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Review of new Miyazaki film


Not all there...
[Movie Review] New Miyazaki film

My 12-year-old daughter got me hooked on Hayao Miyazaki's films when Spirited Away first came out in theaters. Since then we have snatched up everything made by him, from My Neighbor Totoro, to Porko Rosso. When we found out Howl's Moving Castle was opening yesterday, we had to drive 50 miles to one of the two theaters in the entire Atlanta metro area showing it (the other was closer, but in a questionable neighborhood). It was well worth the drive.

Although Howl's Moving Castle isn't written by Miyazaki (it's based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones), the story is just as creative as all his other films. Here's the basic plot (from MovieWeb.com):

Sophie, an average teenage 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, and is subsequently turned into a 90-year old woman by the vain and conniving Wicked Witch of the Waste. Embarking on an incredible odyssey to lift the curse, she finds refuge in Howl's magical moving castle where she becomes acquainted with Markl, Howl's apprentice, and a hot-headed fire demon named Calcifer.

The characters are all well-developed, and Miyazaki has once again demonstrated his special gift for creating the most amazing contraptions -- on land and in the air. Of course, the movie is also full of Miyazaki's trademark spectacular scenery and attention details. The movie provides a good blend of drama, mystery, laughs, and (of course) a love story.

Howl's is great for all ages. Even though there is a war in the story, there is minimal violence (mostly bombings) and a few scary critters that might give smaller children nightmares.
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