Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
May 31, 2020 11:29 PM - Subscribe

Hayao Miyazaki's 2004 fantasy film is set in a fictional kingdom where both magic and early 20th-century steampunk technology are prevalent, against the backdrop of a war with another kingdom. The film tells the story of a young, content milliner named Sophie who is turned into an old woman by a witch who enters her shop and curses her. She encounters a wizard named Howl and gets caught up in his resistance to fighting for the king. Miyazaki said the film was his favorite creation
posted by growabrain (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Howl's Moving Castle is streaming in the US via HBO Max (not HBO Go or HBO Now).
posted by Etrigan at 7:08 AM on June 1, 2020

Ghibli Week on Polygon
posted by growabrain at 11:15 AM on June 1, 2020

I've always wanted to read the book. I'm curious how Miyazaki changed the story.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:36 PM on June 1, 2020

The book is one of my all time favourites, and after the astonishing high point of Spirited Away (still his best movie, imho), I was so, so looking forward to it.

But of course, the book has barely anything in common with the film - really he borrowed the set up and virtually nothing else. I was really disappointed - not just because of the change, but I feel like Howl's Moving Castle was more typical Japanese animation narrative than Spirited Away, (or Kiki, or Totoro, for that matter), by which I mean to say, things seem to happen for no exact reason, stuff isn't explained and doesn't make a lot of sense, and characters change motivations for inexplicable or arbitrary reasons that are only called out with exposition, also the pacing is weird, especially at the end. I feel these are problems that plague a lot of Japanese animation.

It was just, sloppier than his prior films, I thought - though I admit my disappoint likely -plays a part in this, too. Just felt really "typical" to me, like someone else 'doing' Miyazaki.

I actually think the Ghibli-but-not-miyazaki Borrower Arriety released soon after is a superior film on every level, albeit less epic, more quiet, less imaginative.
posted by smoke at 10:33 PM on June 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Mr.Encyclopedia the book is very very good, and is very different from the movie, both in terms of characters and plotting (especially the second half). The characters are just terrific.
posted by smoke at 10:34 PM on June 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is my favorite of Miyazaki's movies. Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are objectively "better" films (and I love them both), but Howl is just plain fun. It's more accessible than some of his other movies, has a lot of great humor, and a lot of emotionality.

Yes, it's quite a departure from the book (which is also great), and yes, parts of it don't make sense, but I really don't care. I will watch this movie anytime.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:29 AM on June 2, 2020

I was also disappointed, even though it is better than, say, "Porco Rosso". I get you, though, Ben Tris; my guilty pleasure is "The Castle of Cagliostro".
posted by acrasis at 3:07 PM on June 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I will also watch this movie any time and it always feels fresh even though I'm pretty sure I have committed a significant part of it to memory already.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 12:43 AM on June 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

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