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Howl's Moving Castle

I've had the DVD for ages, but I just got round to watching Howl's Moving Castle tonight.

I watched the dubbed version, because I couldn't figure out if my DVD had the original Japanese track on it, far less how to get at it. Edit: Because I'm an idiot. There's a blatantly obvious "Setup" option on the main menu.

It's a Ghibli production, so naturally it looks beautiful. The animation and the colouring are stunning. The music is perfect, too. As for the rest...

Thing is, I suspect I'd have loved it if the book hadn't been one of my favourite books for 20 years, or, maybe, if they'd stayed more faithful to the book. But not only was the plot changed wildly, the characters were too. I adore Howl and Sophie and Michael and Calcifer - who are these imposters?! There were bits and pieces of the original characters, taken directly from the book, but they were very different most of the time. (And the name change from Michael to Markl - huh?) The whole tone was changed, and while there's a minute sprinkling of romance in the book, the film was chock full of sentimentalism.

I found it quite hard to figure out what was going on, but that was just because if they used a bit from the book, I expected them to follow it up in the same way, and 90% of the time they didn't. I'll watch it again sometime soon and try to put the book completely out of my mind, because I suspect it is actually a great film, which I'm complaining about for basically spurious reasons. But I missed my Howl a lot.

Conclusion: good film, but if you liked it, buy the book immediately, for it rocketh supremely.



( 8 comments — Comment )
Apr. 13th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
It is a great film :) I feel very lucky that I read the book AFTER, because it was so different, and I get to love them both without having expected something out of the movie. The movie was very much influenced by the kind of themes Miyazaki often puts into his films.

This is unusual for me, but I really enjoyed the dub a lot more than the sub. The woman who voiced Sophie in the Japanese did both her young and old voices, and she sounded... like an old woman trying to sound like a young girl O_o Also, the actor who played Howl is a music celebrity or something, and I don't think he did that wonderful of a job. I'm usually SUCH a sucker for the Japanese voices, but I think the English dub actors did a wonderful job :)

Edited at 2008-04-13 11:48 pm (UTC)
Apr. 13th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, I haven't watched that many Miyazaki films yet (I do have a box set somewhere!) but there were similarities even between that and Spirited Away.

The dub had really good actors, for once - Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall and Billy Crystal is quite an impressive line-up!
Apr. 14th, 2008 01:08 am (UTC)
Yeah, I loved all of their performances ^_^
Apr. 14th, 2008 09:00 am (UTC)
iirc the guys from Pixar did the dub, which goes some way to explaining how well it it was done.

I got the film for christmas and watched it with a roomfull of stuff happening. I really must watch it again and pay more attention this time. It was wonderful though, so I'll have to go get the book.

There's an interview with DWJ on the 2nd disc, I think.
Apr. 18th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
I watched the DWJ interview *loves*

I thought she was being quite polite - she adored the animation and so on, and said so at length, and then talked about how the characters had changed but didn't give her opinion on the matter :D
Apr. 14th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
Loved the book! Need to see movie.
Apr. 14th, 2008 06:49 am (UTC)
Movie good, book fantastic :)

Or at least, that's *my* take on it! :-)
Apr. 14th, 2008 08:05 am (UTC)
I loved the film, and will read the book when I get a chance :->
( 8 comments — Comment )


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