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Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
"Hauru no ugoku shiro" (original title)

PG  |   |  Animation, Adventure, Family  |  17 June 2005 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 185,510 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 320 user | 206 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.

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(screenplay), (novel) (as Daiana Win Jônzu)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chieko Baishô ...
Sofî (voice)
Takuya Kimura ...
Hauru (voice)
Akihiro Miwa ...
Arechi no Majo (voice)
Tatsuya Gashûin ...
Karushifâ (voice)
Ryûnosuke Kamiki ...
Marukuru (voice)
Mitsunori Isaki ...
Koshô (voice)
Yô Ôizumi ...
Kakashi no Kabu (voice)
Akio Ôtsuka ...
Kokuô (voice)
Daijirô Harada ...
Hin (voice)
Haruko Katô ...
Sariman (voice)
...
Grandma Sophie (voice)
...
Howl (voice)
...
Witch of the Waste (voice)
...
Madame Suliman (voice)
...
Young Sophie (voice)
Edit

Storyline

A love story between an 18-year-old girl named Sofî, cursed by a witch into an old woman's body, and a magician named Hauru. Under the curse, Sofî sets out to seek her fortune, which takes her to Hauru's strange moving castle. In the castle, Sophie meets Hauru's fire demon, named Karishifâ. Seeing that she is under a curse, the demon makes a deal with Sophie--if she breaks the contract he is under with Hauru, then Karushifâ will lift the curse that Sophie is under, and she will return to her 18-year-old shape. Written by Sophie Ball

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

castle | witch | demon | spell | fire | See All (83) »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for frightening images and brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 June 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howl's Moving Castle  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,474,751 (Japan) (19 November 2004)

Gross:

$82,187 (Chile) (2 June 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mamoru Hosoda was selected to direct the film but he abruptly left the project. Hayao Miyazaki then took up the director's role. See more »

Goofs

When Sophie leaves her bedroom, her dress has turned from green to blue. However, she couldn't have changed dresses because none of them would fit her after she was transformed (wider, much shorter, etc.). See more »

Quotes

Old Sophie: What a dump. When I think of castles, it's not what I picture.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: The Hangover Part III (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Sekai no Yakusoku
Written by Yumi Kimura
Performed by Chieko Baisho
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
For those who love the book – or wondered about it
10 July 2005 | by (Richmond, VA) – See all my reviews

When I read some four years ago that Diana Wynne Jones had sold the rights for Howl's Moving Castle to a Japanese animator, I wondered. The book (one of my very favorites, which I re-read at least once a year) takes several fairy-tale conventions and merrily turns them upside down. Ms Jones refuses to allow her imagination be neatly pigeonholed as hard sci-fi or straight fantasy, juvenile or adult. This story (as all of her stories) revels in word play. I really wondered how it would all come out translated into Japanese.

I'd never heard of Miyazaki. Then I saw Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, The Cat Returns, and Kiki's Delivery Service. Wow. I think Ms Jones and Mr. Miyazaki must be kindred souls. His movies share a lot with her novels – a whimsical sense of humor, impossible to pigeonhole into a category, magic and mischief, and a firm respect for the audience's intelligence. I began to pace the floor in anticipation of the movie.

I saw the movie today. I was not disappointed. The soul of the story is intact, Sophie and Howl and Calcifer are nearly as I imagined them. Yes, there are some plot adjustments. Think of it as the Series 12C version (for those who have read Ms Jones' Chrestomanci books.) The main elements are there, some re-arranged, some changed, yet with a full understanding of the original. Much like the 2004 version of Peter Pan – much was changed, but the soul is the same.

For those who wonder, here are the differences between the movie and the novel. I've tried to phrase them carefully to avoid spoilers for either fans of Ms Jones's work who have yet to see the movie, and those who have seen the movie and have yet to read the book:

• Why the witch bespells Sophie

• Where the door opens when the dial points to black

•Sophie's sister Martha, and the plot line involving sister Lettie are not in the movie • Mrs. Pentstemmon, Miss Angorian, Mrs. Fairfax are also missing, but elements of each are woven into other characters in the movie • Michael (Markl) is a different age • The battles – magical and military – are quite different (but equally spectacular) • The dog appears at a different time, with a different, yet just as mysterious, agenda • The scarecrow's relationship with Sophie is different • Thelevel of technology is different. (I did miss the 7-league boots)

My advice: go see the movie. It's magical and beautiful and funny. Then, if you are a Diana Wynne Jones fan, check out the rest of Miyazaki's films. Now is a great time, as many of his films are available on home DVD. If you are a Miyazaki fan, hie thee to a library or bookstore try Ms Jones' books. (There is a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle – Castle in the Air.)

And enjoy!


77 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Sophie's Hair?!? tarantinolover12
Why did they cast Christian Bale? LoveCBCF
3/4 of the movie was excellent but the last 30 min was a mess. jrme577
Disappointing Budismydog
Kinda confused.. green-corinne8
Does anyone know what time period this film is set in? CossetteMarie
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