site search by freefind
MotorBar: 1200+ unique in-depth car reviews. Plus travel & destinations, and 1000 DVD and CD reviews. Online for 14 years. Written by experts.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl's Moving Castle“From the legendary Director of the
  fabulous Spirited Away comes the
  equally-delightful and stunningly-visual
  Studio Ghibli animé Howl’s Moving
  Castle
, a fascinating tale of wizards and
  witches, enchantment and romance
..
.”

DIRECTOR HAYAO MIYAZAKI adds to his successful and visually-spectacular tales of imagination with Howl's Moving Castle, a captivating and appealing animé adapted from the much-loved source novel by acclaimed children's author Dianne Wynne Jones.

In a town reminiscent of German Mediaeval villages in an indeterminate age when steam trains, steam cars and airships are all familiar sights, young milliner Sophie (voice of Emily Mortimer) works in the hat shop established by her late father.

Funny, witty,
intriguing and utterly
charming
...”
Her assistants watch from a window as Howl's moving castle comes into sight through the mist, a mismatched collection of iron and brick, the home of a wizard who has a reputation for preying on pretty girls.

It is a time of unrest and the town is full of soldiers and great tanks. The land is on the brink of war and the King (voice of Mark Silverman) has commanded all the witches and wizards should attend him at the Palace to attempt to avert the threatened hostilities.

As Sophie leaves the shop that night, she is accosted by two soldiers. A mysterious figure appears and rescues her, pretending to have been waiting for her. But he is being followed by menacing black shadows and whisks her away over the rooftops to the safety of her sister Lettie (voice of Jena Malone). This is no mere mortal, but the disturbing and flamboyant wizard Howl (voice of Christian Bale).

Later that night, an apparently well-heeled woman comes into the shop while Sophie is alone. But events turn sinister when she turns out to be the wicked Witch of the Waste (voice of Lauren Bacall), who is in love with Howl and angry that he has approached Sophie. She casts a spell that turns Sophie into an old woman (voice of Jean Simmons) and leaves.

Unable to face anyone as she now is, Sophie leaves the hat shop and heads out into the Wastelands in search of somewhere to stay. She rescues a friendly scarecrow (voice of Crispin Freeman), who leads her to Howl's Castle, where she offers her services as a cleaning woman to young Markl (voice of Josh Hutcherson). She befriends him and Howl's helper Calcifer (voice of Billy Crystal), a powerful demon who exists in the form of fire.

Sophie is accepted by Howl, who is tormented by his past, and she discovers that it is Calcifer who is responsible for making the castle move. Markl shows her that the front door is a portal that leads to other lands and dimensions and Howl is known by various names in these different places.

As Sophie becomes closer to Howl, her path once again leads her to The Witch of The Waste and she also meets the king's sorceress, Madame Suliman (voice of Blythe Danner), who may not be all she seems to be. Determined to find a way to reverse the witch's spell and help Howl to protect the land from war and destruction, Sophie bravely faces demons, witches, wizards and flying warship bombers. But will the war end and will Sophie find her way back to normality?

Howl's Moving Castle is a wonderful journey into the world of fantasy and is funny, witty, intriguing and utterly charming. Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary director who thrilled international audiences with Spirited Away, has created another visually-spectacular tale of imagination that's now available for the first time in stunning high-definition. Howl's Moving Castle was Academy Award nominated in 2006 for best Animated Feature.

From the novel Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, the Screenplay is by Director Hayao Miyazaki; Original Music is by Joe Hisaishi; Cinematography is by Atsushi Okui; Producers are: Rick Dempsey, Neg Lott and Toshio Suzuki.

Howl's Moving Castle is available on Blu-ray and Double Play and is released on 25 June 2012. Certificate: U | Feature Running Time: 119 Minutes Approximately | Catalogue Number: OPTBD0837 | RRP: £24.99.

Extras

Alternative Angle Storyboards | Interview With Author Diana Wynne Jones | Interview With Pixar's Peter Doctor (Monsters Inc) | Hello Mr Lasseter Featurette: Hayao Miyazaki Visits Pixar | Explanation of CG Featurette | The Sounds of Howl's Moving Castle Featurette (Brand New) | Behind The Microphone Featurette | Japanese Trailers and Television Spots | Studio Ghibli Trailer Reel.

"Howl's Moving Castle… Funny, witty, intriguing and utterly charming" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar


"Prepare to be dazzled: one of the finest animated films in years ****" — Total Film

"Brilliant. Miyazaki makes the most moving and inspiring animated films in the world ****" — Esquire