A few months ago I watched Miyazaki\’s Howl\’s Moving Castle. I liked it so much I watched it three times from beginning to end. What can I say, I\’m a sucker for a romantic fantasy with fabulous scenery. I could spend hours just staring at the moving castle itself trying to take everything in. I loved watching Howl and Sophie slowly fall in love with eachother despite their respective curses. I loved how Sophie\’s curse brought out previously unknown reserves of courage and determination and how she enjoyed being an old woman. I suppose Sophie was always an old soul.
Then I bought the book on which the movie was based. I really liked it too, although it\’s very, very different. On the surface there\’s less of a Beauty and the Beast element. The Witch of the Waste plays a lot bigger role in the book, and there\’s a curse based on the first two stanzas of John Donne\’s Song, which I really loved because it\’s so striking both on paper and read out loud. Oh and Calcifer burns mostly blue and green and purple in the book whereas in the movie he was mostly orange and he was a lot more demon-like. I liked the bond between Calcifer and Howl. The ending is rather abrupt, a lot like fairy tales where the curses have been broken and the man and woman live happily ever after. It kind of reminded me of the end of Dune the novel, in how abrupt it was.
All in all, I thought the movie was a lot more romantic than the book, but the character were more fully developed in the book. The movie was really visually stunning and beautiful. I liked Miyazaki\’s touch of having Sophie reveal her true self beneath the curse in moments of passion, when she\’s concerned about Howl.
I always seem to write these things when I\’m half falling asleep and tired.