Howl pics

minnow at minnow at
Wed Sep 17 07:29:39 EDT 2003

Aimee replied to my mild enthusiasm[1]:

>>*Princess Mononake* has woods in it depicted in so breathtakingly lovely a
>>way that I was fair disappointed by the woods in *Fellowship of the Ring*,
>>by comparison.  So I am hopeful.
>My word, you have just inspired me to seek this movie out. Thanks for the
>tip.  (my own lothlorien quibbles notwithstanding).

Be aware that this film is better on large screen than at video/dvd size,
and that the chances of finding it on a large screen are not very good.
There is a *lot* of detail, and some of it gets lost on small screen[2].  I
was extremely lucky because a friend of mine won two tickets to the premier
in London, and rang me up (that morning) to ask if I was interested -- then
he came down from York for the occasion and I went over from Bristol, and
we were both completely blown away by the film.  Laughter and tears, I kid
you not, and we are not given to such in public.

Later showings of the dvd were still wonderfully beautiful (almost every
frame would make a stunning picture, for much of it) but not so
awe-striking.  The bigger the screen you can manage, the better, would be
my guess.

Quite apart from sheer beauty it's worth having a look at, I think.  My
friend, who has it on dvd of course, shows it to people and stops it at one
particular point about two-thirds of the way through and asks them to
predict the ending, to tell him what the message is, and to say who are the
good guys and the bad guys (apart from the obvious hero) based on what has
happened so far.  Nobody has yet got close to accurate.  It is a very
complex and very rewarding film, indeed.

This is beginning to look as if I were an anime enthusiast; I'm not
particularly.  I have seen three such films.  One is practically historical
-- *My Neighbour Totoro* -- and turned my prejudice against "cartoons" on
its head about ten years ago when I saw it by accident (in Japanese and
without subtitles, no less: even when one doesn't have the faintest idea
what is really happening it *still* works) at a convention: it is charming,
and a little sad, and a lot happy, and was the first film not using live
actors I ever saw in which the *shadows* were done right.  (And it has the
Cat-Bus in it, and I *want* one.)  The second was *Princess Mononake*, and
I wanted to see that because by the time it came out I knew about *Howl*
being with the same people and I wanted to feel sure they were up to the
job.  The third is *Spirited Away*, which came out this week on general
release, and I actively wanted to see it to confirm for myself that the
Independent film review I had read was probably missing the point (it was).
(But then, the man who wrote it didn't think there was anything to PM, so
I suspect he just doesn't like anime.  His loss, in this case.)

[1] what's the opposite of exaggerate?  De-xaggerate?

[2] I am told the same is true of *Spirited Away*.  There are background
details one can see on the large screen and not on the small.  I've only
seen the dvd, I shall make a trip to the cinema some time soon possibly
taking a daughter as an excuse.

Minnow (not proselytising at all, no, really....)

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