Howl’s moving castle

Last week I asked twitter which movie I should review, How’ls moving castle was chosen so here we go!

Here is the review for one of my top favourite Studio Ghibli Movies.

(Since Im reviewing this movie spoliers are ahead, please read after watching if needed)


That jumbled piece of architecture, that cacophony of hissing steam and creaking joints, with smoke billowing from it as it moves on its own… That castle is home to the magnificent wizard Howl, infamous for both his magical prowess and for being a womanizer—or so the rumor goes in Sophie Hatter’s small town. Sophie, as the plain daughter of a hatmaker, does not expect much from her future and is content with working hard in the shop.

However, Sophie’s simple life takes a turn for the exciting when she is ensnared in a disturbing situation, and the mysterious wizard appears to rescue her. Unfortunately, this encounter, brief as it may be, spurs the vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste—in a fit of jealousy caused by a past discord with Howl—to put a curse on the maiden, turning her into an old woman.

In an endeavor to return to normal, Sophie must accompany Howl and a myriad of eccentric companions—ranging from a powerful fire demon to a hopping scarecrow—in his living castle, on a dangerous adventure as a raging war tears their kingdom apart.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

My Opinon

Let me first start off with saying studio ghibli has the most beautiful and fantastic music made for it my favourite with this movie has to be ‘Merry-go-round of life’ which is played in many parts of the film.

The film starts off with Sophie voiced by Emily mortimer working but when she leaves she runs into soldiers who won’t leave her alone only when a handsome man comes and saves her someone making the soldiers walk away (using magic obviously).

The man proceeds to take her hand, and they start to walk only for the gentlemen to tell Sophie he’s being followed, she looks kind of scared but if he had saved me I definitely would be swooning.

They are the to proceeded to be chased by black blobs and with no where to run Sophie and the man start to float and end up walking through the air for the man to drop Sophie at her destination and leaves saying ‘That’s my girl’ only did I finally realise at the end why he would say this to her and what he would mean to her.

Sophie arrives at the bakery where her sister works, and they begin to talk, her sister warns her that if the wizard she had been saved by was Howl, her heart would have been eaten, Sophie proceeds to say ‘Howl only does that to pretty girls’.

Her sister asks her if she really wants to live her life away working in hat shop, she tells her sister it’s what their father would have wanted but her sister doesn’t like the answer, I love that there is a sisterly bond between the two, but unfortunately this is the only time we see Lettie.

After leaving the bakery Sophie then heads home only to see a carriage scoop up all of the black blobs into something made me think…I wonder what’s going to happen next.

I truly think this movie supprises you more than you think it does.

When Sophie arrives back at the hat shop, someone comes into the shop un invited, a tall, stubby woman who calls herself ‘ The Witch of the waste’, unable to escape she witch ends up putting a spell on her, turning her into a old woman the witch tells her ‘you can’t tell anyone about this curse, give my regards to howl’ this confirms that the wizard she met was Howl.

After seeing her reflection in the mirror ,she begins to freak out but what I love about this situation she doesen’t start to cry, she sets out on a journey to find the one person that can help her ‘Howl’

I think if I was Sophie I would’nt have been able to cope.

Setting off to the waste in the search for the moving house Howl lives in, she finds a piece of wood she can use for a cane only to find out it was a scarecrow, she then tells the scarecrow that his head was a turnip and that she hated them ever since she was little this definitely made me chuckle.

She continues her journey only that the scarecrow begins to follow her, finds her something to help her walk only for Sophie to ask ‘find me somewhere warm to stay’ only for the scarecrow to bring her the movie house she was already looking for.

You can definatly see why the movie is called ‘Howl’s moving castle’. Sophie thanks the scarecrow and decides to call him ‘Turnip head’

Searching for warmth, she sits in front of the fire only for the fire to start talking to her, noticing the curse that was put on her, Sophie still isn’t afraid of what’s she’s seeing and it really does make me see a strong independent woman in her and I really start to admire her.

