I just realized that this is the first animation film I'll be reviewing, to think that I have watched a lot of those . The Lion King was my absolute favorite as a kid after all . But I'll be talking about an Anime film , which is a very different genre from a disney film.
Howl is a fantasy anime film , set in what I would refer to as a steam punk type of world, with magic of course. The story is not really japanese , it is based of a novel written by a British author . Which explains the very Victorian look of the setting. It tells the story of a young girl who accidentally meets a wizard and not the old wizened type , but a young handsome wizard named Howl. She gets embroiled in a short chase with strange shadow shape shifting type of creatures who were following Howl. He leads them away from her , and she goes on with her normal routine. But when she gets back to her store , she is confronted by the witch of the waste who as it turns out are the masters of this creatures . She is cursed to old age and to not have the power to speak about that curse . The witch then leaves her to her plight . Not knowing what to do , she leaves the next day in search of a solution to her problem and winds up inside the strange moving castle of Howl and this is where her actual journey begins .
This movie is brilliant , the plot and the strange twists in the story is enough to keep you on your seat . The animation is beautifully done , in this day and age where we are so used to Pixar type of rendering, this I have to say may actually be even more visually appealing than that. All the characters are well fleshed out, and defined . The characters don't really need to belt out into a song or depend on humor to get the movie going . Something that does not happen in western animated films . And you really have no idea where the story is going , there is no foreshadowing or a lead on . Which makes it even better . This is generally a great film, within and outside the genre of animation.
Watch Trailer Here
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Cast Japanese /English Dub
Sophie (young)... Chieko Baisho /Emily Mortimer
Sophie (old)... Chieko Baisho /Jean Simmons
Howl... Takuya Kimura /Christian Bale
Witch of the Waste... Akihiro Miwa /Lauren Bacall
Calcifer... Tatsuya Gashūin /Billy Crystal
Markl... Ryūnosuke Kamiki /Josh Hutcherson
Madame Suliman... Haruko Katō /Blythe Danner
Lettie... Yayoi Kazuki /Jena Malone
Honey... Mayuno Yasokawa /Mari Devon