Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. Japan, 2004. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, DENTSU Music And Entertainment, Mitsubishi, Nippon Television Network, Studio Ghibli, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, Tokuma Shoten, d-rights. Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki, based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones. Cinematography by Atsushi Okui. Produced by Rick Dempsey, Ned Lott, Toshio Suzuki. Music by Jos Hisaishi. Production Design by Yoji Takeshige, Noboru Yoshida. Film Editing by Takeshi Seyama. Academy Awards 2005. New York Film Critics Awards 2005.
Hayao Miyazaki follows his Oscar-winning Spirited Away with this monumentally entertaining animated drama. A young milliner crosses the path of an evil witch and is transformed into an old woman, leaving her no choice but to seek out a young, heartless wizard and live with him in his walking castle until he can help her. She begins work as the wizard’s housekeeper while he assists his King in the country’s war effort, but the witch herself is not far behind trying to catch up and ruin them both. There’s really no good way to sum up the fantastic story or describe the beautiful animation, you just have to watch it (preferably the Japanese dub with English subtitles). The combination of imagination, heart and technical expertise are absolutely unparalleled.