February 25, 2005
Howl's Moving Castle
Just watched 宮崎駿/Hayao Miyazaki's latest—ハウルの動く城/Howl's Moving Castle and it didn't disappoint. (Well... I did think the ending was a bit too deus ex machina for me, but that's a minor quibble. I mean it is a fantasy after all.) I won't know how I'll rank this amongst Miyazaki's masterpieces until I've had some more time to mull it over and watch it again. I do know this: I was spellbound by this magical tale for 2 hours.
Unlike most of his other works (i.e. My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke), this movie's not an original story. Instead it's based on Diana Wynne Jones' novel of the same name. I've never read it (or even heard of it until today) and supposedly this is a loose interpretation. Anyway, in this story you'll find: a young girl in a 90-year-old's body, a fire demon who powers a moving castle (my favorite character!), a kid who can transform into a tiny old man with a huge beard, an old witch with a neck that looks a little like Jabba the Hutt, a wizard who turns into a giant bird (voiced by 木村拓哉/Takuya Kimura, last seen canoodling with 王菲/Faye Wong in another wonderful film, 2046), a scarecrow that hops around, flying battleships, and so many other wonderful and weird things that make up Miyazaki's trademark style. I think it's best to just go in with a clean slate and enjoy the magical ride so I won't rehash the plot (kind of hard to do anyway given the complex multi-layered story).
Howl's doesn't open in the States until June 10th in NY/LA (blame Disney).
And if you read Chinese, this is the best fan site I've found so far (well, in English or Chinese anyway): 移動城堡台灣興趣版