Dear Howl's Moving Castle: Whitly's Open-Letter to Yet ANOTHER Otaku

Posted on August 29, 2012 - 7:38pm by Whitly

TLDR;

 The following is a long-winded response to a reviewer on the internet. Should you have the stomach for that, it's just another work from your favourite captain in a Tanooki suit...

Hey g1s! Whitly here! These last few months, JesuOtaku-aka, my favourite reviewer online/the one person I can never shut up about-posted a series of vlogs reviewing Studio Ghibli’s to-date resume. I can’t say I agree with them all, there’s no chance in h*ll that Grave of the Fireflies and Princess Mononoke are perfect movies, but the reviews are insightful, informative, in-depth and can be readily found on her Blip channel for no fee whatsoever. And, as always, they’re a reminder of why I’m subscribed to her on YouTube in the first place.

That said, there’s one movie in particular that I feel is worth responding over:

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*inb4fanboyrage*

Before I get into today’s topic, two points need to be made:

Firstly, I adore Studio Ghibli. The full reason…is something that’d take an entire blog to explain, hence, not appropriate right now, but the gist is that feel like what Disney could and should be if they didn’t feel restrained by their family-friendly image and took more drastic risks. And, with the exception of one-maybe two-movies, I’ve enjoyed their entire resume that I’ve seen to-date, even if I don’t particularly care for a few of them. Howl’s Moving Castle is, obviously, no exception, despite it being one of my lesser-favourites because of its massive flaws that I’ll cover shortly. I’m also aware that I promised in V4 to never write another Studio Ghibli-exclusive blog again, but I’m a liar with way too much free-time on my hands.

Secondly, JesuOtaku is one of my favourite reviewers online. I don’t always agree with her, I more-frequently don’t because of her snobbish tendencies at times, but she’s insightful, intelligent, elaborate and-here’s the kicker-incredibly-honest. And given the stuffy mindset that critics are frequently victims of, that says a lot. So it’s always difficult trying to counter a well thought-out piece of hers, but I’ll take a chance with this one. Besides, I have a lot to say about it.

Merry-Go-Round – Howl’s Moving Castle

*Ahem*

“Dear JesuOtaku;

It’s Whitly. First of all, I know that I frequently bombard you with questions and comments via Twitter, Formspring and email, but be assured that it’s not meant as malice or pestering. I really enjoy listening to and reading what you have to say on anything, and that’s my-ahem-honest way of showing that. Don’t take that the wrong way, I already know you have a boyfriend and…uh…

*Cough* ANYWAY!

Not too long ago, as part of your ongoing series on Studio Ghibli films, I mentioned that I’d write a response to your thoughts on Howl’s Moving Castle. Ignoring any animosity I’d have toward you for liking it, I do too, I felt it was worth giving a contrary take on the movie so as to engage conversation. Now that your review of the movie is finally online, I’ve decided to follow-through with this. Just so we’re clear, this isn’t so much a direct response as it is a response to the internet, so if I sound somewhat patronizing at points, this is a collective address. In other words, don’t take what I say the wrong way.

Just to give some background on my experience with this movie, I first watched it two years ago due to the extra vacation time I had before university started. I was bored, had just seen Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky for the first times respectively and was on a quest to watch as many movies from Hayao Miyazaki as humanly possible. Since the then-standing Blockbuster chain near my house only had four of his movies in stock, two of which I’d already seen, I went for Howl’s Moving Castle. I ended up watching it, buying it and watching it 4 more times since, but my stance varies depending on my mood and anxiety levels on a given day. I find they fluctuate from ‘enjoyable’, to ‘flustered’, to somewhere between the two each time. And, of course, the flaws become more and more apparent as well.

