Pros:Wonderfully animated, beautiful scenes, more thoughtful than most children's films.
Cons:Confusing at times, particularly for the parent generation.
The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a movie differing from the regular children's formula releases, this movie is for you. More thought provoking than most children's films.
Reporter: Ladies and Gentlemen, we're outside the grand opening of the Vinotopia Restaurant at the Cinetopia Theaters in Vancouver, Washington. We're getting reactions from diners and movie guests on their experience here tonight. Miss, excuse me. Excuse me, miss? Yes, you.
Recommend this product?
nwinston, blushing: Er, me? Miss? (looking around)
Reporter: Yes, you. We're getting reactions from Cinetopia guests at tonight's grand opening. Are you here to sample the enomatic automatic wine tasting bar?
nwinston: Perhaps I should have been. Actually, I was here with my family to see a movie.
Reporter: Great! Are these handsome boys with you?
nwinston: Yes, they are. Jacob is 8 today and his brother Jeremy is 11. We saw Howl's Moving Castle.
Reporter: And how was the movie?
Jacob: Excellent. Totally awesome. There was a guy, he was named Howl and he was a wizard. He could fly and he helped people.
Jeremy: I really enjoyed the movie. It was different. The backgrounds were beautifully drawn and the story was unique.
Reporter: It seems you know something about animation, young man.
Jeremy: I took an OMSI class in it last summer. It's harder to do than you'd think.
Reporter: And how did you two like the film?
Mr. nwinston: Er, I was impressed with the animation? When I got back from the food bar with a piece of pizza, I was a little lost in the plot.
Reporter: And you? (looking at nwinston)
nwinston: Well, I thought the film was very deep. At first, I thought we were viewing a World War II epic, girl has an awful spell cast on her, girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, girl realizes boy has some major issues, boy sees through girl's spell to her inner beauty, war intervenes in the relationship. But then I realized the writers were channeling Alice in Wonderland, so I ate the magic mushrooms and fell through the rabbit hole with them. But then, I garbled sound...
Reporter: Sorry, that's all we have time for right now. Please enjoy the new restaurant and wine bar!
nwinston, grabbing microphone: But wait, I wasn't finished yet, you see, the plot...sound fading
Reporter: Let's talk to someone a little more knowledgable. How about you? What did you think of Howl's Moving Castle?
Random person:This Japanese animated movie was directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who won an Academy Award for directing Spirited Away. The English version features top talent voices Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale, Jean Simmons and Blythe Danner. The original novel was written by Diana Wynne Jones.
Reporter: Great information. Can you tell us about the film's plot and it's mood?
Random person:Yes, well,
nwinston: Sorry, I have control of myself now. I can give you the real deal on Howl's Moving Castle. To say that it's a seminal work would be going too far, but this is definitely better than normal Hollywood kiddie cinema. Spells and witchcraft. Wars between neighboring lands. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy. Love, intrigue and serious problems. This could describe many movie plots. But Howl's Moving Castle addresses them in novel ways. Animation is one way this film is distinct from others, but not necessarily the most important one. The mood the film sets is unnerving, leaving viewers wondering what will come next.
Although about dark subjects of war, draft of citizens and mean spirited spells, the beauty in the surreal backgrounds and the unexpected circus like introduction of new characters and scenes make for an entertaining film. Did my husband and I always know what we were watching? No. But that's a generation gap showing. My children were on top of the plot from start to finish.
I liked the ambitious size of the story. Included were pivotal questions of what makes a family, what does heart mean to a home and what is beauty. All viewers were given issues to ponder. Each character has vexing issues to resolve both within and without themselves.
This movie is much more profound than those my children are usually begging to watch. It was a wonderful visual and moving experience. My recommendation? Take the whole family and see Howl's Moving Castle.
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