(2004) dir. Hayao Miyazaki
viewed: 06/17/05 at Loews Metreon Theatres, SF, CA
Hayao Miyazaki is one of the best things to happen to cinema. Not just animation, not just cel animation, but to cinema as a whole. He is a visionary auteur whose richly designed and developed fantasy worlds are utterly awesome and engrossing. His films are as good as feature animation gets and are so beautifully imagined and developed that it’s little wonder that Pixar trumpets his greatness. There is no working animator who comes close to his work.
The San Francisco Chronicle reveiwer said that this film feels like it comes from another age, but really, it attests to the timelessness of his fantasy world, the mixture of old Eurpoean landscapes and weirdly period setting. Howl’s Moving Castleis a fun adventure of a film, just fantastic.
It is not as good as Spirited Away(2001), but that film was likely his masterpiece. This film is excellent.
There are many classic creations at play, Calcifer the fire demon, Turnip Head the scarecrow, and the castle itself. The film is about a world of witches and wizards, of magic and transformation, the latter of which I believe is the core of animation. Though adapted from an English novel, Miyazaki takes the story and design and renders it as something wholly his own.
I honestly wish that everyone would see his films. I wish that I could take my son to see this, but I think it’s a bit scary for him.
Long live, Hayao Miyazaki, and may he make films until he is 200 years old.