HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE

Lifting Magical Spells and Curses

Content -3
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: June 10, 2005

Starring: Jean Simmons, Christian Bale,
Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall,
Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer,
and Josh Hutcherson

Genre: Animated/Fantasy Adventure

Audience: Older children to adults

Rating: PG

Runtime: 119 minutes

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/Buena
Vista/Walt Disney Company

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Executive Producer: John Lasseter

Producer: Toshio Suzuki and Rick Dempsey

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki

Address Comments To:

Michael Eisner, Chairman/CEO
Buena Vista Distribution Co.
(Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures)
Dick Cook, Chairman
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000
Website: www.disney.com

Content:

(PaPaPa, OOO, B, C, PC, V, N, D, M) Very strong pagan worldview with very strong occult elements regarding witchcraft, sorcery and demonology and some mixed elements, such as some moral and redemptive content about helping people (especially people in trouble), removing evil spells and loving an enemy, and an anti-war message that can be considered somewhat politically correct; no foul language; some mild scenes of war with explosions, bombs and burning towns, magician turns himself into a giant bird to minimize the war’s destruction and fight the airships and bombs, dark magical creatures threaten teenage girl and young boy, small airship crashes into domicile, and characters fall; no sex; upper and rear male nudity in one scene; no alcohol; female character smokes big cigar; and, lying and young man ignores his king’s orders to help the country in time of war.

Summary:

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is a popular Japanese animation dubbed into English about a teenage girl and her encounters with the magical moving castle of a handsome, but troubled, young wizard named Howl. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is a complex, enthralling and visually spectacular piece of animated fantasy, but it is overlong and anti-climactic, and it has a very strong pagan worldview with some very strong occult content.

Review:

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is the latest work from Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki (SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO). Based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones, an English fantasy author who studied under C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, the movie has been dubbed into English featuring the voices of two Hollywood screen legends, Jean Simmons and Lauren Bacall, and the voice of Billy Crystal and Christian Bale, who stars in the upcoming BATMAN BEGINS.

Set in a land of magic, the story of HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE focuses on a teenage hat maker named Sophie. One day, Sophie is rescued by the handsome, but mysterious, wizard Howl, who disappears as suddenly as he appeared. The other girls in Sophie’s town whisper that Howl has been known to devour the hearts of beautiful young girls.

Howl’s nemesis, the Witch of the Waste, visits Sophie and transforms her into an old woman. Sophie’s efforts to break the spell bring her to Howl’s magical moving castle. There, she befriends Howl’s young apprentice, Mark, and the hot-headed fire demon, Calcifer, who is bound to Howl’s fireplace and keeps things moving by powering the castle’s furnace or engine and the utilities.

At times vain, noble and gentle, Howl is a powerful, but troubled, magician caught in a war between the two nearby kingdoms. Refusing to join sides, he tries to stop some of the destruction caused by the war, which has left many villages in flames. Sophie learns that Howl isn’t quite himself anymore and that his mysterious bargain with Calcifer somehow lies at the heart of the matter. She tries to help Howl cure his inner demons, but will she ever be able to lift the curse on her own body?

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is a complex, enthralling and visually spectacular piece of animated fantasy, but it is overlong. Also, the resolution of the conflicts and problems facing the characters is surprisingly uninspired. Although the story has some redemptive, morally uplifting elements, it centers on sorcery and witchcraft, which are abhorrent. Thus, while the premise of the story is to break all the magical spells enslaving the characters, it has a very strong pagan worldview with lots of witchcraft and sorcery. Furthermore, the demonology behind the fire-demon Calcifer’s character and origin is morally relative and ontologically confusing.

In Brief:

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is a popular Japanese animation dubbed into English and based on a fantasy novel. Set in a magical land at war, the story focuses on a teenage hat maker named Sophie. The evil Witch of the Waste visits Sophie and transforms her into an old woman. Sophie’s efforts to break the spell bring her to the magical moving castle of the handsome, but mysterious, wizard Howl, who has trapped a fire-demon named Calcifer to do his bidding. Sophie learns that Howl isn’t quite himself anymore and that his mysterious bargain with Calcifer somehow lies at the heart of the matter.

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE is a complex, enthralling and visually spectacular piece of animated fantasy, but it is overlong. Also, the resolution of the conflicts and problems facing the characters is surprisingly uninspired. Although the story has some redemptive, morally uplifting elements, it centers on sorcery and witchcraft, which are abhorrent. Thus, while the premise of the story is to break all the magical spells enslaving the characters, the story has a very strong pagan worldview with lots of witchcraft and sorcery. Furthermore, the movie’s demonology is morally relative and ontologically confusing.