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Howl's Moving Castle (PG)

Release Date: June 10th (NYC-Loews Lincoln Square)
June 17th (Wider), by Walt Disney Pictures.
The Voices: Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Billy Chrystal.
Animated with English dubbing.

BASIC PREMISE: A young woman must reverse a spell that casts her into an old woman.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The animation, although not CGI, is consistently stunning to watch. This film is filled with many imaginative details that help to create its own unique, magical world. For example, there is an amusing character nicknamed Turniphead who is simply a turnip on a stick. He ends up being a crucial figure in the story even though he has no dialogue. Another memorable, often humorous character is Calcifer, whose voice is clearly by Billy Chrystal. Calcifer is simply made out of fire and all he wants is freedom—although he is also very kind. There is also a hilarious scene with a small dog that has asthma and cannot climb up a long flight of stairs. Then there’s the Witch of the Waste, who is a play with words for the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. She is evil because she casts the spell on the young, innocent main character and forces her to endure a rough, unpredictable adventure on the moving castle of Howl. This adventure is full of drama, comedy, and even a little action—with many visual surprises, lots of creativity, but most importantly, it always has conflict and suspense.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: What starts off as a simple good vs. evil adventure ends up much more complex as the story builds and the characters become more developed. For example, the Witch of the Waste is not simply evil for the sake of being evil; she is jealous of the main character’s youth and beauty. Also, just as quickly as she gained her power, she also loses her power in a very humorous yet it is ultimately sad. The kindness that the main character finds through her adventure is very heartwarming and uplifting.



THE BOTTOM LINE: Brilliant, visually-stunning animation along with inventive, lively characters and a complex story makes for a remarkably entertaining and even thought-provoking animated film that is a must-see for all ages!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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