The Fireplace calls himself ‘Calcifer’ voiced by Billy Crystal and says to Sophie if you break my his keeping him in this castle I’ll break the curse on you, sophie agrees on it and then falls asleep.

The next morning, someone knocks on the door and a little boy comes running down the stairs to open it, noticing Sophie he asks who she is, and she tells him ‘Calcifer allowed me to come in’, he starts to protest.

Watching the little boy do a couple of things, her attention turn to the door where she finds out its magical and can open up in many different places, the boy then begins to make breakfast, she asks him if he wants breakfast, but he tells her no one can use Calcifer but howl “I’m a strong and all powerful fire demon I am not a stove’ she then blackmails and tells him if he’d like howl to hear about the deal they had struck the night before and Calficer complies.

Supprised that Sophie got him to co-operate, the boys sits down for breakfast when Howl arrives, he is also surprised that Calcifer was doing what she was telling him to do, unable to tell howl anything Sophie tells him she is ‘Grandma Sophie’ and that she was her new cleaning lady.

Now by now I’ve seen some wonderful animation especially for the 2000’s.

Howl making breakfast

I absolutely love the aesthetic Howl’s moving castle brings to the table I’ve watched My neighbour Totaro and Kiki’s delivery service but this was a definite step up for Studio Ghibli.

From this moment on there isn’t much that goes on, Sophie begins to clean, as she cleans out the fireplace, its funny for Calfier to almost go out, I love the humour in this movie as some of it is very gentle and there are times when you think, what’s going to happen next!

After an outing to get food Howl runs out of the bathroom screaming at Sophie has his hair is now orange and not blonde, I couldnt stop laughing at this! He proceeds to have a temper tantram and his magic goes out of control and he starts turning into goo

Sophie yells at him “Ive never been pretty in my whole life” and runs out into the waste crying, this is where we really see everything pilling on top of her and it makes us sad that shes sad because of how positive she has been over the course of the film so far.

after all the fuss shes back to her old self as she helps howl into the bath and gets him into bed.

Somehow during the course of the movie, Sophie ends up falling in love with howl and it definitely shows over the rest of the movie.

Things change from the slow story pace when Sophie is told to visit the king instead of howl where she meets the witch of the waste, now we havent seen her since the beginning of the movie and it makes you wonder why the witch of the waste cursed sophie in the first place?

Howl tells Sophie he would follow her to make sure she was okay when visiting the king, what makes me laugh is the contest of Sophie and the witch of the waste trying to get up the palace stairs, the witch ends up as a small stumpy person and I can’t stop laughing as It feels like me when climbing the stairs at home.

Sophie asks the witch to take the spell off her, but the witch simply replies that she is okay with casting spells than dispelling them. A dog appeared beside Sophie and Sophie thinks its Howl in disguise.

From now on, the movie gets a bit more intense when Sophie meets the wizard ‘Suliman’ an aid to the king only to find out the dog was Suliman’s and wasnt Howl at all. We learn about how Howl’s heart was taken by a demon and we realise who Calcifer really is!

Suliman takes the witch of the wastes magic as she spouts nonsense about the kingdom, the king arrives only to find out its howl in disguise as the king starts to contradict Suliman’s words, and we watch as Sophie defends Howl, she turns into her old self as she gains confidence in her words.

Suliman starts to attack and they manage to escape, and ends up crashing a aircraft into the moving castle, from here we finally see sophie’s love for Howl grow stronger as she finds him in his.

As much as I’m rambeling on about this movie specifics, it truly is and we see that their love for each other breaks both of their curses!

before I wrap things up, I want to talk about when sophie and howl met, this scene always got me until you watch the ending where Sophie sees Howl’s past and how him and Calfier were interwined and sophie tells young howl to find her in the future.

everything makes perfect sense when you look at the main parts all in one. Love does make you stronger and that’s what makes this movie my faviroute out of all the rest

I give this movie a 10/10

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