the usagi incidents

20050611

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl no Ugoku Oshiro) English Dub US Premiere Los Angeles


US English Premiere Los Angeles: Friday June 10, 2005
Disney's El Capitan Theatre, Hollywood, California

Summary: A young woman named Sophie is cursed by the Witch of the Waste, and turns into an old woman, and she is unable to tell anyone of her plight. Unable to continue her job at her mother's hat shop, she goes to the ambulatory castle of the notorious wizard Howl, and insinuates herself into his household. There is a war on, with each kingdom's king persuing Howl to each work for him in the war. Sophie befriends Calcifer, the fire demon who powers the castle and who is bound to Howl by a contract, the terms of which Calcifer cannot reveal. They promise to help each other with their problems. Like Calcifer, Howl can also see through the Witch's spell, and he and Sophie fall in love. Sophie helps Howl confront his former teacher, his real self after making his contract with Calcifer, and the Witch of the Waste.


Review: Friend Aki and I went to the LA Premiere of Howl's Moving Castle yesterday at the El Capitan in Hollywood. Before I go into the review of the actual film, I want to clarify that I have seen the original in Japanese - I saw it in Tokyo's Kichijouji theatre over winter break this past December. So I'm not talking out of my ass when I say the following:

I must say - it is THE BEST dub I've ever seen. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Christian Bale outdid Kimutaku as Howl. He was more true to the actual Howl (as in the one from the original novel) than Kimutaku was. Everyone was right on in terms of character, except for young Sophie and Madam Sulliman, and also was more true to the original spirit of Diane Wynne Jones' novel. Billy Crystal's Calcifer was satisfactory, especially with the "SOPHIE - OCHIRU! OCHITERU! SOPHIEEEEEEE" part in translation. It was incredible. Major props to disney for FINALLY doing some sort of justice to a Miyazaki film (Sen to Chihiro - they tried, and they still won an Oscar, but still). We went to the Ghibli exhibition afterward (downstairs in the basement of the theatre) and were kind of underwhelmed by it - It was just lights and posters and synopses of each film Miyazaki was either involved in or directed. Meh.

Final Review (dub): B
Final Review (original): A++

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