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Howl's Moving Castle (DVD) (English & Chinese Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8.6 out of 10 (5)

YesAsia Editorial Description

A simple young girl called Sophie is put under a curse by the evil Witch Of The Waste, transforming her into an ugly old woman. Ashamed of her appearance, Sophie deserts her hat shop and heads into the hills in search of a cure. She comes across the strange, yet awesome Moving Castle, the abode of the much-feared magician, Howl. Inside the castle, Sophie befriends the fire demon Calcifer, who can see through the spell and offers to help her return to her natural form.

For his efforts, however, Sophie must help Calcifer break the contract he has with Howl, the details of which he is forbidden to explain. So Sophie assumes the position of the castle's cleaning lady and gets close to the young, handsome Howl, who takes a fancy to the young Sophie, whom he can also see behind her withered facade.

Director Hayao Mayazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) has produced another masterpiece from his Studio Ghibli. A beautifully crafted, mostly hand-drawn animated feature, Howl's Moving Castle is the latest in an impressive catalogue of quite simply, some of the best animation ever committed to celluloid.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Howl's Moving Castle (DVD) (English & Chinese Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) 哈爾移動城堡 (DVD) (中英文字幕) (香港版) 哈尔移动城堡 (DVD) (中英文字幕) (香港版) Howl's Moving Castle (DVD) (English & Chinese Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Howl's Moving Castle (DVD) (English & Chinese Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Miyazaki Hayao 宮崎駿 宫崎骏 宮崎駿 Miyazaki Hayao
Release Date: 2009-03-05
Language: Cantonese, Japanese
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Country of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Rating: I
Duration: 119 (mins)
Publisher: Intercontinental Video (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1014455252

Product Information

  The Long-awaited Miyazaki's Latest Masterpiece, Howl's Moving Castle, Brings You Bumper Sales This Christmas!!!

  A plain young hatter named Sophie has her life changed when an evil witch transforms her into an old woman. Unable to face her family in such a condition, Sophie runs away in search of a way to become young again. Along the way, Sophie helps a turnip headed scarecrow, who repays her by leading her to the moving castle owned by the dreaded wizard Howl. There she befriends Howl's apprentice Markl, Howl's fire demon Calcifer, and eventually, Howl himself. Sophie then becomes the castle's cleaning lady in an effort to not only find the solution to her problem but to save Howl from his own terrible secrets as well.
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Howl's Moving Castle (DVD) (English & Chinese Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

September 28, 2005

This professional review refers to Howl's Moving Castle Special Edition (Japan Version - English Subtitles)
Howl's Moving Castle is as charming, as astonishingly detailed, as wonderful and magical as anything Miyazaki has ever offered to date. More fairytale than mythology, the story is based on the work of Diana Wynne Jones, a British fantasy novelist of long and popular standing. Sophie Hatter has a quiet and perfectly satisfying life taking after her name as a hat-maker, that is until the day she meets both a handsome magician and the wicked Witch of the Waste in the same day and her life is turned around - or rather, fast-forwarded, from an 18-year-old girl into a 90-year-old woman's body. And the curse, in the best tradition of fairy tales of old, means that she can tell no one who she really is, or she will stay 90 until her life is through. As staid as Sophie's life is, she doesn't fancy missing most of it.

And like a fairy tale, this is of course where the real adventure begins. As Sophie makes for the only place she knows of that might be able to break the curse - the famous and mysterious magician Howl's moving castle - she starts to realize both the limitations and freedoms of her predicament. It is during this journey that some of the most touching, affecting aspects of this film are visible. Sophie's heart does not linger long on the loss of her beauty or youth - she never believed she had such things in the first place - but her inherent nature reveals something about youth's impressions of age through her sudden transformation. Unexpectedly, nothing works as it should, and everything is harder. What she wants to do is restricted to what she can do. Literally, old age has not crept up on Sophie, but settled down abruptly, and in that typical, gentle Miyazaki style, we see this deterioration of her outer strength in a way that only makes her inner strength - her practical yet generous nature - that much more apparent. She laughs at her own physical failings, taking her frailty in the kind of honest stride that shows age to be as much a thing of wonder as youth. And in the province that age has magically bestowed, she takes seriously only those things that are important - life, peace, compassion and love.

