Blu-ray Howl's Moving Castle [Blu-ray/DVD] (Blu-ray 16304098),
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Howl's Moving Castle [Blu-ray/DVD]

  • PG
  • Blu-ray/DVD
  • 2 discs
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • Acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki adapts British writer Diana Wynne Jones's popular fantasy tale for this animated feature, adding his own unique and celebrated dreamlike spin. A young hat-maker named Sophie (voiced by Emily Mortimer) is turned into an old woman by the dreaded Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall) when she attracts the notice of Howl (Christian Bale), a young wizard whom the witch desires for herself. As the old woman, (voiced by Jean Simmons), Sophie finds refuge as a cleaning lady in Howl's magical castle, an impressively realized mishmash of anthropomorphic shafts and gears, where she meets, among other wonders, a cantankerous fire demon named Calcifer (Billy Crystal). Howl's courage inspires her to seek a cure for her curse, and vice versa, and the two work together to prevent a major war as the castle roams the countryside on its mechanical legs. There's lots of magic afoot as well, including travel through barriers of space and time, and shape-shifting, requiring full viewer attention to keep track of who, where, and when, but this how dreams really are and the film engages on that same subconscious level. As with Miyazaki's previous work (SPIRITED AWAY, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE), the emphasis here is on creating a beautiful alternate reality, where anything can happen, and every frame is a breathtaking work of art. See it on the big screen if the chance presents itself; the elaborate intricacies and patiently realized alternate realities of Miyazaki's work makes him a true treasure.
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  • Credits
    Emily Mortimer, Christian Bale, Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacall, Betty Joan Perske, Billy Crystal, Blythe Danner, Josh Hutcherson
  • Critic Reviews
    "Admirers of his work, which is wildly imaginative, emotionally intense and surpassingly gentle, will find much to appreciate in this film because it demonstrates, once again, his visual ingenuity and his sensitivity as a storyteller."
    New York Times

    "Clever and often enchanting....This movie often soars, blending a childlike sense of wonder with sophisticated emotions and motives."
    USA Today

    "[Miyazaki has a] gift for wonder, an ease with fantasy that makes enchantment second nature..."
    Los Angeles Times

    "As HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE makes ravishingly clear, coming into one's own is the most heroic -- and magical -- experience of all."
    Entertainment Weekly

    "[T]his is subtle, profound and ravishing; once again, Miyazaki brings an original sense of wonder to cinema."
    Uncut

    "The riches of nature are present, correct and ravishing....HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE serves as an index of Miyazaki motifs..."
    Sight and Sound

    "[S]tunningly beautiful and strangely moving....Miyazaki has a very good handle on it and lavishes his customary heart, humor, and inventiveness on every situation he depicts."
    Premiere

    3 stars out of 4 -- "[T]his Oscar-nominated Japanese animation wanders into seriously trippy territory....Relentlessly imaginative..."
    Rolling Stone

    4 stars out of 5 -- "Tremendously imaginative and charming."
    Uncut

0 Stars 0 average rating
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