Howl movie vs. book (was Re: [DWJ] help needed...)

koenma_chan at koenma_chan at
Wed May 17 00:23:14 EDT 2006

Lessee... As an anime lover, I was one of the people that had
watched the Miyazaki movie before the book. As a matter of fact,
I wasn't even aware that an actual book existed until one of my
friends told me about it like a week after seeing the movie.
(^^;;;)  I was in love with the movie and when I found out that
there was a book I was thrilled! The movie itself was a great
work of art (Miyazaki never disappoints), but I do agree that the
book's story was more enjoyable (in my opinion at least)...  :D

And I totally agree with you on that "book-into-movie" thing.
That just annoys the hell out of me.... (-_-) The one that's
annoyed me the most was the Resident Evil movie.... THE FRIGGEN
CHARACTER NAMES AREN'T EVEN THE SAME!!!!!!  The game was soooooo
much better.....    >=O

From:  Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at>
Reply-To:  Diana Wynne Jones <dwj at>
To:  Diana Wynne Jones <dwj at>
Subject:  Howl movie vs. book (was Re: [DWJ] help needed...)
Date:  Tue, 16 May 2006 16:31:43 -0600
>On Tue, 16 May 2006 09:24:10 -0700 (PDT), Elizabeth G. Holtrop wrote:
> >Are there any readers out there who saw  Howl-the-film first and prefer it to Howl-the-book?
>Not me, of course, but none of my kids have read the book yet.  They all
>LOVED the movie.  As in, "we'd rather watch Howl's Moving Castle on DVD five
>times instead of this Harry Potter thing released the same day."  I knew
>going into it that the movie was going to be substantially different from
>the book and I didn't want them not enjoying the movie because of it.
>Because I also knew that the movie on its own was going to be great.  If
>there had never been a book--if Miyazaki had come up with the story on his
>own--there wouldn't have been anything to compare it (negatively, in many
>cases) to.
>When I watch a movie based on a book, I expect it to be its own story.  As
>long as it's true to the essence of the book, I don't worry so much if
>certain sections have to be left out.  I was re-reading _Adventures in the
>Screen Trade_ over the weekend and William Goldman has quite a lot to say
>about the process of adaptation--about how much has to be cut from a book to
>make a *good* movie.  So I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of
>_Howl_ made it into the movie, both actual scenes and ideas.  Especially the
>green slime.  :)  I don't think they needed to lose the idea of Sophie
>talking life into things; it was actually in the movie, but never identified
>as such.  And emphasizing the war...well, that's just Miyazaki all over, and
>was probably the only change to the book's plot that annoyed me.  But at
>least there was a war, or the possibility of war, in the book--it wasn't
>just something he tacked on for fun.
>I've seen movies where it was clear the screenwriter or director had just
>taken the title and made a completely different story.  That bothers me.
>What's the point of adapting a novel if you're just going to change
>everything?  At that point you're just trying to capture some of the
>audience who loved the book.  Sorry folks, I loved _Snow Falling on Cedars_
>too much to see it mangled on screen.  Miyazaki's film still managed to
>capture the spirit of DWJ's novel, so I'm happy with it.  And there was the
>green slime...that was my favorite scene, and it was pure Howl.
>I recommended the book to my mother-in-law, who is "teaching" a class on
>literature--what she really does is read aloud to the class, which is made
>up of delinquents and losers and a handful of good students.  It may be the
>only way some of these kids absorb any sort of literature.  Anyway, her plan
>is to read the book and then show them the movie.  She's so excited about it
>because she really liked the book, and I hope it works for the class.
>(Though it smacks a little too much of post-Orwellian instruction and _The
>Missing Persons League_....)
>Melissa Proffitt
>Dwj mailing list
>Dwj at

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