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Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Jean Simmons , Christian Bale , Hayao Miyazaki  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (751 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, Billy Crystal
  • Directors: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Writers: From The Novel By Diana Wynne Jones, Screenplay By Hayao Miyazaki
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (751 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CDGVOE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,989 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Howl's Moving Castle" on IMDb

Special Features

Behind The Microphone

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Like a dream, Howl's Moving Castle carries audiences to vistas beyond their imaginations where they experience excitement, adventure, terror, humor, and romance. With domestic box office receipts of over $210 million, Howl passed Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke to become the #3 film in Japanese history, behind his Spirited Away and James Cameron's Titanic. Based on a juvenile novel by Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle marks the first time Miyazaki has adapted another writer's work since Kiki's Delivery Service (1989). Sophie, a 19-year-old girl who believes she is plain, has resigned herself to a drab life in her family's hat shop--until the Witch of the Waste transforms her into a 90-year-old woman. In her aged guise, Sophie searches for a way to break the Witch's spell and finds unexpected adventures. Like Chihiro, the heroine of Spirited Away, Sophie discovers her hidden potential in a magical environment--the castle of the title. Using CG, Miyazaki creates a ramshackle structure that looks like it might disintegrate at any moment. Sophie's honesty and determination win her some valuable new friends: Markl, Howl's young apprentice; a jaunty scarecrow; Calcifer, a temperamental fire demon; and Heen, a hilarious, wheezing dog. She wins the heart of the dashing, irresponsible wizard Howl, and brings an end an unnecessary and destructive war. The film overflows with eclipsing visuals that range from frightening aerial battles to serene landscapes, and few recent features--animated or live action--offer as much magic as Howl's Moving Castle. --Charles Solomon

The Many Worlds of Hayao Miyazaki

The works of Miyazaki

The Book

The Art of Howls' Moving Castle (book)

Stills from Howl's Moving Castle (click for larger image)







Product Description

In Hayao Miyazaki's latest animated masterpiece, journey beyond imagination and enter a "breathtaking fantasy world" (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times) filled with adventure, humor and heart. Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a spell on Sophie. In a life-changing adventure, Sophie climbs aboard Howl's magnificent flying castle and enters a magical world on a quest to break the spell. Featuring the voice talents of Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, and Billy Crystal, Miyazaki's artistry comes to life on DVD with inventive characters, unique storytelling and richly detailed animation.~(c) 2004 Nibariki - GNDDDT

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
292 of 309 people found the following review helpful
(In fact 4.5 Stars) Though 'Howl's Moving Castle' ('Hauru-no Ugoku Shiro') may not be Miyazaki's best film, it is still far more enjoyable than many other films, Japanese or American, animated or not. I for one very much enjoyed watching it, and I love the film for its interesting characters and the rich textures of the designs, especially the fantasy world itself where witchcraft and humans' mundane works can be seen side by side. And the titular six-legged castle that really walks among the wilderness is something you never see except in his films.

Miyazaki's new film is based on a book of the same title written by Diana Wynne Jones. The film's story is told from the viewpoint of a 18-year-old girl Sophie, who is working at a milliner's shop every day. But she can hear the sound of bloody battles from the distance, and it is clear that this beautiful country, where witches and wizards live among humans, is going to see another war sooner or later.

But apparently Sophie is still leading an ordianary life until her uneventful routine days are suddenly broken by one accidental meeting with wicked 'Witch of the Waste,' who turns her into an old woman with a curse. Seeking for her place to live, Sophie goes to the wilderness where, the townspeople say, a young wizard named Howl wanders. In fact, Sophie encounters Howl's Moving Castle in the foggy moutainside, and she decides to hop in. There, forbidden to talk about her curse, she starts a new life with young and handsome Howl, who speaks to her kindly like a prince, but at times acts like a spoiled child.

[MIYAZAKI'S LOVE STORY] You will be impressed with many fantastic and colorful images created by Miyazaki.
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201 of 216 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real "Howl" July 9, 2005
Verified Purchase
Not a lot of directors would be brave enough to take on a love story between a girl-turned-old-lady and a wizard missing a vital organ. But Oscar-winning Hayao Miyazaki tackles a new fantasy realm in in "Howl's Moving Castle" -- namely, that of fantasy dowager Diana Wynne Jones.

