In need of some witchcraft and wizardry this Halloween season? Check out Studio Ghibli Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ novel of the same name.
With HOWL you get some of the most refined Ghibli animation to date, coupled with Hayao Miyazaki’s appropriately lauded storytelling. Per usual, the English dub is rife with serviceable voice work from the likes of Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer and Billy Crystal.
There is no tiptoeing around magic here, either; spells abound, the rules of magic are examined and imploded, a war among wizards rages in an alternate realm. The real magic is the animation, however, which rivals Spirited Away in terms of innovation and sheer color. Howl’s castle roaming the waists is a breathtaking vision every time, as are Miyazaki’s signature aerial sequences.
Some might not have the attention span for what is a slowly unfurling narrative, but fans of other Ghibli/Pixar collaborations will know what to expect, and the rewards are always worth the wait. Enjoy the magic of HOWLS MOVING CASTLE in anticipation of Halloween.