Monday, 1 March 2010

Howl's Moving Castle (2004) [* * * * * *]

This must be one of the most romantic movies of all time! My current heartthrob is Howl, a wizard who's handsome, gallant and brilliant along with being a demon, vain, selfish and cowardly. (He's got a touch of magic with all the essentials of the modern man's flaws.;) Howl is heartless, literally, from having swallowed a star.

The story begins with a gallant rescue of a girl, bringing upon her the curse of old age from a jealous ex-gf, the Witch of the Waste. The girl sets off to find a way to lift the curse and ends up as a cleaning lady in his moving castle, which is moved by a fire-demon. The plain girl falls in love with the complex man, and they both grow from it - Howl finds a purpose in life and the Sophie is transformed by her love.

The story was written by Diane Wynne Jones in 1986, which is probably why it's so deeply romantic for a woman to watch, but I'd class this as one of the finest romances I've seen in animated film. Can't believe how it lost in the academy awards to the very boring Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Miyazaki's traditional touches, glowing landscapes, a hatred of war, an absence of villains, a love of nature and simplicity, really suit the story and add to its rich detail. Most watchable (my 5th time!:)

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