The one I watched is not English dubbed [ of course! ] because I just cannot stand dubs.
All right, I watched this, and I love it. So what’s the catch of this movie? First, you have a young girl called Sophie who was turned into an old woman. She’s in love with Howl, who seems like he only likes young pretty girls, so a secret there. Second, you have Howl, a wizard, who is really vain and ensures that he is at his best whenever he goes out, so you have a tiny bit of comedy. Third, did I mention that Howl is actually super charming [ and in my opinion ], quite good looking? He has his secrets of his own, so you have a mysterious, dark, handsome good lead. What are you waiting for?
The film starts off with an introduction of Sophie, and within ten minutes or so, the mysterious arrival of Howl, who teaches Sophie how to walk in the air. The pace is just right, with no unnecessary slow pauses. There are a lot of likeable characters, like Turnip, the scarecrow, who is actually under a spell, Markl, Howl’s apprentice and assistant, and Calcifer, the fire demon. Oh right, and not to exclude Howl, the wizard who likes to steal young girls’ hearts. There is a sense of mystery in the film because Sophie wants to break to contract between Calcifer and Howl, except she doesn’t know how.
This film appeals to me because there’re so many secrets in there. I like the characters so much, that I want to watch the secrets being revealed and solved. I think it also wants to tell its viewers to forgive and forget, because Sophie decides to help the Witch of the Waste when she’s stripped of her power, instead of hating her because she was the one who cast a spell on her. However, I guess it didn’t work for me in that sense because the witch suddenly went crazy and wanted to eat Howl’s heart, and that’s a no-no way to get into my good books. However, my takeaway from this film is, ironically, to be forgiving, like Sophie. She does not rub salt in the witch’s wounds when she became a senile old woman. Instead, she takes pity on the witch and even brings her back to the castle. I really like the animation, and the idea of a moving castle that can lead to four different portals just by turning the knob. It’s also always fun and anxious at the same time to see romance blooming from the two main characters.
There are constant changes to the plots – wars, detection by Madame Sulliman, bombs, transformations of Howl, collapsing the castle etc, that it’s certainly a very enjoyable watch. Of course, I’m not saying all of the above just because Howl’s Moving Castle is an internationally acclaimed film. To me, it was really good, and I’m glad that I’ve started my first animation film [ I think ] with Howl’s Moving Castle, because now I have a really good impression. It was also good to realise after wiking, that this film was inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle, which was written by Diane Wynne Jones who have won me over, when I was young, with her Chrestomanci series.
Do give this film a try, and share with me what you’ve thought of it!