Now, since you’ve hinted at it on several occasions, there are two notions about this movie that, quite frankly, are nothing short of bullsh*t:

The first is that Howl’s Moving Castle is one of Studio Ghibli’s least-popular movies. Just going by the studio’s fan-reception on IMDb alone, this is an absolute farce:

Spirited Away-8.6/10

Princess Mononoke-8.4/10

Grave of the Fireflies-8.4/10

My Neighbor Totoro-8.2/10

Howl’s Moving Castle-8.1/10

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind-8.1/10

Castle in the Sky-8.1/10

Now, this isn’t everything the studio’s made, but rather the 7 titles that, surprisingly, have cracked the IMDb Top 250 at some point in time. But look at where Howl’s Moving Castle is on this sucker: just going by the site alone, it’s at #194 out of 250. That’s already higher than most anime/animated movies in general, let-alone regular movies. That’s Pixar-level high, even higher than Beauty and the Beast (aka, your favourite Disney movie.) And given that movies don’t crack the IMDb Top 250 easily, #194 is more than enough to show that it’s not under-appreciated.

Need more proof? Let’s look at some other evidence. First, the user score on Rotten Tomatoes:

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Next, the user aggregate on Metacritic:

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I rest my case.

The second claim is that Howl’s Moving Castle is underrated, and that it doesn’t get enough love from critics. Again, this is a farce:

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These are from regular and top critics respectively on Rotten Tomatoes.

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And this is the aggregate from Metacritic. To compare, the former is better received than Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (82%), while the latter is better received than Princess Mononoke (76). That’s not underrated.

Both claims tie in with how I want to swiftly kick the a**es of the anti-Avatar camp for the same-yet-reverse reason: shooting their mouths off with no clue of what the f*** they’re talking about.

Interestingly enough, I find it both fascinating and obnoxious the amount of defense there is for this movie. Fascinating in the sense that it’s varied, and obnoxious in that it’s dronish, extreme and excessive. Whenever the movie is brought up online, swarms of apologists and die-hards rush to Howl’s Moving Castle like it’s a child struggling to stay afloat at sea. Arguments to defend it include, “It’s not following conventional storytelling,” “A movie doesn’t have to be linear,” “If you don’t like this movie, even with its problems, you lack soul,” and my personal favourite, “It’s better than Ponyo, critics are just being stupid about it”. Funny, considering I don’t recall its detractors bringing Ponyo into the equation anyway (the two movies are very different beasts, despite being directed by the same man.) And let’s not forget, critics are people too: they’re entitled to their own opinions, however brash and far-out as they may be.

But nope, if a critic hates it, he/she is automatically wrong. No reason why, the person’s just wrong. I think this sentiment is best demonstrated by the famous Roger Ebert, who was chastised on both YouTube AND Rotten Tomatoes for not being able to recommend Howl’s Moving Castle to anyone. It’s like no one even listened to why:

 

'A parade of weird characters comes onstage to do their turns, but the underlying plot grows murky and, amazingly for a Miyazaki film, we grow impatient at spectacle without meaning.'

That’s pretty sound reasoning. But if it needs clarification, I’ll simplify: Howl’s Moving Castle is confusing and means very little when it’s over. And Ebert gives an elaborate explanation for why that is, adding that fans of Miyazaki will eat it up anyway because of how beautiful it is to look at. So how did fans respond?

*Singsong* EBERT WROTE A BAD REVIEW, STONE HIM, STONE HIM! EBERT IS A SMELLY POO, MAKE HIM GO AWAY! MAKE HIM GO AWAY, MAKE HIM GO AWAY! BOIL HIM IN A GIANT POT, MAKE HIM GO AWAY!

