The dubbed version isn’t even that bad
Release date: November 20, 2004
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Who should watch this movie: People who “aren’t into anime”
When should you watch this movie: At the start of a new relationship. When the world around you seems to be in chaos.
The sell: Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle takes you into a gorgeous world where magic and technology exist side by side to a dark but whimsical effect. Calling any of Miyazaki’s movies “imaginative” seems like a gross understatement, but it is difficult to find the appropriate words to describe the height of creative imagery set forth in his work. Though Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones, Miyazaki’s adaptation adds an entirely new dimension to Jones’ story. Through stunning animation, Miyazaki brings magic to life, bending the laws of physics, playing with space and time, all woven seamlessly into the fabric of a surprisingly familiar world. The crowning achievement of Howl’s Moving Castle, however, is the way in which Miyazaki makes the most fantastical magic feel personal. From the trippiest magic battles to simply taking the train, Miyazaki imbues every frame with emotion. We feel attached to every character, whether it’s the young wizard’s apprentice Markl or an enchanted scarecrow called “turnip head.” This story packs an emotional punch that elevates it from “exciting fantasy movie” to “masterpiece.”