Premiere - 06/01/2005
"[S]tunningly beautiful and strangely moving....Miyazaki has a very good handle on it and lavishes his customary heart, humor, and inventiveness on every situation he depicts."
New York Times - 06/10/2005
"Admirers of his work, which is wildly imaginative, emotionally intense and surpassingly gentle, will find much to appreciate in this film because it demonstrates, once again, his visual ingenuity and his sensitivity as a storyteller."
USA Today - 06/10/2005
"Clever and often enchanting....This movie often soars, blending a childlike sense of wonder with sophisticated emotions and motives."
Los Angeles Times - 06/10/2005
"[Miyazaki has a] gift for wonder, an ease with fantasy that makes enchantment second nature..."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/17/2005
"As HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE makes ravishingly clear, coming into one's own is the most heroic -- and magical -- experience of all."
Uncut - 10/01/2005
"[T]his is subtle, profound and ravishing; once again, Miyazaki brings an original sense of wonder to cinema."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2005
"The riches of nature are present, correct and ravishing....HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE serves as an index of Miyazaki motifs..."
Rolling Stone - 03/23/2006 3 stars out of 4 -- "[T]his Oscar-nominated Japanese animation wanders into seriously trippy territory....Relentlessly imaginative..."
Uncut - 05/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "Tremendously imaginative and charming."
A.V. Club - 05/22/2013
"[T]he visuals are breathtaking, especially when Miyazaki takes to the air..."
Acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki adapts British writer Diana Wynne Jones's popular fantasy tale for this animated feature, adding his own unique and celebrated dreamlike spin. A young hat-maker named Sophie (voiced by Emily Mortimer) is turned into an old woman by the dreaded Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall) when she attracts the notice of Howl (Christian Bale), a young wizard whom the witch desires for herself. As the old woman, (voiced by Jean Simmons), Sophie finds refuge as a cleaning lady in Howl's magical castle, an impressively realized mishmash of anthropomorphic shafts and gears, where she meets, among other wonders, a cantankerous fire demon named Calcifer (Billy Crystal). Howl's courage inspires her to seek a cure for her curse, and vice versa, and the two work together to prevent a major war as the castle roams the countryside on its mechanical legs. There's lots of magic afoot as well, including travel through barriers of space and time, and shape-shifting, requiring full viewer attention to keep track of who, where, and when, but this how dreams really are and the film engages on that same subconscious level. As with Miyazaki's previous work (SPIRITED AWAY, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE), the emphasis here is on creating a beautiful alternate reality, where anything can happen, and every frame is a breathtaking work of art. See it on the big screen if the chance presents itself; the elaborate intricacies and patiently realized alternate realities of Miyazaki's work makes him a true treasure.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment:
Howl's Moving Castle
In Hayao Miyazaki's latest animated masterpiece, journey beyond imagination and enter a "breathtaking fantasy world" (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times) filled with adventure, humor and heart. Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a spell on Sophie. In a life-changing adventure, Sophie climbs aboard Howl's magnificent flying castle and enters a magical world on a quest to break the spell. Featuring the voice talents of Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, and Billy Crystal, Miyazaki's artistry comes to life on DVD with inventive characters, unique storytelling and richly detailed animation.
Animated Worlds |
Fantasy Worlds |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical Release: November 20, 2004 (Japan) June 10, 2005 (U.S. Limited)