Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

It feels as if I could write an entire blog on the accompilshments of Studio Ghibli with such animated classics as My Neighbor Totoro and Castle in the Sky so today I place deserved credit to this masterfully told fantasy tale, Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro).  This movie is based on the novel “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana W. Jones and brings to life the colorful adventure of a young girl’s encounter with a wizard named Howl.  The scenery alone is enough to make this a pleasure to watch but there is so much more to enjoy that I’m certain you’ll want to own a copy of this to watch over and over. The film had it’s debut in 2004 to Japanese audiences then was subsequently dubbed into English and distributed in North America by The Disney Corporation.

Hayao Miazaki was persuaded to come out of retirement to direct and write the screenplay that tells the story of an 18 year old hatter named Sophie who decides to take a trip to visit her sister when she comes upon the mysterious wizard Howl who lives in a slow moving castle that wanders the countryside. Howl becomes taken by the young girl which angers the Witch of the Waste, who has been seeking Howl’s heart for some time. The adventure starts there with plot twists and a variety of characters, including an animated scarecrow named Turniphead, one of my personal favorites in the film. One piece of trivia for American audiences; the voice of Howl in the English dubbed version is voiced by Christian Bale.

Some scenes may be intense for the very young but for tweens and up I highly recommend this movie.

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