In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) will be returning to theaters for special showings. The animated movie is loosely based on the book of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones, who also wrote Castle in the Air and The House of Many Ways featuring the wizard Howl. She also wrote The Chronicles of Crestomanci and other young adult and adult fantasy novels and stories.
The Academy Award-nominated movie comes from Studio Ghibli and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. In 2013 the director claimed the movie was his favorite creation, explaining “I wanted to convey the message that life is worth living, and I don’t think that’s changed.”
The movie tells the story of Sophie (Emily Mortimer) who is working in her late father’s hat shop when she meets the wizard Howl (Christian Bale), who lives in a magical castle. But the Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall) is jealous of their relationship and casts a spell that turns Sophie into a 90-year-old woman. The quest to remove the curse is complicated by a war between Sophie’s nation and a neighboring kingdom.
Howl’s Moving Castle became one of the most commercially successful Japanese movies. It is ranked at 87% on the Tomatometer and 93% on the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Critics’ Consensus is: Exquisitely illustrated by master animator Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle will delight children with its fantastical story and touch the hearts and minds of older viewers as well.
Howl’s Moving Castle will appear in theaters on Sunday, April 7 (dubbed); Monday, April 8 (subtitled); and Wednesday, April 10 (dubbed).