Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Howl's Moving Castle

Last night Don and I went to see Howl's Moving Castle at the QFT. As we were early we decided to grab a bottle of beer. Stella. £2.50. What. The. Hell? Daylight robbery. I wouldn't have bothered if I knew that was the price. I know they need all the money they can get but since they are sponsored by Stella you would think it would be cheaper than a regular pint at bar X. So after finishing, we walked into a very packed cinema and found two seats near the front. I'm glad they re-arranged the seating in here because it was bloody uncomfortable before. So the ads kick in and what is the preview for? Howl's Moving Castle. This is the third film in a row I've been to see where you are shown the preview before the actual preformance. Gee, thanks QFT for spoiling the film by a veritable montage of plot sequences.

Despite the "preview", Howl's Moving Castle is not really a film you can spoil with a trailer as it is just as confusing as the movie itself. Confusing in a good way though. However, it begins as a straight forward story by introducing Sofie, an apprentice hat maker, bored of her life and on a seemingly uninteresting journey to see her sister until she is met by two horny child molesting guards [hey it's Japanese] and she is rescued by Howl who ushers her away where they meet strange goo-ey black creatures who appear from nowhere. They manage to escape the menace and Sofie is left on the balcony of her sisters shop in absolute awe of Howl. However, the black creatures are servants of the Wicked Witch of the Waste and because of her compliance with Howl, turns her into an old lady forever cursed. Sofie realises that she must find Howl and sets off into the forbidden land.

The film really takes off and for the next hour and half the viewer is taken to meet Howl and all the weird and wonderful creatures compiled by Miyazaki, including the hilariously cute Calicifer, the fire that operates the castle, the Wicked Witch of the Waste and Turnip Head, Sofie's handy helper. We are also told of a war being waged by two kingdoms and that the king of either side is requesting the aid of all magicans including Howl himself who takes no side but his own.

The film is a U and thus aimed primarily at children. However, I had a hard time working out certain elements superfluous to the main plot which may confuse children but it's hard not to just sit back and drop your jaw at the amazing characters and surreal aspect to the movie. So despite the convoluted story-telling, Howl's Moving Castle is extremely re-watchable and will no doubt become a classic like Miyazaki's previous film Spirited Away. If you're looking to escape into another world for two hours or entertain the kids, look no further.

I would give this movie 4 hats out of 5.



Blogger Skry said...

Sounds like a very interesting movie, and an original plot to boot. Not a lot of those left these days. I will have to borrow Spirited Away from you and check it out before seeing HMC.

12:08 am  
Blogger Donovan said...

I would agree it was a good film. However I do think that the convoluted and at times bewildering plot will stop it being as accessible and universally popular as Spirited Away.

1:17 am  
Anonymous lou said...

Its been given an oscar nomination for best animated film.

2:03 am  

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