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Video: "Howl's Moving Castle" Trailer (English version 2005)

Review Summary from by A. O. Scott

"Howl's Moving Castle," freely adapted from a children's fantasy novel by Diana Wynne Jones, is the latest animated tour de force from Hayao Miyazaki, the director of, among other masterpieces, "Princess Mononoke," "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away." 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. For newcomers to his world, "Howl's Moving Castle" is a fitting introduction to one of modern cinema's great enchanters. Mr. Miyazaki's heroines tend to be plucky young women who combine guileless decency with tough-mindedness. During their journeys, they often encounter wise older women who sometimes serve as foils, sometimes as mother figures. Ms. Wynne Jones's novel allows Mr. Miyazaki to combine these two types into a single character. His heroine, Sophie, starts out as a shy 18-year-old hat maker, but then a witch's curse transforms her into a stooped, gray-haired 90-year-old. At first horrified by the change, she comes to embrace it as a liberation from anxiety, fear and self-consciousness, and discovers in herself a new zest for adventure.

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