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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Howl’s Moving Castle

Emily Mortimer voices Sophie.  Photo courtesy Studio Ghibli
Emily Mortimer voices Sophie. Photo courtesy Studio Ghibli

By Sara Pintilie/entertainment editor

Howl’s Moving Castle (4.5 stars)

Emily Mortimer voices Sophie.  Photo courtesy Studio Ghibli
Emily Mortimer voices Sophie. Photo courtesy Studio Ghibli

Howl’s Moving Castle is one of the lesser known—but equally stunning—works from the Japanese animator/creative genius Hayao Miyazaki.

His gorgeous animation is still primarily hand-drawn, which in our computer-generated-imagery world is a breath of fresh nostalgia, and his sweet, fairytale-like stories are light-hearted fun.

His most prevalent work is Spirited Away, the worthy winner of the Oscar for best animated feature in 2003.

And as in many movies geared toward the kiddie fare, he weaves in adult references. But instead of tongue-in-cheek slights, his stories are filled with an underbelly of social commentary.

Howl’s Moving Castle centers around a mousy girl, Sophie, in a war-torn, nameless region. After she bumps into the Wicked Witch of the Waste, she is cursed and turned into an old woman.

Sophie, unable to tell anyone of the curse, seeks help and runs into Howl, one of the most powerful and notorious wizards, running away from being drafted into the war.

She joins his ragtime crew—a boy apprentice, Markl; the fire demon, Calcifer, and an enchanted scarecrow—in Howl’s home, a castle with two moving legs.

She has to break her curse and help free Howl from his own demons before she loses the wizard to the war. 

Don’t dismiss this film as just an anime movie; it would be like calling Aladdin just a cartoon film.

The movie looks dazzling. The scenery and the characters have a certain innocent aura around them making this film simply endearing.

The only fault with the film is a slight confusion during the first watch through.

Sophie ages then sheds years without much of an explanation. For example, in one scene she is close to 80; in the next she is somewhere in her 30s.

But by the time viewers notice this flaw; they are having too much fun to really care.

Howl’s Moving Castle
 is a nostalgic treat for any kid or kid at heart.

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