Howl's Moving Castle (film)
|Howl's Moving Castle|
Japanese release poster
|Directed by||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Produced by||Toshio Suzuki|
|Screenplay by||Hayao Miyazaki|
|Based on||Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones
|Music by||Joe Hisaishi|
|Editing by||Takeshi Seyama|
|Distributed by||Toho (Japan)
Walt Disney Pictures (International)
|Running time||119 minutes|
|Box office||¥23.2 billion
Howl's Moving Castle (ハウルの動く城 Hauru no ugoku shiro ) is a 2004 Japanese animated fantasy film scripted and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is based on the novel of the same name by English writer Diana Wynne Jones. The film was produced by Toshio Suzuki, animated by Studio Ghibli and distributed by Toho. Mamoru Hosoda, director of one episode and two movies from the Digimon series, was originally selected to direct but abruptly left the project, leaving the then-retired Miyazaki to take up the director's role.
The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2004, and was released in Japanese theaters on November 20, 2004. It went on to gross $190 million in Japan and $235 million worldwide, making it one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history. The film was later dubbed into English by Pixar's Peter Docter and distributed in North America by Walt Disney Pictures. It received a limited release in the United States and Canada beginning June 10, 2005 and was released nationwide in Australia on September 22 and in the UK the following September. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006.
Wynne Jones's novel allows Miyazaki to combine a plucky young woman and a mother figure into a single character in the heroine, Sophie. She starts out as an 18-year-old hat maker, but then a witch's curse transforms her into a 90-year-old grey-haired woman. Sophie is horrified by the change at first. Nevertheless, she learns to embrace it as a liberation from anxiety, fear and self-consciousness. The change might be a blessed chance for adventure.
Sophie, a hatter, is a responsible 18-year-old girl who encounters a mysterious wizard named Howl while on her way to visit her younger sister. The Witch of the Waste, who pursues Howl, comes to the hat shop and curses Sophie by transforming her into an old woman. Seeking a cure for the curse, Sophie travels into the Wastes and finds a living scarecrow, who takes her to Howl's castle. Here, Sophie meets the fire demon Calcifer, the source of the castle's energy and power. Calcifer offers to break the curse in exchange for Sophie's help in breaking the spell he's under, which keeps Calcifer bound to the house. When Howl appears, Sophie announces that she is the castle's new cleaning lady, hired by Calcifer because he was sick of how dirty the castle was.
Currently, Sophie's country is caught up in the beginning of a war with its neighbor following the mysterious disappearance of the other realm's Crown Prince. Howl receives summons from the King, who orders his various assumed identities to fight in the war. However, Howl comes up with an idea to send Sophie, under the guise of being his mother, to the king to profess the cowardice of one of Howl's two aliases. At the palace, Sophie runs into an asthmatic dog, Heen, who she thinks is Howl undercover. She also meets the Witch of the Waste, who Suliman, the king's magic advisor, punishes by draining all of her power, causing her to regress into a harmless old woman. Suliman tells Sophie that Howl will meet the same fate if he does not contribute to the war. As Sophie vehemently protests these measures, the Witch's spell temporarily weakens due to the love in her words. Suliman realizes Sophie's true relation to Howl and her strong romantic feelings towards him. Howl then arrives to rescue Sophie, Suliman tries to entrap Howl, but with Sophie's help, they manage to escape.
Sophie learns that Howl transforms into a bird-like creature to interfere in the war, but each transformation makes it more difficult for him to return to human form. Sophie fears that Howl is preparing to leave them, as his remaining time as a human is limited, he returns to interfering in the war. Sophie's mother shows up and is actually under Suliman's control and leaves behind a bag containing a "peeping bug" under her orders. The former Witch of the Waste discovers it and promptly destroys the bug by tossing it into Calcifer. Unfortunately, Calcifer gets sick after eating the bug, rendering him unable to protect the castle from being discovered.
A few hours later, the city is carpet-bombed by enemy aircraft while Suliman's henchmen invade the flower shop Howl made for Sophie. After protecting the flower shop from the bombing, Howl draws the guards away just after healing Calcifer. He tells Sophie he is not going to run away anymore because he has something he wants to protect before leaving to interfere with the war. Deducing that Howl must be saved, Sophie moves everyone out of the castle and removes Calcifer from the fireplace, destroying the castle. She offers Calcifer a piece of her hair to strengthen him enough to power and energize a portion of the castle. They head toward Howl when the former Witch of the Waste discovers Howl's heart within Calcifer. The Witch takes the heart and refuses to let go of it although it is burning her. Sophie pours water onto The Witch of the Waste making Calcifer lose all his strength and power. The segment of the castle is split, and she and Heen fall down a chasm.
