I’m a big Miyazaki fan. Living in a smaller city, I didn’t think there was much chance of seeing “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2005) in the theater. The North American release date came and went and no theaters in town picked up the film. After several weeks passed, I had given up hope, but then one day in the newspaper I saw that a theater about five minutes from my house was going to show it the next weekend. Oh man, was I excited.

Joy and I went to see the matinee (it worked better with Charis’s schedule than an evening show). When the Studio Ghibli logo came up the screen I knew I was in for a treat. When I first got out of the theater after seeing it, though, I thought it was only pretty good. A few days later, after having more time to process it, I changed my opionion and I would now rate it as very good to excellent. I don’t think it is quite as good as “Spirited Away” (my favorite Miyazaki film), but it was still a wonderful film. The animation and story were mesmerizing and enchanting, as is typical of Miyazaki. We saw a dubbed version and the voice work was very good, although Billy Crystal was a bit over the top at times, to the point of being a little distracting. All in all, though, this was a great film and I can’t wait for the DVD to come out so I can see it again.

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