The Order of Ghiblis #06 - Howl's Moving Castle
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Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.
One of my favourites from "back in the day" I was interested to see where this one would land with the context of all the others now. Based on a British book from 1986 by Diana Wynne Jones, the story follows Sophie as she meets Howl, get's turned into an old lady, and then travels in his moving castle with a turnip headed scarecrow and a fire demon.
The animation is amazing for the year it came out, and the soundtrack is good. It has some genuinely great scenes, a lot of them involving Calcifer the fire demon who is definitely up there as one of Ghibli's best sidekick characters. But the plot is also not as strong compared to some of Ghibli's other stories.
Still a good watch and one of the best adaptation movies. The characters carry it for sure though, especially Calcifer who is amazing. The interweaving plot between Sophie and Howl is ok, he is pretty moody, but throw in the rest of the ensemble cast and it is way more interesting.
The overarching plot with the war is neither here nor there, with some of the later scenes dragging a bit, but overall a great movie that moves along well and is definitely worth a watch. The characters alone top it above Arrietty and Cat Returns, and then we thought overall it was a better and more enjoyable watch than Grave, however, it stops there as we still don't think that overall the story was a strong as Whisper, so it holds at Number 3!
NEW FULL ORDER
1. My Neighbour Totoro
2. Whisper of the Heart
3. [NEW] Howl's Moving Castle
4. Grave of the Fireflies
5. Cat Returns