So sorry for the huge delay in getting this review out this week. Everything seems to be getting in my way, mostly reading reviews about Watchmen (Got my IMAX ticket! Although I haven't heard if it needs to be seen in IMAX - Oh well...), working on a presentation I have to give next week in front of my departmental area (no pressure there!), and grading exams (which the grades were worse than a Jim Belushi biopic). But it's no excuse. And because of how my weekend went, I didn't get to watch any TCM movies, so the DVD is really full! Hopefully I can squeak out a couple this upcoming weekend, on top of another DVD review. But this week was the SO's choice...
...which meant I had to sit through another anime movie. Good thing she doesn't have that many, so I can make it through easy enough (although she'll probably eventually select a couple Jimmy Fallon movies... ugh!). I know she had a tough choice choosing, but it came down to watching a movie for which she had just read the book, and I could tell right away the movie was nothing like the book. That movie would be Howl's Moving Castle.
Pretty simple, guy likes girl. Witch likes guy, so turns girl into old lady, girl/old lady stumbles upon guy's moving castle (so the title at least makes sense!) and helps guy reclaim his heart from a fire demon (who is a friend of the guy's) without having to kill fire demon. In the middle of all that, guy has to face former teacher and defeat her. Did I forget to mention the guy is a wizard?
Very quickly, I picked up on the detail of the film, which was superb compared to other anime films I've had to watch with the SO. Because I had seen this one other time, I think I appreciated this film more, or maybe I liked it because the SO every two seconds said, "That's not in the book!" "Howl's former teacher is a guy in the book!" "That's not why the Witch of the Waste turns Sophie into an old lady!"
I could gather from all of this that the director, Hayao Miyazaki, who the SO adores, basically took the outline of the story and incorporated his usual themes of war being bad and the environment is crucial to the survival of all species. The book, which on all accounts was a decent story (although I haven't read), did not seem to be retold in the film. I'm not sure if the SO likes the movie more, less, or the same, but she clearly has a new opinion about it.
As for me, I think it seemed like the movie went quickly this time around. Of the anime the SO has made me watch, it's probably the strongest film. Oh, and Howl? Voiced by Christian Bale! Picked up on it right away, which made the SO mad because of this useless talent I have for picking up voices in animated films. Picked up Billy Crystal as the fire demon, Calcifer. Amazing what happens when you watch enough movies in your life. It finally pays off...just not in the monetary sense.
Of all the anime we now own, I would keep this one. Best story, best animation, best film. But then I haven't watched the half-dozen or so others the SO definitely will have planned for us to watch in the next year or so. My opinion might change, who knows? Only Dr. Manhattan... okay, so I'm a little more than excited to see it Saturday, but while re-reading it... sorry, the post... good movie, should definitely see if you like fantasy or animated films. Go see Howl's Moving Castle this weekend (after Watchmen!). Later!
Here's the entire movie if you would like to watch now!