Making her way toward Howl's heart, Sophie enters through the door into the black region and discovers a recollection of how Howl and Calcifer meet: Howl eats Calcifer, who then gains his heart. Sophie finds Howl, having now lost his human consciousness in bird form. They head back to the group, and Sophie asks the Witch for Howl's heart. She gives it to her and Sophie places the heart back inside Howl, returning him to life, and freeing Calcifer. She kisses the scarecrow on the cheek as thanks, who reveals that he is actually the missing prince. Heen shows the scene of their happy end to Suliman, and the war is finally over. Howl, Sophie, and the others are seen high above the bomber planes returning home from the end of the war.
- Sophie is voiced by Chieko Baisho in Japanese and Emily Mortimer in English.
- Howl is voiced by Takuya Kimura in Japanese and Christian Bale in English.
- "Grandma Sophie" is voiced by Chieko Baisho in Japanese and Jean Simmons in English.
- Witch of the Waste is voiced by Akihiro Miwa in Japanese and Lauren Bacall in English.
- Calcifer is voiced by Tatsuya Gashūin in Japanese and Billy Crystal in English.
- Markl is voiced by Ryūnosuke Kamiki in Japanese and Josh Hutcherson in English.
- Madame Suliman is voiced by Haruko Katō in Japanese and Blythe Danner in English.
- Lettie is voiced by Yayoi Kazuki in Japanese and Jena Malone in English.
- Honey is voiced by Mayuno Yasokawa in Japanese and Mari Devon in English.
- Prince Justin/Turnip Head is voiced by Yō Ōizumi in Japanese and Crispin Freeman in English.
- The Minister of Defense is voiced by Akio Ōtsuka in Japanese and Mark Silverman in English.
- Heen the Dog is voiced by Daijirō Harada.
- Madge is voiced by Rio Kanno in Japanese and Liliana Mumy in English.
- The King is voiced by Mark Silverman.
- Kabuto is voiced by Tomoe Hanba.
Differences between film and novel 
Diana Wynne Jones did meet with representatives from Studio Ghibli but did not have any input or involvement in the production of the film. Miyazaki traveled to England in the summer of 2004 to give Jones a private viewing of the finished film. She has been quoted as saying:
It's fantastic. No, I have no input — I write books, not films. Yes, it will be different from the book — in fact it's likely to be very different, but that's as it should be. It will still be a fantastic film.
The film is very different from Jones's original novel. The plot is similar, but it is flavored with Miyazaki's familiar style and characters, as well as several missing or drastically altered key plot points from the book. The plot is still focused on Sophie and her adventure while cursed with old age; however, the main action of the film's story takes place during a war, and its plot is chiefly concerned with Howl's attempts to avoid fighting in it for pacifist reasons. This aspect of the film's plot is actually rooted in Miyazaki's political views as a pacifist — in an interview with Newsweek magazine, Miyazaki told the interviewer that the movie had started production "just as your country [the USA] had started the war against Iraq", and the subsequent rage he felt about the Iraq war "profoundly impacted" the film. The film is located in a fantastical nation somewhat reminiscent of pre-World War I Alsace. Many buildings in the town are identical to actual buildings in the Alsatian town of Colmar, which Miyazaki acknowledged as the inspiration for its setting.
In contrast, the novel is concerned with Howl's womanizing and his attempts to lift the curse upon himself (discovering later how his lethal predicament is entangled with the fates of a lost wizard and prince) as well as running from the incredibly powerful and beautiful Witch of the Waste, who is the story's main villain and not at all the ugly, yet harmless, character she plays on screen. Another noteworthy difference is that Sophie, in the book, is herself an unwitting sorceress totally unaware of her power, with the ability to "talk life into things" like the hats she makes and her own walking stick; objects take on a life of their own the more attention Sophie gives to them.