Yep! No attempt at trying to understand his point of view, just that he didn’t like the movie and, therefore, has no soul. But you’re more rational than that, even acknowledging a lot of what I’ve just mentioned. Therefore, because appealing to you takes logic and reason, I’ll stop dilly-dallying and go in-depth about it myself:

My first experience with Howl’s Moving Castle dates back two years this coming September. I’d recently become interested in Hayao Miyazaki’s work after having watched a copy of Spirited Away that was lying in my basement, and I made it my personal goal to watch everything he’d directed. Since my then-local Blockbuster only had 4 of his movies in stock, and since I’d already seen 2 of them, I went by store recommendation and rented this one. 2 days later, I returned it with a look of dissatisfaction. No matter how many times I’ve watched it since, the bitter taste in my mouth kept returning in some shape or form. It’s a very-flawed, very over-drawn, incredibly obnoxious movie, and most of that hinges on its immense story problems.

Howl’s Moving Castle begins with an interesting close-up of a giant contraption, followed by a wide-shot of that same contraption roaming through a shepherd’s field. From here, we’re introduced to our heroine: a young hatter named Sophie. Sophie’s a studious, serious, dry woman who’s dedicated to her work, which means that-essentially-she’s the most boring person you’d ever meet. After some banter with her fellow workers, which involves a mysterious person named Howl at some point, Sophie takes it upon herself to visit Letty, aka her younger sister, at the bar where she works. Two soldiers, who both try to hit on her, stop her in her tracks. A strange man with blond hair intervenes and offers to be her escort, but the simple journey becomes a chase when some mysterious-looking creatures follow them. After arriving at her sister’s work, via a walk in the clouds no less, Sophie is lectured by Letty of the dangers of wizards, particularly the “heart-eating Howl”. She then heads home, meets an ugly-looking hag, named The Witch of the Waste, and is transformed into an old woman out of jealousy.

The movies starts like any of Miyazaki’s other works, one mired in fantasy and magic, but it runs into one of its greatest problem in the first 10 minutes: the pacing is flustered. To compare it to my 4 favourite films of Miyazaki, Spirited Away has Chihiro meet Haku in the first 10 minutes. Princess Mononoke has Prince Ashitaka’s curse explained in the first 10 minutes. Castle in the Sky has Pazu witness the power of Sheeta’s pendant in the first 10 minutes. And Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind has Nausicaa taming an Ohmu in the first 10 minutes. Essentially, every Miyazaki movie has a major plot reveal in the first 10 minutes, moving the story along accordingly.

Every Miyazaki movie, that is, save this one.

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Yep, nothing's special about her at all…

Let’s make this clear right now: right from the get-go, I knew something was wrong with the pacing in this movie. I’ve learned to take it in stride since, but when the movie takes roughly 10 minutes to get its plot going and another 10 to actually keep it going, there’s a problem. But this movie’s guilty of that. It’s not like the first 10 minutes were entirely useless, we see Howl for the first time here, but the movie doesn’t start to go forward until Sophie’s curse comes into play. And it just gets worse from there.

Anyway, Sophie leaves home under the guise of ‘a bad cold’ and wanders to the wastes to break the curse. She stumbles upon a scarecrow with a turnip head and asks him to find a place to stay. The scarecrow complies and shows her the giant contraption from earlier, which turns out to be Howl’s castle. She enters it and discovers a fire demon named Calcifer, who promises to help break her curse on the condition that she do the same for him. The following morning, a kid named Markl-who just so happens to be Howl’s apprentice-discovers her sleeping near the fireplace. Howl arrives shortly after, and they engage in the best breakfast they’ve had in ages.

And now the movie finally gets somewhere…supposedly.

This is the movie’s second problem: even after it gets somewhere, it never really has a guided focus. Howl’s Moving Castle wants you to believe it’s a romance. It wants you to believe it’s an anti-war movie. It wants you to also believe it’s a coming of age story. But none of these are given a chance to weave together, instead being constantly juggled around in hopes that they somehow work. That’s not called clever writing, it’s just plain annoying.

