Howl’s Moving Castle is a bit discombobulated, but charming and lovely.
I watched the first half with toddlers who were semi-attentive, watched the second half splitting a bottle of wine with my wife after said toddlers went to sleep.
This movie has a LOT going on, plus a lot of runtime, so I feel like it could have ditched or at least reduced a storyline (preferably the war I had no interest in). But overall, it was engaging and entrancing, if unfocused. (Like why did the movie not seem to care by the end about the obvious inciting conflict point of Sophie getting cursed?)
But, damn, so much of the animation here is beautiful and heart-swelling, and the family-like generosity to many of its characters is so affirming, that I loved the time I spent with it.
Right now, I’m feeling a bit mixed about it relative to other Miyazakis, but I feel like my final opinion won’t be secured until a second or third viewing.
Turnip-Head (pre-transformation) = one of animation’s greatest characters
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.