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Howl's Moving Castle - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD)


Price: £13.04 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Howl's Moving Castle - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD) + Princess Mononoke [Blu-ray] + Spirited Away [Blu-ray + DVD]
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Product details

  • Directors: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Producers: Toshio Suzuki, Ned Lott
  • Format: CD+DVD
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Studio Canal
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jun. 2012
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007EC007A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,317 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Acclaimed Japanese animated feature from director Hayao Miyazaki. Sophie (voice of Chieko Baisho) is an ordinary girl who works in a hat shop, but one day she is swept off her feet by the mysterious wizard Howl (Takuya Kimura), and is then turned into a 90-year-old woman by the evil Witch of the Waste (Akihiro Miwa). In order to lift the curse, Sophie travels with Howl aboard his floating castle, as he risks his life to bring peace to a warring kingdom.

From Amazon.co.uk

Like a dream, Howl's Moving Castle carries audiences to vistas beyond their imaginations where they experience excitement, adventure, terror, humor, and romance. With domestic box office receipts of over $210 million, Howl passed Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke to become the #3 film in Japanese history, behind his Spirited Away and James Cameron's Titanic.

Based on a juvenile novel by Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle marks the first time Miyazaki has adapted another writer's work since Kiki's Delivery Service (1989). Sophie, a 19-year-old girl who believes she is plain, has resigned herself to a drab life in her family's hat shop--until the Witch of the Waste transforms her into a 90-year-old woman. In her aged guise, Sophie searches for a way to break the Witch's spell and finds unexpected adventures. Like Chihiro, the heroine of Spirited Away, Sophie discovers her hidden potential in a magical environment--the castle of the title.

Using CG, Miyazaki creates a ramshackle structure that looks like it might disintegrate at any moment. Sophie's honesty and determination win her some valuable new friends: Markl, Howl's young apprentice; a jaunty scarecrow; Calcifer, a temperamental fire demon; and Heen, a hilarious, wheezing dog. She wins the heart of the dashing, irresponsible wizard Howl, and brings an end an unnecessary and destructive war. The film overflows with eclipsing visuals that range from frightening aerial battles to serene landscapes, and few recent features--animated or live action--offer as much magic as Howl's Moving Castle.--Charles Solomon --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 111 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Nov. 2005
Format: DVD
Not a lot of directors would be brave enough to take on a love story between a girl-turned-old-lady and a wizard missing a vital organ.

But Oscar-winning director/writer Hayao Miyazaki tackles a new fantasy realm in in "Howl's Moving Castle." In this case, it's the world of fantasy dowager Diana Wynne Jones, and he wraps the storyline in humor, romance and genuine flair. No, it's not faithful. But it is fantastic.

Sophie (Emily Mortimer) is a plain, unhappy young woman working in a milliner's shop. But then the evil Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall) comes into the shop, and turns her into a hobbled old lady (Jean Simmons). Sophie ends up wandering into the Moving Castle, a chicken-legged chaos machine, and encountering the sexy, immature wizard Howl (Christian Bale), smart-aleck fire demon Calcifur (Billy Crystal), and preteen apprentice Markl (Josh Hutcherson).

Sophie appoints herself the cleaning lady and starts whipping the castle into shape, trying to deal with Howl's temper tantrums and the rapidly deepening war. And, of course, trying to de-curse herself. But when she runs an errand that Howl is too scared to deal with, she finds that her new boss has some sinister problems of his own -- including a missing heart.

Don't expect much fidelity to the humorous fantasy novel. Miyazaki takes plenty of liberties with the story, leaving out characters and adjusting others. As a result, it feels more like his story than Jones', with the earmarks of his style -- blobby monsters, colorful rural settings, intense anti-war messages, strange machines, and a Jules-Verne atmosphere of Victorian technology.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By nerfeezah on 4 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was apprehensive about this movie as it received some lukewarm reviews but the film really charmed me and is my favourite of all Miyazaki films I've seen. The lead character is Sophie, a 19 yr old girl transformed into a 90 yr old woman, who has to find a way to break the spell put on her. She finds her way into the moving castle of Howl; the elusive handsome wizard with a reputation for eating pretty girls' hearts. The plot moves at a gentle pace and the story does not talk down to the audience. Having an old lady as the protagonist may not sound appealing at first but Sophie is a feisty character with plenty of life in her and I liked her a lot more than I thought I would. The visual set pieces are lush, dreamy and striking all at once, which create a wonderful spectacle of a film. I may be in the minority of people who prefer the English dubs to subtitles (for anime films) as I really liked Christian Bale's voicing of Howl (squeeing fangirl moment!). The film isn't perfect but if you let the imperfections wash over you and surrender to the film experience you will find a moving story and message.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 19 Jan. 2008
Format: DVD
I've been a fan of Miyazaki's work since I first saw My Neighbour Totoro and Porco Rosso during a mid-90's double bill and fell in love with the intricate stories, simply, yet larger than life characters, and the always breathtaking visuals. A recent Film Four retrospective on the work of Miyazaki and the famed Studio Ghibli has given me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with some of his earlier works, which has really been great preparation for readying myself for a second helping of this!!

Howl's Moving Castle is loosely based on the well-known book of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones, with Miyazaki and his collaborators opening up and elaborating on the text in order to incorporate many of the more recognisable Studio Ghibli trademarks. So, whereas the book once focused more clearly on the character of Howl, a wizard of dubious reputation, Miyazaki puts more emphasis on the character of Sofi, a heroine in the classic Studio Ghibli tradition. As the story unfolds the changes in the text point back to that earlier Miyazaki classic Porco Rosso, with the film continuing the idea of a character transformed by a curse (in this case, the young Sofi is cursed into the body of an old hag), seeking redemption in a anachronistic universe sometime during the First World War, that is overrun with flying machines, magical potions and other such Ghibli-like touches, such as fire demons, witchcraft and supernatural underworlds.

As with Porco Rosso, the film's setting and the use of iconography suggest deeper themes that most children probably won't pick up on, meaning that this is very much a film to be cherished by adults and adolescents too!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader on 6 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
This is a movie I'd easily watch over and over again.

The plot of the movie (briefly) is this. Sofie, a lonely hat maker, is rescued by the mysterious wizard Howl one day. This contact brings her the unpleasant attentions of the Witch of the Waste who transforms Sophie into an old woman. Sofie, unable to speak of the curse, leaves home to find the Witch and be turned back to normal. Along the way, she finds Howl's Moving Castle where she finds refuge as his 'cleaning lady'.

The story is essentially one of love and the pointlessness and waste of war. Two kingdoms are at war over a missing Prince. Howl, ever the mystery man, is summoned by both kingdoms to fight on their side as his two alter ego's (Pendragon and Jenkins) answer to different kingdoms.

The war factor itself isn't a huge part of this story if I'm honest. It's used to show the potential destruction of Howl as he engages in the evil of war (against his will). The development of the love between Sophie and Howl and the desire to break the curses both have is the main plot.

The characters I found interesting, and in Calcifer the Fire Demon's case, amusing. Calcifer, voiced by Billy Crystal, was easily my favourite. The Witch of the Waste was also a very interesting one. She is madly in love with Howl, and her ultimate goal is to win his heart. However, the Witch does change in the depth of her character in the film and illustrates a parallel similar to Yubabba and her sister in Ghibli's Spirited Away.

The animation is as beautiful as you'd expect from a Studio Ghibli film. Visually stunning and hugely colourful, I couldn't take my eyes off it. The voice cast also deserve a mention. Christian Bale voices Howl, Lauren Bacall is the Witch of the Waste, and of course, Billy Crystal.
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