And it’s a problem because no other Miyazaki has this issue; true, blending themes together is a staple of his, but it usually fits: Kiki’s Delivery Service was about a witch delivering things for a living, but it was also a thought-provoking drama/compelling coming-of-age story. My Neighbor Totoro discussed the relationship between children and nature, but it also used it to celebrate nostalgia. Even Ponyo, which you don’t like, managed to balance environmentalism with respecting the wishes of your children. But Howl’s Moving Castle? It tries balancing its themes, but there’s too much going on for it to pan out successfully.

There’s also the issue of padding that exists in the first half of the movie. Several scenes feel way too long; for example, there’s the aforementioned 10 minutes that start the movie. After being turned into an old hag, Sophie stares at herself in the mirror thrice, the first two shrieking and assuring herself that she’s ‘got to stay calm.’ Calcifer cries out for more firewood during a cleaning scene that drags on for longer than it needs to. Little things like these normally don’t bother me in Miyazaki movies, but this one’s so slow that they pad unnecessarily. I know that anime is supposed to be cut like art-house cinema, but this is too much!

However, nothing compares to the excessiveness of this ditty:

Forgive the crappy quality, YouTube likes to make things difficult these days. (Courtesy of CrazyAnimefreak73.)

I know you need no introduction to this, but to those unfamiliar with it, here goes: Howl is depicted as a pretty boy with blond hair…for the first 40 or so minutes of the movie. Right after Sophie takes on the role of cleaning lady, Howl tells Markl to make sure she doesn’t get carried away. She doesn’t listen, and then proceeds to clean his bathroom. Once Howl takes his routine bath and realizes that his hair dye is messed up, he runs out of the bathroom in a screaming fit, yells at Sophie for disobeying him and starts turning into a puddle of goo in agony. Sophie runs out to go cry, claiming that Howl’s got it better off than her in terms of beauty, then returns to find Howl sulking in his own slime. So she carries him up to the bathroom to clean him off.

This scene always bothers me: You mentioned that Howl’s character is based on a self-obsessive troupe that exists in Japan, but what’s the purpose of-okay, it does serve a purpose, which is to set-up the next scene about how Howl’s too selfish and scared to commit to anything. But why does it need to drag as long as it does? From beginning to end, i.e. from Howl freaking out to Sophie dragging him back upstairs, the scene takes roughly 5 minutes. Couldn’t it have been just a little bit shorter, especially since it’s never brought up again?

Like I said, horrid pacing.

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Our hero, everybody. Isn’t he handsome? *Makes gagging noise*

If that’s not bad enough, Howl’s Moving Castle has yet another problem: feeling rushed. Remember the curse that Sophie was put under? It came right out of nowhere. I understand that Sophie can’t fight against The Witch of the Waste, i.e. the witch that cursed her, but this is too sudden. And the movie never explains why she was cursed, assuming you’d figure it out on your own. Way to play fair, Miyazaki!

Another example is when Sophie, Howl and Markl are eating breakfast. Howl asks Sophie to remove the piece of paper from her pocket, which is confusing because the movie never insinuates that she had one prior, and give it to him. No sooner does she do so when the paper zaps his hand, falls to the table and turns into ‘scorch marks’. Howl reads the marks, wipes them away with his hand and tells Calcifer to move the castle east. Just as quickly as it’s brought up, this is never mentioned again. Sophie and Markl have a confusing chat, whereupon Sophie gets mad because she can’t reveal the curse, and…that’s it.

Again, way to make sense.

I apologize if I’m being too wordy, but that’s only because this movie is so confusing. You once mentioned in a Formsprings post that Howl’s Moving Castle starts falling apart in its last third. I disagree; true, the last third is where everything is beyond repair, but there were signs of danger in the first half of the movie. In fact, that’s why I’m covering it first. Believe it or not, the problems only start escalating right around the 45-minute mark.

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In other words, right around here.

