June 11, 2005

Howl’s Moving Castle

Posted in movie review, reading at 8:35 am by riseyp

Last night at the Kabuki Theatre in SF's Japantown, J and I saw Howl's Moving Castle with our friends Mike and Trish (fellow huge fans of Hayao Miyazaki). For those unfamiliar with Miyazaki, he co-founded Japanese anime Studio Ghibli and directed Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Graveyard of the Fireflies, Kiki's Delivery Service, etc.

Apparently it was a preview showing as the film hasn't been officially released yet; if that is indeed true, then I am a bigger geek than I originally thought! (Though this is usually the case, I don't know why it surprises me any more…)

As expected, the film was spectacular visually; the hand-painted backgrounds just keep getting more and more impressive. It was full of strange and wonderful characters, plenty of humor, silly and surreal. However, it is not the near-masterpiece that Spirited Away was.

J read a review last night that blamed the movie's shortcomings on the fact that the story was adapted from a 2001 children's fantasy novel, rather than from Miyazaki's own imagination. Mike said he thought it felt a bit too "Hollywood" — a point I agree with more and more as I think about it.

But J and I both agreed to see it at least one more time in the theatre, and of course we'll buy it as soon as it comes out on DVD. For eye-candy junkies, it's certainly worth seeing multiple times. We're also going to buy the book, which fits right in with my reading habits lately (having just finished all the Lemony Snicket books.)

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