Movie Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

I first watched Howl’s Moving Castle on my most recent extended research trip and I thought it was pretty fascinating. When I found it while shopping on day, I decided it was a good movie to add to my own collection.

While I’ve been typing, the main screen is up on the tv and it keeps playing the same music over and over again. I think that’s going to be my absolute favorite part of this whole movie. Unlike every other movie that I’ve watched, I’m enjoying listening to the music, as it loops perfectly, and is a wonderful piece. I wonder if there are soundtracks out there with just the piano portions? I shall have to make note of that and do some research in the future.

I’m finding that I really do enjoy the Studio Ghibli movies, though I also find them to be somewhat melancholy. Howl’s Moving Castle deals a lot with war and how destructive it is to everyone, but most especially the random civilians. The movie gets to the part where they see one of the bombers flying nearby into the valley and Sophia asks which side they’re on and Howl asks if it matters. And that’s pretty much the entire concept of war right there. Governments send their soldiers to war and the citizens get caught in between. That’s not to say that there aren’t fully justified reasons to go to war, that’s just to say that sometimes the cost is inconsistent.

It is a bit creepy to me that Sophia goes straight into cooking and cleaning and being seen as a mother figure to Marco. I guess that’s a huge part of the cultural aspect of this movie and the societal norms that I see so often in the modern media. On the one hand, I do appreciate that the desire for community in any respect is deeply imbedded with most of the people I’ve met. On the other hand, I would like to hope that we are all looking for equal partners to share our lives with. I guess they do wind up being partners in some way, so it mostly works out.

I really enjoy this animation style. As much as I think the new animation style is fantastic, I think that sometimes I find more beauty in the old-school animation. I see the detail that goes into making signs and titles on books and small pictures scattered across Howl’s castle. I see how much love Sophia put into being a hat maker and it both inspired me and made me feel sad at the same time because I don’t often see people today who clearly love what they do. It feels like we’re all just making a paycheck and not really attempting to invest ourselves into our work. And that kind of makes me sad.

Overall, I’d say this movie is a three on my rating scale. I’m glad I own it and I’ll probably watch it multiple times in the years to come.

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About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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One Response to Movie Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

  1. Thanks for reminding me to finish all the Studio Ghibli films, and of how happy I am that I went to see this on a big screen. Also I’m sorry for insisting that everyone who loves them endure Pom Poko, a perfect example of a ‘Remember, non-Japanese person, these movies are not made for you.’ moment.

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