So after a talk with Howl over visiting his superior, something that’s brought up several times in the first-half of the movie, Sophie decides to go see Madame Sullivan on his behalf. Along the way, she meets up with The Witch of the Waste. They banter about Sophie’s curse and how it can’t be reversed, then make their way up the agonizing steps to the king’s palace. Once there, The Witch of the Waste, exhausted from moving her fat a** up the steps to begin with, sits down in a nearby chair to relax. She then has bright lights shone in her face and ends up a-*sigh*-shriveled prune sack when the procedure is over.

Yes, it turns out that she wasn’t the main antagonist, which is irksome. The real threat was Madame Sullivan, a power-hungry sorceress who zaps witches and wizards of their powers if they refuse to co-operate in her foolish war over…um…a prince gone missing, if I recall correctly? Anyway, Howl shows his face and nearly suffers the similar fate as The Witch of the Waste. He’s saved at the last minute when Sophie shields his eyes, and the two of them leave with The Witch of the Waste and a dog name Heen as fugitives.

So great, we now have a new villainess to carry things forward. This’d be fine…IF SHE WERE ACTUALLY THREATENING! Seriously, Sullivan’s about as scary as a sack of potatoes. She lacks charisma, she lacks a believable motive, her character is minimal and she isn’t very classy! She’s a thug with magical powers, albeit one who controls a large fleet of former witches and wizards. Not to mention, she’s only in three scenes: once during her conversation with Sophie, once when she sends out a dispatch party after her and Howl and once near the end for about a minute. In other words, why wasn’t The Witch of the Waste the main antagonist? THAT’D MAKE SENSE!

*Puff* *Pant* Sorry, I needed to vent there.

From here on in, it’s just a downward spiral to narrative h*ll. Entertaining, yes. Boring, no. But it’s still a mess. But since most of it is repetitive and based around Howl and Sophie trying to not get caught, I’ll just discuss my biggest problems instead of rambling.

Firstly, there’s the matter of Sophie’s curse. The details are never really addressed, which is confusing on its own, but I’ve come to a conclusion-after my now 5 viewings-that they’re directly tied into her lack of self-confidence. As Sophie gains more confidence, she gets younger. And as she loses confidence, she gets older. Interesting enough, right?

The problem is that it’s inconsistent. And I don’t mean in the sense that her confidence is inconsistent, but rather her age. Young Sophie is supposed to be 18 years old, going by what I’ve read about the source material on the internet, while her older self is supposed to be 90. So why doesn’t she always look her age? Better, why does her hair colour stay white near the end of the movie? Considering that she ages and reverts so quickly, she should notice this! I would!

To put things into perspective, Miyazaki movies are usually self-aware enough to understand when their primary objective has been achieved; in Castle in the Sky, Sheeta and Pazu acknowledge the presence of Laputa, both when they arrive at it and when they have to destroy it. In Princess Mononoke, Ashitaka’s curse is never forgotten, and it goes away at the end of the movie. Even My Neighbor Totoro keeps the sick mother’s presence at the forefront. But Sophie doesn’t acknowledge her age discrepancy until Howl informs her of it in the movie’s last 3 minutes. In other words, it’s a problem.

Moving on from there, The Witch of the Waste’s character is equally inconsistent. Near the end of the first half of the movie, right when she sits down in that chair, her powers are sapped and she becomes an ugly vegetable. Her character now is that she’s supposed to be mentally incapacitated, key word being “supposed”. And there are moments where she is, even muttering babyish things like “Nice doggy!” and “What a pretty fire!” repeatedly. But then she gives a speech to Sophie about how she’s in-love, smokes a giant cigar and grabs Calcifer when she discovers that he’s Howl’s heart.

Um…what?

Just so we’re clear, I’m fine with character personalities flip-flopping if it’s in character. But The Witch of the Waste’s character, like Sophie’s aging, isn’t consistent at all! And this is baffling because it’s hard to feel bad for her for her predicament. It’s one thing that she’s not the main antagonist, but when you can’t really sympathize with a recurring character’s situation there’s a problem.