The book detours for one chapter into 20th-century Wales, where Howl is known as Howell Jenkins and has a sister with children. This glimpse into Howl's complicated past is not shown in the film, but one of Howl's aliases is "The Great Wizard Jenkins".
In addition, Sophie has two sisters in the book, Lettie and Martha, not just one. Markl is called Michael in the book, is 15, and is in love with Sophie's youngest sister, Martha (Howl courts Lettie for a while). Suliman is actually a man from Wales whose real name is Ben Sullivan, not a woman as portrayed in the movie. The film conflates this Suliman, a powerful wizard in his own right who has gone missing after a confrontation with the Witch of the Waste, with Mrs. Penstemmon, the Professor who taught Howl sorcery and gives Sophie clues as to how to free Calcifer and Howl from their contract. Neither is an enemy of the heroine in the book. Besides Martha, several other characters were left out.
The soundtrack CD was first released on November 19, 2004 by Tokuma. Artist Joe Hisaishi also composed and conducted a Howl's Moving Castle: Symphony Suite, an album published on January 21, 2004 which includes ten re-arranged pieces from the original soundtrack. He and Youmi Kimura also composed Howl's Moving Castle CD Maxi-Single, a CD single published on October 27, 2004 which includes the film's theme song, sung by Chieko Baisho (the Japanese voice actor for Sophie), its karaoke version, and a piano version of the film's main theme, "The Merry-Go-Round of Life".
- Original Soundtrack
|1||Opening: The Merry-Go-Round of Life (-オープニング- 人生のメリーゴーランド -Opening- Jinsei no Merry-go-round )||Joe Hisaishi||2:34|
|2||The Courageous Cavalry (陽気な軽騎兵 Yōki na Keikihei )||0:51|
|3||Stroll Through the Sky (空中散歩 Kūchū Sanpo )||2:15|
|4||The Heart Aflutter (ときめき Tokimeki )||0:20|
|5||The Witch of the Waste (荒地の魔女 Arechi no Majo )||0:59|
|6||Wandering Sophie (さすらいのソフィー Sasurai no Sofī )||4:20|
|7||The Magical Door (魔法の扉 Mahō no Tobira )||5:27|
|8||The Indelible Curse (消えない呪い Kienai Noroi )||0:45|
|9||Spring Cleaning (大掃除 Ōsōji )||1:22|
|10||To Star Lake (星の湖 へ Hoshi no Umi he )||4:13|
|11||Quiet Feelings (静かな想い Shizuka na Omoi )||0:28|
|12||In the Rain (雨の中で Ame no Naka de )||1:28|
|13||Vanity and Friendship (虚栄と友情 Kyoei to Yūjō )||3:58|
|14||A 90-Year-Old Young Girl (90歳の少女 90-sai no Shōjo )||1:01|
|15||Suliman's Magic Square: Return to the Castle (サリマンの魔法陣 城への帰還 Suliman no Mahōjin ~Shiro he no Kikan )||5:23|
|16||The Secret Cave (秘密の洞穴 Himitsu no Dōkutsu )||2:34|
|17||Moving (引越し Hikkoshi )||3:05|
|18||The Flower Garden (花園 Hanazono )||2:58|
|19||Run! (走れ！ Hashire! )||0:57|
|20||Now That's Love (恋だね Koi da ne )||1:12|
|21||Family (ファミリー Famirī )||1:24|
|22||Love of War (戦火の恋 Senka no Koi )||2:56|
|23||Escape (脱出 Dasshutsu )||1:33|
|24||Sophie's Castle (ソフィーの城 Sophie no Shiro )||2:39|
|25||The Boy Who Drank Stars (星をのんだ少年 Hoshi wo Nonda Shōnen )||7:30|
|26||Ending: The Promise of the World: The Merry-Go-Round of Life (-エンディング- 世界の約束 人生のメリーゴーランド -Ending- Sekai no Yakusoku ~Jinsei no Merī-gō-rando )||Youmi Kimura, Joe Hisaishi||6:51|
- Image Album
|1||Mysterious World (ミステリアス・ワールド)||Joe Hisaishi (久石譲)||5:04|
|2||The Wizard of the Moving Castle (動く城の魔法使い Ugoku shiro no mahoutsukai )||5:56|
|3||Sophie's Tomorrow (ソフィーの明日 Sophie no ashita )||5:10|
|5||Moving Castle (動く城 Ugoku shiro )||3:56|
|6||War War War (ウォー・ウォー・ウォー)||4:47|
|7||Wizard's Waltz (魔法使いのワルツ Mahoutsukai no Waltz )||5:39|
|8||Secret Garden ( シークレット・ガーデン)||3:24|
|9||The Allure of Dawn (暁の誘惑 Akatsuki no Yuuwaku )||5:15|
|10||Cave of Mind ( ケイヴ・オブ・マインド)||5:48|
- CD Maxi-Single
|1||The Promise of the World (theme song) (世界の約束 (主題歌) Sekai no Yakusoku )||Chieko Baisho (倍賞 千恵子)||4:23|
