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May 26, 2006

Howl's Moving Castle - 6

Hayao Miyazaki, I'm just going to say it: "best animation director...ever." Walt Disney was merely a first step, Miyazaki has taken it to a whole new level (although it has been Disney that has helped distribute many Japanese anime in the US). This story is based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones, which means it is less like Miyazaki's previous works (Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky), but the animation is just as beautiful. The story is about a girl named Sophie who works in a hat shop and gets a spell put on her by the wicked witch of the waste. It turns her into an old woman. To try to break the spell she runs away from her home and gets picked up by Howl's moving castle. More like a moving pile of mechanical junk with a magical aura and run by a fire demon. Howl has magic and is trying to stop a war between two kingdoms. Sophie eventual finds away to end her curse by helping Howl break the spell on him. This film (and Miyazaki) has the amazing ability to transport the viewer to a different world, one far beyond a limited imagination. And for those of you who hate reading subtitles, this one has been voiced in English by the likes of Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal, and more.

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