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Don’t look at me like that, you’re not winning pity points…

Next, there’s the ending. It turns out that the scarecrow from before was actually the kidnapped prince, which always irks me. It doesn’t help that his spell was broken by a simple kiss from Sophie, which I’ve always considered lazy writing because it’s tacked-on at the last second. He then accepts Sophie love for Howl casually because, ‘Hearts change.’ Oh, and he leaves abruptly to go end the war, making his appearance completely pointless.

Again, what?

But perhaps the one part that bothers me the most is that, tying in with the scarecrow ordeal, Sullivan realizes that the gig is up and calls off the war. No resolution, she just ends it on the spot. Even if all the aforementioned plotholes could be excused, this can’t. It’s a cop-out ending, plain and simple.

Let’s compare this with the ending to Spirited Away. In Spirited Away, Chihiro passes Yubaba’s test and goes across the river with Haku. He tells her that he can’t go with her, then informs her not to turn around until she leaves through the gate she entered from. Chihiro goes back with her parents and leaves to go to their new house, but not before turning back and her scrunchy glistens in the wind. The movie doesn’t openly state that she’s learned anything, but the scrunchy suggests it indirectly. It’s ambiguous, but an ending nonetheless.

Now, let’s say that the movie were to openly go, “Chihiro didn’t learn anything, so this was just a waste of time! Hahahahahahah!” Wouldn’t you be pissed off? Heck, to use your favourite Miyazaki movie of all time, what if, at the end of Princess Mononoke, someone were to say, “Wakey-wakey, Ashitaka! The fight between man and nature was just a dream, you have to live with your curse forever!” Wouldn’t that be irritating? Because that’s exactly what this feels like: an ending that sh*ts in the face of everything prior. It invalidates the conflict without resolution, and it leaves a bitter taste each time I watch it. THAT’S inexcusable, all other plotholes be damned!

Essentially, Howl’s Moving Castle suffers from an awkward conundrum: it’s a 119-minute movie, one with a 60-minutes worth of plot, that feels like it, ultimately, should be 180-minutes long. It’s simultaneously rushed and padded, it leaves key details out of the equation, the ending-while sweet-makes little sense, and it tries too hard to be something it can’t live up to. In other words, it’s a classic example of an over-achiever, the movie that comes to a dinner party with a greedy stomach, fills its plate to the brim with food, only eats half of it and throws out the rest because its full. On top of that, the pacing is erratic, there are enough plotholes to play a drinking game that’ll end you up in the hospital and the structure is gonzo. It’s ambitious movie, yes, but if ambition were all that’s needed to make a movie good, then The Passion of the Christ would be a masterpiece; besides, you know then saying, “Better to do one thing right than twelve things wrong?” This is a classic example of that, but it does 1 thing right and 12 things wrong at the same time.

And I apologize for doing this again, but let’s bring up Ponyo for good measure. Was that movie silly and cute? Yes. Was it not as deep as this one? Again, yes. But while I wouldn’t consider it one of Miyazaki’s better movies-in fact, I take issue with various things about it-at the same time it has more focus than this one. It understood what it wanted to do, it knew what it had to do needed to get there and it accomplished that goal with little-to-no difficulty whatsoever. It’s not as daring as Howl’s Moving Castle, but I consider it to be superior for those very reasons.

So with all the story issues I mentioned, which-admittedly-doesn’t even cover half of what’s wrong with this movie, you’d expect me to loathe it. And, to be quite honest, I do…to some extent. But, surprisingly, there’s also a lot to like in Howl’s Moving Castle:

For one thing, the movie is a visual and musical masterpiece. Artistically, Howl’s Moving Castle has all the makings of a Hayao Miyazaki classic-incredibly detailed animation, fluid character movement, vivid backgrounds, a real sense of environment, etc. It’s as if he forgot to grow up and kept his childhood imagination intact. Speaking from the perspective of an adult who still behaves like a 6 year-old at times, I respect and admire that. The musical score, while rather complicated, matches the usual standard that Joe Hisaishi is famous for in his Miyazaki collaborations. It’s an orchestral feast for the ears, enough that it’s main theme, Merry-Go-Round, is my favourite track from all 9 Miyazaki movies he’s composed for.

