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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Kinder, Gentler Movie Night

Carole, Soapy and I took in Studio Ghibli's new masterwork Howl's Moving Castle. As a long-time fan of Hayao Miyazaki's animation style, I can't believe it took me this long to see H'sMC. I'm glad I did, and on the big screen, because it is a joy. Grab the chance if you can. If you wait to rent it you'll kick yourself the whole time thinking, "OMG, I'm such a moron for ignoring Stave It Off's advice to see this on the big screen."

Despite some voice acting problems (including the always unwelcome presence of Billy Crystal,) the film was subtle, rich in complexity and character, and filled with fantastic imagery. Miyazaki's work trumps even the biggest budget Disney films in quality, imagination and ambition. H'sMC stands alongside other Studio Ghibli productions (just behind Princess Mononoke and Grave of the Fireflies, and just ahead of Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro) as some of the best animation ever made. They succeed because of production quality and the choice of script. Unlike Princess and Fireflies, H'sMC opts for a Western story... the adaptation of a fantasy novel by Diana Wynne Jones. But similar to earlier works, H'sMC is a deep fairy tale, full of multidimensional characters, terrifying and beautiful moments and strong imagery.

None of these films are designed for a child audience, or perhaps they are... but like Danny Boyle's recent film Millions, they refuse to patronize the audience. Thank God that far, far away from Uncle Walt's Bowdlerizing Plant, there are storytellers and filmmakers telling children's tales that are still terrifying, meaningful and moving. Hopefully Terry Gilliam's new Brother's Grimm project will carry that torch next. _Cinema



At 6/28/2005 08:40:00 PM, Blogger helioshamash said...

No worries there. We done got th' big screen right in th' bedroom. Wide screen 'n' HD 'n' a bag o' broken typewriter keys.

At 6/29/2005 03:39:00 PM, Blogger diane said...

I didn't even know about this film until I read this review, but based on your good words (and my appreciation of Miyazaki's past works) I will make a point of viewing it sometime soon. Thanks.

So what happened to Chia Hippo Watch?

At 7/03/2005 04:42:00 PM, Blogger Thister said...

Wow! I can't wait to see this film! I've watched and own most of Hayao Miyazaki's movies as I enjoy them. No doubt, from the review here, I'll enjoy this one just as much!


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