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Running Time:
2 hours

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for frightening images and brief mild language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
An eye-dazzling example of a magical animation style seldom seen any longer. It's bound to appeal to all audiences.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Behind the microphone; Interview with Pixar Animation Studios director, Pete Docter; Hayao Miyazaki visits Pixar Animation Studios; TV sports & trailers; Storyboards.

Howl's Moving Castle
In a fantastical world of Middle Ages architecture and steam powered WWI-era vehicles, Sophie (Emily Mortimer, "Dear Frankie") drudges away decorating hats in her family's hat shop in a town where the frequent presence of a handsome young wizard Howl (Christian Bale "Batman Returns") and his moving castle are a source of curiosity and fear. One night after closing the hat shop, Sophie is visited by the extremely rude Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall "Birth"), who shows her jealousy by putting a spell on the girl to spoil the relationship she fears that the girl might be having with Howl. The spell turns Sophie into a ninety year old woman (with the voice of the Jean Simmons, "Young Bess"). Sophie sets out to find the Witch and encounters a helpful, silent scarecrow, who gives her a walking cane, then leads her to shelter in "Howl's Moving Castle." Based on a Diana Wynne Jones novel, director Hayao Miyazaki (" Spirited Away") has made a film with all the magical delights of those children's classics "The Wizard of Oz" and Beauty and the Beast." It's all about how a young girl can survive as an old woman dealing with enchanted beings, a vain but noble wizard, as well as a bellyaching fire demon (Billy Crystal). Using conventional animation, rather than the newer Pixar-type digital art, this film is a pure delight. And the vocal talents of the excellently selected cast are all wonderful. Simmons gives old Sophie a youthful quality while Mortimer gives the younger one a serious gravity. Bale is fine as the lusty hero, Bacall has an early, dark imperiousness that gradually turns into a quieter much older woman, and Billy Crystal is reined in just enough to make Calcifer a lively being without becoming too schticky. There's no question that "Howl’s Moving Castle" will soon become one of filmdom's most remembered and rewatched family classics. It's a joy!

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