ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Howl's Moving Castle 2004 - Animated Film Review

Updated on March 30, 2014


Howl's Moving Castle is a 2004 Japanese animated fantasy film scripted and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is based on the novel of the same name by English writer Diana Wynne Jones. It went on to gross $190 million in Japan and $235 million worldwide, making it one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history. The film was later dubbed into English by Pixar's Peter Docter and distributed in North America by Walt Disney Pictures. It was then released to the international market in 2005.

The Film

Howl's Moving Castle is one of my all time best movies! What isn't there to love about a film with constant changing villains, heroes who seem to not understand their purpose and loveable side characters who just warm your heart.

The Studio Ghibli collection if you haven’t seen them is well worth a watch. Never for a moment think 'Oh its Anime I don’t like Anime' and not bother as if the creator Hayao Miyazaki heard you, he would have a fit as he is proud to say his work is not Anime. And for all intense and purposes (as a big Anime fan myself) he is definitely not an Anime artist. Anime is something that was mainly created to pull you away from the real world and bring you possibilities that are truly endless and there is said to be an Anime for every genre.

However Miyazaki’s work is all about remaining tied to a real life perspective just pushing the boundaries to make you think slightly differently about life around you. I like to take his work not as a piece that sucks you away completely from your own world as an escape but actually use the world you live in and add a new twist and let your imagination do the rest. He constantly gets you to question the characters and the story to what is going to happen next.

His work is inspiring to many and for me some of his work is so real it can break and rebuild your heart when looking at life from a completely different perspective. But we will get more into Miyazaki’s work on other reviews I will be writing.


When it comes to the characters, we are lead to believe from the beginning that Howl is some kind of monster that is not to be dealt with as he will eat the souls of beautiful woman. Yet it’s not long before your questioning this theory as everything this man does is different from what he is betrayed as. We get glimpse into maybe why people see him this way but no real proof is ever really given. Anyway as a boy his body was curse by a fire demon called Calcifer who is one of my favourite characters.

The other main character is Sophie who has no confidence in herself what so ever. Sophie is a young lady who has taken over her father business as a hat shop owner but really her heart isn't in it. Sophie is found by Howl being pestered by two guards in town and tells Sophie he has been looking for her. However people who are most observant at this point may see a connection to the end of the film here but I'm not giving that away your going to have to get this yourself. So anyway your thinking well Sophie will just drag this whole film down as she will just moan but she is one of the best characters in the whole film. A curse is put apone her by another gem of a character in this film and makes her old and too my surprise even though Sophie freaks out at first she embraces this new life quickly. She tries to save her family and friends the worry by disappearing and getting the curse broken by herself but along the way she really takes on the stubborn old lady role so well and it always makes me laugh at some of the comments that get thrown around. Her confidence builds and grows the more time she is around others and is able to help them and seems to collect them together like a strange little family. The other characters she meets all fall in love with her giving nature and the fact nothing seems to be a burden to her.


There are so many fantastic characters in this film and I love them all but I am drawn to Marko and Calcifer but I think this also helps with the AMAZING character voices which were picked for this film. Billy Crystal does the voice of Calcifer and he is perfect for it. He can change and adjust his pitch and tone so easily but the voice they picked for Howl was also perfectly matched as well as all the characters. Disney really did a good job.

The background sound on this film is lovely but sometimes I feel its lost against the action and you don't always hear it. But all the sound compliments the film well as Miyazaki takes great pride on making sure this compliments everything so well.

I have to admit that there is a few things about the film that gripe for me. The first is that I get the understanding to why Howl is counted as being such an evil man. Yes there is the story about the demon taking his heart but being that Howl's action are different would it really lead to such a story that he would steal souls?

There seems so much more to Sophie's curse also as she becomes more passionate her curse seems to lift? Is this due to the fact the curse may be broken by true loves kiss but this seems too simple and according to the witch that cast it the curse wasn't that easy to crack and with another wizard having this curse broken this way wouldn't it seem like a cheat?


So the film has a few ups and downs but overall it is still one of my favourites. I watch for the art, the animation and the characters. The story has a good solid main back to it but some of the smaller details seems to have been missed. This could have been part of the problem once it got translated that not everything got crossed over like was expected. But its so light and funny and may not have the major impact that some of the films do but there is so much more too it if as long as you are willing to keep your eyes and ears open and spot where things connect this film is worth a watch.

My rating 8 out of 10.

Howl's Moving Castle and none of these images belong to me I just use them as reference for my review.

Howl's Moving Castle Trailer


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)