[DWJ] Howl's Moving Castle film

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Jun 21 04:15:31 EDT 2008

In <200806210853.01035.irina at valdyas.org>, Irina Rempt wrote:
>After resisting for a long time I finally bought and watched it, determined 
>not to dislike it because it wasn't like the book (I was allowed to dislike 
>it for other reasons, e.g. because I don't like anime in general).

I too am not an anime fan for the sake of anime, but I have had a soft 
spot for Miyasaki's earlier work.

>Well, I didn't dislike it, not even because it was anime. According to 
>my eldest daughter who has been watching anime on YouTube lately, it's 
>not stricly anime anyway. In fact I liked it tremendously, though I'm still 
>coming to terms with the changes. Both girls who watched it with me and who 
>haven't read the book yet (one is the DWJ reader, but she's only recently 
>become competent enough in English to read the books in the original and HMC 
>hasn't been translated) thought it was absolutely splendid.

I would say that it's a fine film in its own right, even if not 
absolutely true to the book on which it is loosely based.

>Having slept on it, I realise that I'd have *hated* the film for the changes 
>if Miyazaki had done it *badly*. (Wizard Suliman! Howl's transformations! The 
>war plot!) But he did it extremely well. Now I want to see _Spirited Away_ 
>too, and not only to see what Miyazaki does with something I don't know by 
>heart already.

I think Miyasaki really is very good.

I seriously feel that this is not his best work, though probably the 
easiest to get hold of.  It's certainly very beautiful, but I found 
*Princess Mononake* -- well, more impressive as regards scenery than I 
found the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which came out at 
amost the same time.  The New Zealand woodland in LotR is fabulous, but 
the woodland Miyazaki has in PM surpasses it, as far as I am concerned. 
The plot is superb: unsimplistic to a very high degree, and full of 
characters with motivation and reason beyond the obvious.  If I had to 
choose one Miyazaki to keep for the rest of my life PM would probably be 
the one, though it is a great deal more impressive on a large screen and 
loses a bit by being seen at TV size.

For the greatest *charm* of Miyazaki I'd go unhesitatingly for *My 
Neighbour Totoro*, an earlier work that goes on entrancing me by pure 
delight.  I prefer the subtitled to the dubbed version, because the 
mouths are perfect for what is said in Japanese and don't quite fit the 
English, but maybe that's just me...  (And I want want want a CatBus.)

DWJ would probably opt for *Kiki's Delivery Service* or *Castle in the 
Sky* (*Laputa*) as favourites.

So it's worth keeping an eye out for at least those titles of 
Miyasaki's, and probably others I haven't mentioned here too but 
Saturday mornings are too short.  :-)


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