Sunday, June 26, 2005
Howl's Moving Castle Review and Analysis
Finally, I had enough time to put up my review for Howl's Moving Castle. I saw it on opening day June 10 at the Mayan Theater. Howl's Moving Castle is the latest movie from the director Hayao Miyazaki. This movie is adapted from Diane Wynne Jones's book of the same name. I didn't get the chance to read her book before I saw the movie, but I might pick it up.
Howl is about a young girl named Sophie who gets turned into a 90 year-old woman by the Witch of the Waste. She takes refuge in a moving castle that is owned by the notorious Howl. Howl leads Sophie through enchanting mayhem.
Pretty vague summary huh? Well, this movie is something you just have to see. Some scenes and situations you really can't describe.
There have been many reviews saying that this is not the best of Miyazaki's work. Sadly, this is true. Howl's Moving Castle is a bit more perplexing and a lot more mysterious than his other works. However, I still enjoyed this movie. It is definitely MUCH better than Steamboy (which came out earlier this year.) I actually was entertained through out Howl's Moving Castle even though some parts were unclear. Oddly, after a couple days, the movie made more sense.
The more you think about this movie; the more it makes sense. A lot of people complained that this movie wasn't very deep or had didn't have different metaphors like other Miyazaki movies. That is false. One quote from Diana Wynne Jones allowed me to figure out why in the world Sophie kept on changing without warning throughout the movie. I couldn't find the quote (sadness) but it described how Jones always wanted to convey how old people have the spirit of young people. The only limit is their own appearance and self image.
In the movie, Sophie doesn't think highly of herself. She even feels a little bit more comfortable in an old woman's body! Her transformations (young and old) during the movie reflected her self esteem or when she had a child like spirit and ideal. I believe Sophie never was dispelled of the witch's magic. Yup peeps, I thinks she is still an old woman at the end of the movie (that is why her hair is still gray.) She only looks young because she finally fell in love and truly accepted herself.
The prince and the scarecrow confused a lot of people. I think it was there for a twist and a later realization that "Turnip head" is a stalker lol.
Now Howl himself is quite mysterious. The sub-plot about him losing his heart is quite confusing, but could also be used as an excuse for another metaphor. Howl seems to have a common routine and no spice in his life. He's always running away and never takes care of anything, especially the castle. As soon as Sophie comes along, he begins to have situations like the hair fiasco to cause him to feel emotions. He begins to open his heart and allows Sophie to journey into his past. She discovers he has a heart that they can both share. Aww they fell in love lol. So in a roundabout way it makes sense.
Well that's how I perceived the movie. It was a beautiful and fun movie. A little bit hard to understand, but worth it in the end.