I just went to see Howl’s Moving Castle in theaters in Japan now. Being
a Studio Ghibli fan it was a must see in the theaters for me.
I will try to avoid any spoilers since I don’t believe in ruining the fun
beforehand. That’s like giving away The Sixth Sense. First off, if you
have read the novel
by Diana Wynne Jones, then the first thing you’ll notice is that there were
some changes between the movie and the original novel. Personally, I didn’t
think the changes were bad but the changes did bring up what I felt were
some inconsistencies in the overall flow of the story. Actually, that is
my main gripe with the film. The overall story flow felt a little stilted
as it jumped from one scene to the next and you were left wondering why
event X happened. I guess this stems from the fact that this story wasn’t
written by Miyazaki himself so he had to spend time loading the original
story into his mind and trying to figure out what made it on-screen and
what needed to be cut. If the story is your own work you would have
a much clearer picture of what would work translating it to the big
screen and what would not. And unfortunately, this shows in Howl’s. This
is a disappointment compared to watching Spirited Away or Laputa
which have a superb story flow progression.
However, having said that, the cinematography and artwork are exactly
what you would expect from Studio Ghibli film. Absolutely stunning. Watching
a Studio Ghibli film on the big screen is such a different experience from
watching it on a televion screen at home. The voice actors did a fine
job of conveying their characters. Kimura Takuya, a well known star in
Japan, lent his voice to Howl (I could barely tell it was his voice). I
can’t remember who else played what voice roles, I’m afraid.
Overall, I’d say this was worth going to the movie theater to see at
full admission but it’s still a little bit of a disappointment compared
to previous works by Miyazaki due to the inconsistent progression of
the story. I think adding another 30 minutes to add a scene here or
there would have made this a much better movie than it was. But I’m
glad I caught it.