This review has been long awaiting post. I originally did this review after the film came out in English. However, I’ve done some editing based on new opinions and watching it many more times. I believe it’s a must to watch a Studio Ghibli film at least twice before reviewing it; you’ll get a much better opinion that way (especially if you grew up on them). I’ll try my best to not be bias seeing as this is one of my favorite movies.
Studio Ghibli films leave an everlasting impression. You fall in love. Howl’s Moving Castle certainly is no exception. This is a movie you will want to watch over and over again. When times are rough, you’ll watch it to escape into this world of witches and wizards.
Sophie (pictured above) is a girl who works at a hat shop that was owned by her father. She’s very ordinary in appearance compared to her beautiful sister and their mother. When Howl, a wizard with a bad reputation, saves her from a couple of indecent soldiers on her way to see her sister, she is thrown into a feud between Howl and The Witch of the Wastes. The Witch then casts a spell on Sophie making her very old. Sophie’s only option is to leave. She travels out into the Wastes and ends up taking refuge in Howl’s Moving Castle as a cleaning lady. She has to find a way out of the curse while also dealing with a war going on in the world around her. She makes a deal with the fire demon, Calcifer, that if she helps him with the curse holding him to Howl, then he will help her out of her’s.
Not only do you fall in love with the story, but you fall in love with the characters. Each character is so different. Most of the time I hate the main girl characters because they’re usually so frail and ignorant, but Sophie is courageous, mature, and kind. Howl (left) is a handsome wizard with a bad reputation for eating the hearts of lovely girls, but he’s really a kind and loving person. You’ll love the other characters, too, like Calcifer (right), the fire demon, & Markl, Howl’s young apprentice. Calcifer is your main comic relief as Sophie is constantly torturing him.
Usually, I have at least a couple problems with any anime, but with Howl’s Moving Castle and any other Studio Ghibli film, I have none. Correction, I do have one problem…it ends. Even the voices for the English version are fantastic. I’m not a Christian Bale fan at all, but he was perfect for Howl. And as with all the films, the artwork is exceptional.
Ultimately I can say nothing bad about this movie. I may be a Studio Ghibli fan who was raised on Totoro, but I can honestly say that there’s nothing bad about this movie. Watch it!!!
Overall: 10 out of 10