#141: Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

When and how did I watch this?

March 5th, 2016, on a borrowed DVD.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Same director as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind  and Castle In the Sky, both extremely innovative films.  According to the prologue, this one was based on novel, so I guess that’s “points” taken away.  Are we still doing points?  I lost track.

What do I know about it now?

There’s a lot going on here. To start, the animation certainly wasn’t a disappointment. End to end, the illustration is spectacular and often breathtaking, ranging from pristine landscapes to grotesque characters. I enjoyed each character’s particular journey and transition, the latter often occurring spontaneously rather than over time. The film moves rapidly and at times I felt lost, but upon reading a synopsis thereafter, I hadn’t missed any details.  The furious pace is likely an attempt to summarize an entire novel. Calcifer is a favorite character, though they’re all colorful and endearing in their own way.

What are some themes in the film?

Trust, magic and happenstance, pride, war

Did this affect me personally?

Everything bordered on bizarre and memorable, but the climax in particular was touching.

Why is this ranked #141?

The profound imagination of Miyazaki is a huge influence upon this film’s ranking, resembling the Hitchcock phenomenon the IMDb chart. I feel that the Nausicaa story has greater pull and overall cohesiveness, but I can see how the fantastic aspects of Howl and his world can bolster votes.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She watched most of it, but didn’t seem particularly moved.

Would I watch it again?


Would I recommend it to a friend?

Yes, especially if you’re an Anime fan.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

I think so. This one and Castle In the Sky are interchangable to me, but still belong on the chart.

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