Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.
On May 21st 2013, Disney and Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle arrived in stores in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for the first time. My 5-year-old is a huge fan of My Neighbor Totoro and I strongly suspected she would love this movie too.
Howl’s Moving Castle, adapted from the novel written by English author Diana Wynne Jones, is a fairy tale-like story about a young girl named Sophie who is placed under a curse by a jealous witch. After her youth is taken away from her, Sophie sets out from home to begin a new life. She finds herself in Howl’s castle as his housekeeper and falls in love with him. Howl himself is under a spell as well, and only Sophie break it.
Howl’s Moving Castle was my introduction to Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli films, and when I saw it many years ago it didn’t resonate with me and didn’t inspire me to see any other Studio Ghibli films. I tend to prefer film story lines that aren’t so open to interpretation, but after watching this film again with some friends and getting their opinion about it, I began to see it differently. There is a more straight forward story in this film, but in order to understand it, you must watch it and listen to the dialogue very carefully. I’ve watched it once more since the movie night with my friends and I think I am finally beginning to understand more about the story and the characters.
My daughter joined me while I was watching Howl’s Moving Castle for the second time since having it on Blu-ray, and I was amazed at how well she understood the story. I was also a bit envious; she accepts the oddities of the characters and the situations, whereas I tend to analyze everything and want to know motivations for each character. The story unfolds slowly (though there is never a dull moment), but once the last scene takes place, everything begins to make sense.
I’m glad I decided to take another chance on Howl’s Moving Castle. I never expected I’d ever watch another Miyazaki film, but it was actually The Secret World of Arrietty which got me excited about Studio Ghibli and has inspired me to check out all of the studio’s previous films.
- Original Japanese Storyboards Check out the original concept drawings for the film
- Original Japanese TV Spots and Trailers See how the film was advertised in Japan
- Behind the Microphone Directors and producers talk about the voice work in the studio, and footage is shown of Christian Bale, Josh Hutchinson, and Emily Mortimer in the recording booth.
- Interview with Pixar Animation Studios Director Pete Docter
- Hello Mr. Lasseter: Hayao Miyazaki Visits Pixar Animation Studios