Saturday, December 24, 2011

Howl's Moving Castle

An insecure young milliner is placed under a spell and transformed into an elderly old lady. Taking refuge in a vain young wizard's bizarre mobile castle and mingling with its strange inhabitants in the midst of brutal war, the girl finds her raison d'etre and a love for the equally struggling wizard. "Howl's Moving Castle" is another cherished entry from hallowed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, and is an imaginative and wildly inventive film. While the movie's artistry has no bounds, it lacks a certain cohesion and, as a result, moves in fits and starts. Animation is always praised as a genre of unlimited invention, but I still want something in a film like this that follows some sort of logical basis. With "Howl's Moving Castle" my head started hurting trying to make odds and ends of what I was seeing, which actually resembles some sort of "Wizard of Oz mashup" and I was unable to fully appreciate the majesty of Miyazaki's creation (the castle looks phenomenal). Maybe I'm too Americanized and not adjusted to Japanese film. I watched the original version in subtitles, then sampled the dubbed American version which seemed more contiguous. "Howl's Moving Castle" is beloved by many and I think, with a little restraint and realism, would be the masterpiece it is widely considered.