Im an idiot for not seeing Hayao Miyazakis Howls Moving Castle when it was in theaters. Then again, maybe that was a smart move, as I found myself for the first time in years, weepy at the end of a movie twice. Which is funny, because at some point during the first viewing, I gave up altogether trying to figure out what was happening in the story. Nor did I understand the plot any better the second time around.And this is perhaps why Howls has the effect on me that it does. Too often we expect a plot to logically go from Point A to Point B and then yield the desired, carefully calculated, and expected result. And while Howls story is certainly frustrating and maddening to follow, there is something about the images that are so beautiful, so warm, so detailed with love and care, and so elemental that they render a gut reaction story is absolutely secondary.
For you literal types, though, here is the plot synopsis from the DVD jacket:”Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a spell on Sophie. In a life-changing adventure, Sophie climbs aboard Howls magnificent flying castle and enters a magical world on a quest to break the spell.
For those of you, like me, who didnt see this film on the big screen, you may find some consolation in the fact that the U.S. DVD release has some pretty nifty extras, most important of which, is the entire film told through Miyazakis storyboards with the movie soundtrack! Another plus is that the U.S. DVD includes the original Japanese audio track. Dont you dare watch this film with the English dub! I may have saved myself the embarrassment of being a big weepy mess in public, but Ill forever be kicking myself for not seeing this one in the theater. Dont miss it on DVD.
Read Silman review of Miyazaki and his films.