|2||The Merry-go-round of Life (instrumental) (人生のメリーゴーランド (インストゥルメンタル) Jinsei no Merry-go-round )||Joe Hisaishi (久石譲)||3:29|
|3||The Promise of the World (original karaoke) (世界の約束 (オリジナル・カラオケ) Sekai no Yakusoku )||Youmi Kimura (木村 弓)||4:20|
Howl's Moving Castle received mostly positive reviews. As of August 2011, review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 86% of critics gave positive reviews, based on 148 reviews, certifying it "Fresh". USA Today critic Claudia Puig praised it for its ability to blend "a childlike sense of wonder with sophisticated emotions and motives" while Richard Roeper called it an "insanely creative work". Other critics described it as "a visual wonder", "A gorgeous life-affirming piece", and "an animated tour de force." Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, gave it two and a half out of four stars, and felt that it was one of Miyazaki's "weakest" films. The movie also holds a 8.1/10 on imdb.
Top ten lists 
|"There's a word for the kind of comic, dramatic, romantic, transporting visions Miyazaki achieves in Howl's: bliss."|
|—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone|
The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2005.
- 2nd – Ella Taylor LA Weekly (tie)
- 4th – Kenneth Turan Los Angeles Times
- 5th – Tasha Robinson The Onion
- 6th – Lawrence Toppman, The Charlotte Observer
- 6th – Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader (tie)
- 8th – Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun
- 8th – Michael Wilmington The Chicago Tribune
- NA – Peter Rainer The Christian Science Monitor (Listed alphabetically)
- Osella Awards for Technical Achievement; 61st Venice Film Festival
- Best Japanese Movie Overall; 2004 Mainichi Film Awards
- Excellence Prize, Animation; 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival
- Animation of the Year; 2005 Tokyo International Anime Fair
- Best Director (Hayao Miyazaki); 2005 Tokyo Anime Awards
- Best Voice Actor/Actress (Chieko Baisho); 2005 Tokyo Anime Awards
- Best Music (Joe Hisaishi); 2005 Tokyo Anime Awards
- Audience Award; 2005 Maui Film Festival
- 1st Runner Up, Golden Space Needle Award; 2005 Seattle International Film Festival
- Nomination, Best Animated Feature; 78th Academy Awards
- "All-Time Worldwide Box office". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
- A. O. Scott. "Howl's Moving Castle (2004)". NYT.
- "FAQ / Howl's Moving Castle". The Hayao Miyazaki Web. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- Devin Gordon (2005). "A 'Positive Pessimist'". The Hayao Miyazaki Web. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki by Dani Cavallaro; Publisher: McFarland & Company (January 24, 2006); Page 168; ISBN 978-0-7864-2369-9
- "Howl's Moving Castle" (Book)
- "Howl's Moving Castle Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
- Travers, Peter (June 9, 2005). "Howl's Moving Castle". Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- Appelo, Tim. "The Making of 'Rango': Gore Verbinski's Risky Ride Into Animation". The Hollywood Reporter.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Howl's Moving Castle (film)|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Howl's Moving Castle|
- Studio Ghibli Official Page in Japan (Japanese)
- Howl's Moving Castle Official Page in USA
- Howl's Moving Castle at the Internet Movie Database
- Hauru no ugoku shiro at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Howl's Moving Castle at Rotten Tomatoes
- Howl's Moving Castle at FilmAffinity
- Hauru no ugoku shiro [Howl's Moving Castle] at AllRovi
- Howl's Moving Castle (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Howl's Moving Castle at Nausicaa.net
- "ハウルの動く城 (Hauru no ugoku shiro)" (in Japanese). Japanese Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-07-21.