Monday, December 26, 2005

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Baba Yaga got nuthin on this hut!

Genre: Animé Fantasy Sci-Fi Adventure Romance Drama (Japan)

Starring: Chieko Baisho, Takuya Kimura (Love and Honor; 2046)

Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke; Spirited Away)

Overview: In a land torn up by war, a young girl gets caught up in the lives of feuding sorcerers. Searching for a cure to her curse, she seeks out Howl's moving castle to meet the mage within, and have the spell lifted.

Acting: Great! I think the voices are totally cute for Calcifer and the kid. I listened to it in the original language, but I read that Christian Bale does the voice of Howl in the dubbed version. This was during his physical transition from his role as The Machinist to that in Batman Begins, while he was beefing up. Do yourself a favour and always watch Anime in the original language if you can. As in Grave of The Fireflies, you do not want to miss the raw energy and subtle nuances of these voices.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The mix of computer animation with the classic style is a nice touch. Like as in Steamboy, you can see the leaps and bounds being made in this medium, and to know that they aren't content just leaving well enough alone is a nice statement on the future of Animé. With 3D effects, lens flares and outright GCI, this is a spectacle to enjoy.
Rating: 8

Script: The characters were all very distinct and an enjoyment to explore, especially Calcifer and the Witch of the Waste. The story was full of good honest humanity, and though we didn't explore the vast world they inhabited, the more personal approach made for a more touching film.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story itself is fun to follow. A woman is cursed to be 90 years old, and she can't tell anyone either. In hopes she becomes Howl's maid, learning about him, and the mystical world that he lives in. The ending was way too abrupt, concluding itself inside of 10 minutes, but resolved enough things to leave you happy without it being all too cliché. Without all the supporting roles this film would not be as cool as it is.
Rating: 8

Mood: The mystical feel of this is incredible. Merge Steampunk Sci-Fi with fantasy magic, throw in war and a mystical haven with strange creatures. This is good because it's light. It doesn't have all this heavy important social commentary. I laughed a lot at how cute everything was, and as mood goes, I believed every minute.
Rating: 9

"So... weak... Old... lady... will have to ... do...Hop on!"

Overall Rating: 80% (Very Moving Indeed!)

Aftertaste: This was terrific. Mental note: Whenever Animé comes out in North American theaters it is at worst entertaining, and at best, incredibly inspiring. With the way animation is going, its technology is only going to get better. Totally fun weekend movie. Calcifer and Turnip, honestly, make half the film.