It is almost inevitable that Miyazaki, often compared to C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling, should have found in Diana Wynne Jones a kindred spirit.
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Sophie, in both her incarnations, joins an impressive sisterhood of Miyazaki heroines, whose version of girl power presents a potent alternative to the mini-machismo that dominates American juvenile entertainment. Not that children are the only viewers likely to be haunted and beguiled by Howl's Moving Castle - all that is needed are open eyes and an open heart.
The tireless volley of ideas and inventions make this a delight that should connect with kids and adults in both dubbed and original-language versions.
You run across animation this ingenious about as often as a moving castle comes your way.
Another soulful gem from the peerless Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.
The worldview, the sense of childlike fun shaded with adult melancholy, and the joyful, serene attention to visual oddity and wordless beauty could only be made in Japan. And, specifically, made by Hayao Miyazaki.
An organic, childlike wonder, fabulously unpredictable and seethingly inventive.
The perfect e-ticket for a flight of fancy into a world far more gorgeous than our own. The film doesn't halve itself to appeal to two generations. At its best, it turns all moviegoers into innocent kids, slack-jawed with wonder.
Consequently, though it's difficult to work out what's going on, it's never boring.
Miyazaki's animated adaptation of Jones' book is a charming and thoroughly absorbing treat.