Film: Howl's Moving Castle - Livre d'Or








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livredor
Film: Howl's Moving Castle
Thursday, 06 October 2005 at 10:58 pm
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Reasons for watching it: I'm a huge fan of Diana Wynne Jones, and also the trailer impressed me.

Circumstances of watching it: My mother reminded me today that I'd been raving about the trailer last week, so I organized to go to the Picture House arts cinema with my cousin H this evening.

Verdict: Howl's Moving Castle can probably best be described as trippy.

I don't have anything very coherent to say about Howl's Moving Castle. Watching it felt like being dropped into the middle of somebody else's dream, somebody who has probably been reading the actual book recently, but also spending time looking at Heath Robinson drawings. That partly describes the relationship the film bears to the book, and it also describes the atmosphere; everything seemed to make sense on a local level, but none of it quite fit together when I stopped to think about it.

When the film came to an end both H and I burst out laughing because we realized that it had entirely failed to make sense. It was nevertheless an enjoyable experience watching it, but if I started to try thinking critically about it I just ran aground on "but it doesn't make sense!" It seemed best to just enjoy the action, and the random cool (and occasionally scary) stuff that kept happening for no very apparent reason, and just not expect any actual plot development or elucidation of what was going on.

The machines are very very cool, particularly the eponymous moving castle. To me, that element in itself made the film worth watching. And the landscapes are pretty in a slightly twee, overly brightly coloured kind of way. Just about every review I've seen of this has enthused over Calcifer; me, I liked Heen. He's just the platonic ideal of an old, short-legged dog, and his facial expressions and his running round manically in doggy circles are just gorgeous. I also really liked Mr Turnip Head, especially because the film is subtle enough not to animate him. His facial expression stays rigidly fixed, like a carved turnip, but he still manages to convey emotions and responses.

The film sometimes threatened to get a bit preachy on the theme of "Appearances don't matter, it's whether you're a good person", but never entirely tipped over that edge. The schmoopy romantic stuff at the end annoyed me rather, but that was really only the last five minutes.

Well, as my first ever introduction to anime, that was quite an experience. H tells me that a lot of anime is even more "whacked out" than this, but on the basis of this sample I'm ready to try more of this brand of weird.


Moooood: mellowmellow
Tuuuuune: music box-ish tinkly Japanese music
Discussion: 4 contributions | Contribute something
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fluffymark: default
From:fluffymark
Date:October 6th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
23 minutes after journal entry, 11:42 pm (fluffymark's time)
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If you want more anime, I'd strongly suggest you watch Spirited Away, another Studio Ghibli anime, and thought by most to be their best. And also The Cat Returns. I think you'll enjoy those a lot.
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livredor: teapot
From:livredor
Date:October 8th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
1 days after journal entry, 03:56 pm (livredor's time)
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Thank you, recommendations are always good, and they're especially good when I'm trying to break into an entirely new genre! I'll look out for those.
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draconid: default
From:draconid
Date:October 9th, 2005 07:21 am (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 08:21 am (draconid's time)
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I've only seen a few anime but Spirited Away is the one that got me wanting to see more. So I second that recommendation.

Of the few anime I've seen, though, Ghost in the Shell has to be my favourite and I'd recommend that too.
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blue_mai: default
From:blue_mai
Date:October 19th, 2005 08:35 pm (UTC)
12 days after journal entry, 09:35 pm (blue_mai's time)
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studio ghibli stuff is all pretty good, another miyazake (he who did howl's and spirited away) is princess mononoke, which i really like.
kind of classic legend type story. took my parents to see it at the cambridge arts cinema a few years ago, dont think they'd seen anything like it!
i have yet to see howl's and am looking forward to it. i can't remember the book at all, though i'm sure i read it as i think i once read all the DWJ stuff i could find...
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