It's the broader themes that Miyazaki (and by extension Wynne Jones) touch upon in Howl's Moving Castle that take themselves seriously in this film. True to his auteuristic tendencies, the director is as concerned with social commentary, however fantastical, as he has always been, and the influence of the original content brings to the director's style conflict less grand and slightly more impersonal than in something like Princess Mononoke. The two sides of the war Sophie finds herself witness to upon arrival at Howl's castle are slightly more remote, almost lofty entities, symbolized in scenes of giant staircases and daring aerial battles. Wynne Jones was a child in the 1940s when her father evacuated his family from London on news of war, and that experience surely reflects in her work, because it certainly reflects in Howl, where the true empathy of the narrative lies with the nameless masses caught in the crossfire. Yes, Howl is a heroic character, although perhaps not conventionally so (the surprise involved in realizing that the hero is indeed having a hissy fit is just too delightful to mention!), and his true beauty lies in his innocence and gormless acceptance of Sophie for who she is and not who she appears to be. But Miyazaki's punch is at a more mundane level this time. The houses being bombed and the people being killed are almost insignificant against the greater forces clashing. Like Sophie, they are ordinary folk finding themselves struggling to make it through an extraordinary time. The understanding that this message engenders is as relevant in the real world as the fantasy First World War the story is set in.

With music by the inestimable Joe Hisaishi, and the vocal talents of SMAP popstar and TV heart-throb Takuya Kimura (2046, Beautiful Life) and Chieko Basho (Otoko wa Tsurai Yo) in the original language, and Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal and Lauren Bacall in the upcoming Disney dub, this new Miyazaki offering was a hit before it even landed anywhere near a cinema screen. Critics' comments that Miyazaki films are still a little too Japanese, that his stories are too deep, his heroines too complex, to truly find a home in the hearts of mainstream Western audiences seem, in light of this film, something of a luddite reaction. Howl's Moving Castle is at its core a fairy tale, a coming-of-youth, rather than age, a wondrous adventure perfectly suited to Miyazaki's talents and above all, a love story in the most universal tradition. It is such things that speak to anyone's heart, Japanese or otherwise, such things that are the true secret to Miyazaki's magic.

9.5 Turns of the handle out of 10

by Deni Stoner - heroic-cinema.com

November 16, 2005

This professional review refers to Howl's Moving Castle (Japan Version - English Subtitles)
You would have expected the release of a new Miyazaki film to generate more attention than Howl's Moving Castle did when it came to western shores. Sure, the man may not yet be a household name round these parts but his previous feature did win an Oscar and you'd think that fact alone would have gotten Howl's a much wider and better publicized release than what it actually received. But when the film released it was without the unanimous acclaim that welcomed Spirited Away. Yes, the critics agreed that the animation was stunning - which it absolutely is, the level of detail and richness of the design is absolutely incredible - but many felt that the script was lacking, that it felt a little disjointed.

But here's the thing with Miyazaki films: they are almost always more than they appear. Like no other filmmaker, Miyazaki's films - with the arguable exception of Porco Rosso, which seems comparatively bland and uninspired - reward multiple viewings. Elements that may have appeared lacking, confused or missing on first viewing make far more sense the second time around, when it often becomes clear that it's not the film that is lacking but the viewer's expectations that are skewed. The just released Hong Kong DVD of the film makes it abundantly clear that this is the case with Howl's Moving Castle.

The story begins with Sophie, a nineteen-year-old girl living in a steam powered, Victorian era European city, working in the hat shop founded by her dead father. Her mother and sister have moved on but Sophie continues with her father's work because ""he would've wanted it that way."" A chance encounter with the famous and feared wizard Howl draws the attention and ire of the jealous Witch of the Wastes who curses Sophie, instantly aging her from nineteen to ninety. Sophie then sets off into the wastes herself, in search of a witch or wizard who can break her curse, befriending a magical turnip headed scarecrow before taking up with Howl himself as cleaning lady for his fantastic - and fantastically filthy - castle.

With its emphasis on magic and the fantastic, along with the early chase sequences, it is only natural to approach Howl's Moving Castle as a fantasy adventure film and there is a strong element of that to it. Thanks to the scenes depicting the war between Sophie's country and a neighboring kingdom it is also perfectly reasonable to go looking for political allegory. These are both familiar territories for Miyazaki and while both are certainly present it is vitally important that the audience understand that these elements are, to Miyazaki, interesting but secondary. Howl's Moving Castle is really, at it's core, a (ha, ha) coming of age story. In fact, you can make an argument that it is four coming of age stories with the growth of Howl and Sophie reflected, to a lesser degree, in developments with the Witch and the Howl's fire demon Calcifer. It is also a film very concerned with the importance and nature of family, another of Miyazaki's recurring themes.

