Howl's Moving Castle is an animated film directed by the acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki, based off of a novel of the same name. Not being an expert of anime (my knowledge pretty much extends to Evangelion and Evangelion alone), I'm not sure how this fits into his filmography. From what I've read, this isn't one of his better films. I can't speak for this, as the only other Miyazaki film I've seen at the time of writing this is Spirited Away (also a great movie). But what I can speak for is that both Spirited and this film are some of the most beautifully nuanced and expressive animated works that I've ever seen.
|Oh Turniphead. How I love thee!|
Turniphead is ostensibly just a scarecrow with no lines of dialogue. But because of the way Miyazaki directs the film with deliberate breathing room for the characters to grow and express themselves, he becomes one of the most likable characters from just a few little moments of je ne sais quoi.
The story isn't the movie's strongsuit. It's a bit confusing, quite frankly, and the spectacle of the film along with the strength of the characters completely overtakes it. That's okay though, because the story isn't really what Miyazaki is all about. He's all about evoking emotion, be it dramatically (which this movie does quite well) or subtly (which it does even better). He has such mastery over his vision, there really is no other way this movie could have played out. Despite a minor problem with the rushed nature of the ending, I feel like this is one of the best animated works I've seen yet. And it's definitely a sign that I need to get into more of Miyazaki's works, because if this isn't one of the better ones, then I'm in for some truly fantastic stuff.