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It had been a rough couple of days, and all my roommates were gone, so I curled up in my bed last night and watched Howl's Moving Castle.

I read the book seven years ago (oh god) and loved it, and I saw the movie in its theatrical release the following year and loved it, even though the book and the movie are drastically different beasts. Diana Wynne Jones' novel is sharp and spiky and needlessly complicated, whereas Hayao Miyazaki's movie is sweet and warm and -- let's be honest -- a little bit simple-minded. Also: bird-men.

I have read the book once. I have watched the movie many times.

Like The Royal Tenenbaums before it, Howl's Moving Castle is excellent comfort food for my soul, and for many of the same reasons. Baroquely intricate background details? Check! Eccentric-but-loving family unit? Check! Love story between an emotionally inert woman and her gentle, protective, unconditionally affectionate psuedo-brother? Checkcheckcheck.

Sophie's carefully defensive attitude of ancient weariness is made explicit when she is cursed to be an old woman, but I had forgotten about the fact that Howl suffers the opposite malady: his temper tantrums, his emo despair, his bedroom decorated by baby magpies, all mark him as a man who has been unable to grow up so long as he flees unpleasant responsibilities (and so long as Calcifer continues to burn on the heart of an impetuous child). What I like about Howl's Moving Castle is that it's a dual-action version of Beauty and the Beast, in which both Sophie and Howl have to save one another from facades arisen from insecurity and immaturity before their masks harden into actuality.

Also, Christian Bale as Howl is pretty great, amirite?

Date: 2011-10-24 03:42 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-10-25 02:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mutantkoala.livejournal.com
I love Calcifer! Man, he is totally the best character in the movie, and Billy Crystal is an inspired casting choice in the dub.

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