Regarding the English dub, this is also one of Disney’s finest. Like you said yourself, the casting was well picked, the actors and actresses read their lines very well and there isn’t a flat line to be had here. Arguably, it’s my favourite of the Disney-Studio Ghibli dubs. The script is obviously loose and interpretive, just going by your words, but it’s never detrimental to anything important. In short, no complaints.

Moving on to the actual movie, the characters, for the most part, are very interesting and fleshed-out. Sophie, for example, makes a 180 and goes from being bland and boring to well rounded and interesting. Howl, whom I always find obnoxious at the start, has surprising depth and becomes just as likable. And the two share a natural chemistry, which is invigorating. Even side-characters like Markl, or the ever-funny Calcifer, are likable, along with The Witch of the Waste (to some extent.) H*ll, Heen-Sullivan’s errand dog-is awesome, which is weird considering that his purpose is to just look cute and huff constantly.

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“Hyff!”

Additionally, the themes, or the ones that don’t fall flat, are executed quite well. There’s the overlaying element of romance, which is the movie’s strongest suit, but there’s also coming of age, the burdens of war, what it means to believe in yourself, the consequences of shirking responsibility, the importance of setting priorities straight and the “Alice in Wonderland” feel of Sophie’s journey. The themes vary as far as how successfully they’re executed, but they’re ever-present and still very clever.

Furthermore, the movie succeeds at two, very key elements: evoking pathos, and being entertaining. The former is best shown through the relationship that Sophie and Howl share, so much so that you care when bad things happen to them. The latter, while a bit tricky due to the pacing, is always present. Both become harder to remain constant the more the story falls apart, but there’s enough going on that-admittedly-I still enjoyed sitting through it regardless.

The issue, therefore, is a matter of everything not being as firm as it should. Its heart is in the right place, but its head is everywhere. This is an example of a movie that needed some more script revisions before completion, instead of being shoved out with a half-a**ed end-result. I’ve also heard that fans of the source material-i.e. the Dianne Wynn-Jones novel-were rather disappointed with the movie, but, that aside, it’s still just a mish-mash of poor storytelling mixed with well-developed characters and high-end production value. It suffers from many of the issues that I found Tales from Earthsea to be guilty of, but the fact that it’s a good movie (instead of an awful one) only make its problems more blatantly obvious and frustrating to talk about.

And that’s my ultimate problem with this movie. Is it good? Yes. Entertaining? Yes. But is it up to Miyazaki’s usual standards? No. And calling it non-linear doesn’t excuse that, as even non-linear movies-such as Pulp Fiction-have to have some kind of continuum in order to actually work.

Overall, I hope you take what I say to heart and realize why I disagree with your stance. It probably won’t be hard, your review was very self-aware, but perhaps this’ll shed further light on the subject and help you understand the complexity of the situation a bit more. I won’t stop watching your reviews, you’re always insightful, but I felt like sharing my thoughts with you.

I’d also like to inform die-hard fans of this movie to not get so worked up over people criticizing it. Every movie is flawed, and this is no exception. And just because someone calls out said flaws, doesn’t make it an excuse to tear into him or her without valid reasoning. So calm down and think it over first, you’ll probably feel a lot better once you do that. Okay?

Sincerely;

Whitly, aka Whitly12, aka CaptainRacoonWhitly.

P.S. When do you plan on making another lyrics video? Because, assuming it’s sometime soon, I’d like to give it a shot if you’d let me. Just saying…”

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Well, that should do it for this letter! Until next time, this is Whitly saying, “Read, comment and goodnight!”

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“Captain Raccoon to the Rescue!” *Flies off*

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