Feature

Howl’s Moving Castle

A fairy tale about war, wizards, and ripe old age

This 'œeerie, bewitching' animated film concerns a girl who becomes an 80-year-old woman, and is happier for it, said Carrie Rickey in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The dreamlike fantasy comes from the hand of Hayao Miyazaki, sometimes called Japan's Walt Disney. This 'œeye-popping, mind-bending phantasmagoria' doesn't always follow the rules of logic'”but no matter. It is a great fairy tale, in which bad things happen to unusual creatures, who persevere by maintaining their wit and honor. Pursued by soldiers, young Sophie is saved by the wizard Howl (voiced by Christian Bale). Jealous, the evil Witch of the Waste (voiced by Lauren Bacall) turns the girl into a crone. But Sophie finds old age has its pluses, including a salty sense of humor. She is 'œone of the more refreshing heroines in modern movies,' said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. The plot takes many more twists and turns: Sophie finds Howl in his shape-changing castle, and there's a war on. Violent battle scenes erupt, allowing Miyazaki to 'œvent his disgust at mankind's love of bloodshed.' The principal joy of this 'œmasterwork,' however, is to watch how the characters shift and grow against 'œfanciful, spectacular' backdrops, said Michael Wilmington in the Chicago Tribune. These serve as spectacles for all ages to get lost in.

Rating: PG

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