentions from two wayward soldiers… though one of the soldiers was quite dashing *bites lower lip*.

There’s also a part where Howl grabs Sophie and flew up into the sky for a slow stroll was the most enchanting moments of all – it’s so romantic especially when accompanied by the enthralling orchestra music. Yeah, the whole show was peppered with stunning orchestra pieces by Joe Hisaishi, a noteworthy composer. Many of Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpieces were accompanied by Joe Hisaishi’s compositions. If you are a true fan of Miyazaki’s animations, you would have noticed that almost all of the soundtracks are absolutely astounding and engaging.

Another scene which I particularly adore is when Howl breaks out from his usual suave demeanor and sulked like an inconsolable child. It’s just too funny and charming to see everyone rushing to pamper and pacify an over dramatic Howl. Plus, his show of tantrums was really something to regard with and not to be taken lightly at all… afterall, he is a powerful wizard.

The scene where Sophie takes a break from her overzealous cleaning mission to look out of the castle’s window while it is on the move was simply priceless. The sceneries that met the eyes beyond the window are truly breathtaking. I really felt like what Sophie was feeling then, all awe and surreal.

My Two-cents
To me, this film is a winner for its spectacular animation and its endearing characte
rs. I especially adore cute little Calcifer and of course the boyish and charming Howl. I love Sophie too, for her feisty spirit and undying love for Howl. The soundtracks were manly orchestra music but the compositions were simply marvelous – especially the theme song, Sekai no Yakusoku (The Promise of the World)... fantastic. I felt like being suck through Alice in the Wonderland’s rabbit hole.

This is truly a must watch film even for non-anime lover. It’s worthy of your attention, believe me. Then again... please don't come back here and Karate-chop me if you don't happen to fancy it ok :P

The Promise: I know, I had actually promised to post the review since my last post, and that was right after CNY. Sorry for the delay.

Time Frame: I have been composing this post since 5th March 2007 until todate 20th March 2007. That is about 2 week’s time. Oh gosh… I am pathetic when it comes to writing review aren’t I? Hope m
y review didn’t suck BIG time.

Worry: I hope I didn’t ruin the appeal of this noteworthy film for everyone. And did not accidentally leave any spoilers in my review. If I did, please do pardon me for I am really a first timer film reviewer. As a matter of fact, I have not written any sort of reviews before.

Lesson Learned: All in all, writing this review has been another good way of boosting my confidence in writing. I am proud of myself for finishing it at least and for keeping my promise to post it. Yay! *pat self on the back* Good job :P

Howl's Moving Castle (Music)
I love the whole soundtracks of this anime, but I do favour two of it more... The Merry-Go-Round of Life and Sekai no Yakusoku (The Promise of the World).

Howl's Moving Castle (Trailer)

Howl's Moving Castle (Pictures)
Feast your eyes on these.....


Gina said...

...though one of the soldiers was quite dashing *bites lower lip*.

You get turned on by anime cute boys??? Gawd!! Hahahah!

Bravo review! I don't fancy anime, but probably would give this a try. :)

stev said...

mmm. very like his other anime.

its a good introduction anime to those new to it as the stories are short, moralistic & quite entertaining

i know of at least a few ppl who like spirited away a lot :)

Kleio in da House said...

Yeah I get turned on by cute anime bishie boyz a lot! Ahahaa. No joke ya. Bishonen rulez!!!!

Aww thanks. You really think this review is okay kah? I am so happy. You should really give this anime a try.

You mean Spirited Away is it? I have encountered so many comments that says Spirited Away is much much more better than this one. To me both were equally brilliant... just that this one happened to make a very big impact on me - maybe it's the brilliant music or... it's the bishies :P