Sunday, July 17, 2005

Film — Howl's Moving Castle

The last film of the Festival for me, given the cancellation of Paradise Now — so maybe film fatigue had set in; but I didn't see this new Ghibli/Miyazaki film as anything more than “Just OK.”, especially by comparison with other, earlier works. Or it may be because I deliberately hadn't read the Diana Wynne Jones book on which the film is based, expressly to avoid the usual negative comparisons of such adaptations.

I suspect the latter is the main cause. Having no idea of the original, I felt there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to no good narrative cause, but likely intended to realise in pictures neat bits from the book; which it did at the cost of exposition — even little things, like making it clear, when first introducing the name out of nowhere that Suliman was the vizier's name, and not the king's (which seemed the obvious interpretation from what little context we had).

A shame really — lush animation, even with gratuitous flying machines, around an emotionally empty plotline. Yes, that heretofore unthinkable thing, a Ghibli movie without a teary-eyed moment.

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