Sophie (Emily Mortimer) is a plain, unhappy young woman working in a milliner's shop -- lightened only slightly by a mysterious wizard who rescues her one day. But then the evil Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall) comes into the shop, and casts a spell on her, turning her into an ancient old lady (Jean Simmons). Sophie ends up wandering into the Moving Castle, a chicken-legged chaos machine, and encountering the sexy if childish wizard Howl (Christian Bale), smart-aleck fire demon Calcifur (Billy Crystal), and preteen apprentice Markl (Josh Hutcherson).

Sophie appoints herself the cleaning lady and starts whipping the castle into shape, trying to deal with Howl's temper tantrums and the war brewing all around them, and trying to cure her peculiar curse. But when she runs an errand to a castle in Howl's place, she finds that her new boss has some sinister problems of his own -- including his missing heart, and impending transformation into a monster.

Don't expect much fidelity to the novel; Miyazaki takes plenty of liberties with the story. As a result, it feels more like his story than Jones', with all the earmarks he usually has -- blobby monsters, colorful rural settings, intense anti-war messages, strange machines, and a Jules-Verne atmosphere of Victorian technology. But "Howl's Moving Castle" is very different from the others Miyazaki has done, since he kept the British flavour of the original book.
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98 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trying to decode the story ... February 5, 2006
By Ken
Format:DVD
Probably many people find the story confusing. I felt the same thing when I saw it in the theater for the first time! The story seemed arbitrary and I couldn't connect the pieces together. But when I watch it again on the DVD, I realize the movie is probably about one thing: personal freedom.

Howl is a free person. He doesn't has a heart and even his home (which is usually characterized as a stable point in one's life) can move :-) He is disguised as different wizards in different counties, and when Sophie asks him how many identities he has, he said "Enough to guarantee my freedom". When Sophie confronts Suliman, she comments Howl as "selfish and cowardly and unpredictable, but he's straight as an arrow. He only wants to be free." But in Miyazaki's world, nothing is black and white. According to Suliman, Howl's power is too great for a person without heart, and he will eventually becomes a monster (some political figures come to my mind).

Sophie, on the other hand, is bounded by responsibilities. She is young, but her heart is old. She refuses the invitation from her friends and keep working at the hat shop. When her sister asks her "Are you going to spend your life in that shop?" She replies "It meant so much to papa. Besides, I'm the eldest.". Even her sister asks her to "look out for yourself".

When Sophie is turned to an old lady, it actually set her free because the good thing of being old is that one has "so little to lose" She becomes more adventurous and takes control of her life. She is very assertive as being the cleaning lady in Howl's castle and even tames Calcifer to cook her food. For Howl, his turning point comes when he refuses to move his castle anymore (I'll leave it to the reader as why he does that) By the end of movie, he regains his heart.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars just love the movie
this is the 2nd time i bought this movie because i lost the first one. just love the movie
Published 16 hours ago by christine gutierrez
5.0 out of 5 stars A++ service
More of the same Wonderful movie!! Great Service!!
Published 1 day ago by Darcy Sanchez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is my favorite anime movie of all time!
Published 4 days ago by Nancy L. Toole
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and touching
I love this movie a lot. It's beautiful, touching, and has a great message. I love all the Studio Ghibli movies, and this one did not disappoint. Read more
Published 6 days ago by crysta
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film.
Howl's Moving Castle is truly one of my favorite movies in the world. However, let me get one thing straight: it is nothing like the book. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT condition.
This was a replacement for our dvd of Howl's moving castle. EXCELLENT condition. Thanks
Published 11 days ago by Suzy E Van Hien-Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars This english dubed version is amazing.
You wouldn't even think it was first made in Japanese. This english dubed version is amazing.
Published 13 days ago by c
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful movie. Came earlier than expected
Published 14 days ago by Brianne Redfern
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best Mayazaki film I've ever seen so far
Published 17 days ago by D-Goods
5.0 out of 5 stars my kids and I loved the movie from the TV and knew we wanted ...
my kids and I loved the movie from the TV and knew we wanted it in our collection of movies
Published 18 days ago by Dainty Dee
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A Wonderful Movie
The music had me from the start. One thing about Studio Ghibli's films that I find particularly attractive are their respective scores. Merry-Go-Round of Life is a great overlying theme ; I like it almost as much as Day of the River from Spirited Away. There's a bit going on with the plot; I... Read More
Aug 31, 2008 by M. King |  See all 2 posts
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