Howl's Moving Castle



- Ozark Savage

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

AKA: Hauru No Ugoku Shiro

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Cast: Chieko Baisho, Takuya Kimura, Akihiro Miwa, Tatsuya Gashuin, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mitsunori Isaki, Yo Oizumi, Akio Otsuka, Daijiro Harada, Haruko Kato

Running Time: 119 min.

Plot: After Sophie is cursed and turns into a 90-year-old woman, she embarks on an incredible odyssey to lift the curse. She finds refuge in Howl's magical moving castle where Sophie's love and support come to have a major impact on Howl.

Availability: This title is available at


OZARK SAVAGE'S REVIEW: Yet another head trip and visual feast from the mind of Japanese animation artist Miyazaki. He takes us on an adventurous tale of war, magic and true love. The story follows quiet young shop girl Sophi (Emily Mortimer), who has a curse placed on by the Witch of the Waste that turns her into a withered bent old lady. Now she must run away into the wastes to find someone who can help reverse the curse upon her. It is there that she comes across the eponymous moving castle of the great and literally heartless wizard Howl (Christian Bale).

First off I want to mention my only real gripe with the story and that is the war that is going on partly as background to the central love and redemption story. I just didn't feel that side of the film was conveyed as well as the rest and as a result it seems out of place at time. It seems more of an added anti-war statement inside what it really is a beautifully told story.

What lifts this above so many other animated features is Miyazaki's ability to enchant an audience with a style that is an art form unto itself. This can create some of the most emotive and wonderful characters in animation today. And he places these creations against detailed and beautiful vistas. One example of his work is the castle itself, it is wonderful amalgamation of parts of houses, chimneys and machinery that has it's our personality, you could watch the movie a second time just to catch the intricacies you may have missed the first time through.

Miyazaki had a hard act to follow in creating an another film after the critical success of "Spirited Away". Although he doesn't quite match what he did with that one when he undershoots he still manages to best everyone else. He is to our time what Walt Disney was to the 40s and 50s.