Friday, August 19, 2005

Howl's Moving Castle (Miyazaki, 2004)

Man, this film is all over the place. Alternatively breathtaking and (much to my surprise) outright boring. I'm not really sure how it benefitted the film for the plot to be so convoluted. I liked the set-up a bunch, with the initial spell cast early in the film, but by the end I didn't know who was fighting who for what reason and how any of this had anything to do with the heroine's quest. Was there any rhyme or reason to why she alternated from old age to youth and back again? Maybe I missed that. And how is it that they can create this fantastic detailed castle, but then Turnip Head looks like an internet smilie on a stick? I believe this is the first Miyazaki that I've seen with English dubbing and I don't think I ever want to do that again. If I want recognizable wise-guy actors, then I'll see a Pixar film. I've always liked that Miyazaki films were a kind of oasis from hammy, obnoxious voice-overs. I can tell that Billy Crystal was trying to dial it down a little, but he's Billy Crystal. He stands out like a sore thumb. That said, it does have a few wow moments and I liked the fact that it centered on a very unconventional heroine, but this is far short of something like Spirited Away.



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