Untimely Reviews – “Howl’s Moving Castle”

I like Japanese animated films. Not enough to rush out to the theater when they hit the U.S., but enough to spend one of my little boy's naps with a modern anime classic. This movie, though, begs the question, is it anime? The style of Hayao Miyazaki is unlike any genre, except that of Hayao Miyzaki films.

"Howl's Moving Castle" is crisply and richly animated. Everything is detailed, colorful, and moving. Poorer animations will throw out some still frames with moving lips or an object, such as an airplane, inanimately  "moving" across the screen. My wife's major complaint about animation is that all of the sounds are too unreal and often do not correspond with the illustrated scene. "Howl's" film shows none of the limitations of animation, every scene looks and sounds as real as our own world. Actually, many scenes in "Howl's" are more involved than in real life. When was the last time you say blob men popping out of walls or a sea of fire flow down a city street?  "Howl's" is a panacea of stunning images that shows us the power of animation over film.

Sometimes an Asian film can be baffling. There are just some cultural differences that are best explored in esoteric foreign studies classes. I have never take one, so let's just say that I probably missed the meaning and importance of some of the plot points in "Howl's". Nevertheless, even the baffling parts were interesting. In fact, Mr. Miyazaki is such a good storyteller that even this complicated story can be fully enjoyed at face value. I refuse to spoil the surprises in this movie; just take my word for it that this movie is fantastic. 

I have more fun mocking a film than promoting it. And I am sure that reading a mocking review is much more fun than skimming through a glowing review. Who want to hear about someone else's good time watching a movie that you've never seen? Not me. That is why I hate to hear about how wonderful a special pre-release screening was of the latest Miramax Oscar contender. My reaction is always, "wow, someone had a good time watching a movie that I can't see yet. Sucks to be me I guess." Take heart, "Howl's Moving Castle" is already widely available. Thus is the gratification that comes from an untimely review. 

Warning: This movie is subtitled.  However, if you have read this review then I guess you will be O.K. with the reading part.  Peace out.

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One thought on “Untimely Reviews – “Howl’s Moving Castle”

  1. Kleio the Muse March 5, 2007 at 9:09 pm Reply

    I like your review style… you let the reader decide for themselves instead of shoving hordes of bad or good critiques down their throats as many reviewers tend to do. Great job. I have recently watched this anime and fell in love with it totally that I re-watched it a couple of times. Just can't seem to get enough of it. I had to agree that the voice over was really good. I watched it in Cantonese (a Chinese dialect) and then in English. There's slight differences in the dialogue but both gave me different feelings and enjoyment. Am now planning to watch again… this time in Japanese.

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