The central story tracks the development of Howl and Sophie, young people who are polar opposites in many ways. Sophie has been forced to age prematurely, living a life driven by duty rather than passion. Howl on the other hand has lived his life as a perennial child, partly do to the easy life his power affords him, partly as a result of a deal he made to gain and bolster his powers as a child. Through Howl's influence Sophie learns to follow her passions, to pursue herself as well as serving others. Through Sophie, Howl learns commitment and responsibility. Both are made whole by the other.

On a technical level Howl stands rather comfortably as Miyazaki's finest work. The scope and scale of things is dazzling, the magic that is uniquely Miyazaki fully in effect. He bolsters his trademark visual style with subtle CG effects to bring the titular castle to life, filling it with a personality so strong that it becomes a character all its own. The now expected flying sequences are flawless, and Howl's magic is by turns charming, frightening and tragic. Plus the film is stocked with memorable characters with fire demon Calcifer providing a handful of classic moments. The man makes a stick with a turnip on it a powerful, emotive character and that really tells you all you need to know. If Miyazaki can make a turnip generate emotions there is no limit to what else he may accomplish.

Howl's Moving Castle still feels too fresh to really place in the context of Miyazaki's broader canon. In theme it is a fusion of My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. In terms of overall quality my hunch is that it will eventually settle somewhere in Miyazaki's top three, certainly no lower than fourth, jostling for position with the aforementioned pair and Princess Mononoke. Howl's Moving Castle once again demonstrates Miyazaki's unique gift to make films simple, universal and magical enough to appeal to the smallest children while also layering in such a depth of theme and meaning to reward the most demanding adult viewer's repeated viewings. A brilliant film, well presented and highly recommended.

By Todd Brown - Twitchfilm.net

Feature articles that mention "Howl's Moving Castle (DVD) (English & Chinese Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Howl's Moving Castle (DVD) (English & Chinese Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8.6 out of 10 (5)

Sr. Zakyou
See all my reviews


September 17, 2008

This customer review refers to Howl's Moving Castle (DVD+Exclusive Puzzle) (Hong Kong Version)
Excellent Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
I love this movie, and the puzzle is very good.
So i love to the ending theme song.
The japanese voice of Suliman is`t perfect.
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Ling
See all my reviews


June 23, 2006

This customer review refers to Howl's Moving Castle (Cantonese Dubbed) (Hong Kong Version)
Best works of Miyazaki Hayao Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Well probably not THE best but still excellent, I think "My neighbour Totoro" was the best... Howl's moving castle is literally about a moving castle and has many twists and turns in it... Mainly because you won't really know what happens until it happens... And like always, I love the sceneries of these anime movies cause it's so detailed! I highly recommen this for those who loves these movies!
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LaTavia
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January 9, 2006

This customer review refers to Howl's Moving Castle (DVD+Exclusive Puzzle) (Hong Kong Version)
Better than ever!!!! Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Each time Miyazaki Hayao put out a new animation, it gets better and better. The story was so good I watched the animation for three times straight after I bought it and got home. Worth the money to buy. However, disappointing for the long wait, for two years because Yesasia said it was coming out in July 2003 and I kept waiting.
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Brent Burge
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November 30, 2005

This customer review refers to Howl's Moving Castle Special Edition (Japan Version - English Subtitles)
2 people found this review helpful

Not so good for the English .. Customer Review Rated Bad 3 - 3 out of 10
Great Movie ! However ...
I found this edition frustrating because Disc 1 has the Japanese soundtrack in DTS ES 6.1 but with no English subtitles (in fact no subtitles at all), whereas Disc 2 only has the sountracks in 2.0 Dolby Pro-Logic (with subtitles).
Also the extras discs don't have english subtitles.
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al3xand3r
See all my reviews


September 18, 2005

This customer review refers to Howl's Moving Castle Special Edition (Japan Version - English Subtitles)
Brilliant! Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
another nice anime made by Hayao Mayazaki. an awesome storyline.
It's worth it!
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