Tag Archives: British accent

Howl’s Moving Castle: My First Miyazaki

Oh, woe is me for not having seen a Miyazaki film sooner. I’m back again for a few reviews (after vacation back home) and I thought I’d start with a film that, for me, was a revelation and fan-creating film. If only Disney hadn’t have put its grimy paws all over this film and let Studio Ghibli find English voice actors, this movie could’ve surpassed even my expectations. (But Disney is all about them big bones.) But it had Christian Bale, so it’s all good. This wonderful film about growing up

A house with a view.

and finding what you believe in is a more mature answer to the childish wonder we all find in cartoons and fantasy.

In this steampunk-like adventure story, we come across Sophie (Emily Mortimer), a young woman and local hatter in a town ruled by an aristocracy and the army. Magic is an agreed upon phenomenon and witches and wizards roam the countryside. After an encounter with a young, dashing, magical man named Howl (Christian Bale), Sophie finds herself swept away by the man’s charm. After encountering another witch later that night, The Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall), Sophie is turned into an old woman (voiced by Jean Simmons) and is not allowed to speak of her curse.

After this terrible twist of “Big”-like events, Sophie travels off into the countryside to escape her mother and what people would think of her. She encounters a wonderfully fun and lovable scarecrow on a stick, and, eventually, Howl and his Moving Castle. Accompanying Howl are his associated fire demon, Calcifer (Billy Crystal), and his apprentice in waiting, Markl (Josh Hutcherson). Acting as a makeshift nanny/homekeep, Sophie attempts to gain everyone’s trust, all the while searching for some way to reverse her curse. It ends up being one wild ride, indeed.

Look at that redonk detail.

I was overall impressed with this film. Like I said, I’ve never seen a Miyazaki film before and my girlfriend owned this one and wanted me to watch it. She was totally right and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a great film. Miyazaki’s style for me is completely original, unusual and quirky. His plot may have been taken from a book of the same name, but it was such a unique and off kilter movie/story/plotline that I loved what was going to happen next. It wasn’t action packed, it wasn’t magic performance filled or anything like that. It was what it was. And I appreciated that immensely.

For the most part, the voices in the film were accurately matched to each of the characters. Christian

Cosplays waiting to happen.

Bale, for the kind of frail character Howl was, was a bit of a stretch. And he wasn’t even allowed to use his British accent! What kind of crap is that when a decent percentage of the rest of the cast was British? Oh Christian Bale, will you ever be able to use your own voice? I enjoyed Billy Crystal and his comedic portrayal of Calcifer. And I was spot on again at recognizing voices when I heard both Josh Hutcherson and Crispin Freeman’s guest voicing of Turnip Head towards the end. Some of the supporting cast and background voices were a bit iffy, but overall I wasn’t disappointed.

Masterful Miyazaki.

I loved the overall feel and message of this film. The style it was going for was just right for the way this movie presented itself. The music was whimsical and the animation is above and beyond a lot of cartoon films that are done here. Why? That’s because of the attention to detail and colorful style that Miyazaki and his animation crew have created with all their projects. The film is beautiful to look at and is a visual journey in itself. Hell, this movie didn’t even need much dialogue did it? I would’ve watched it just as a silent film and enjoyed it just as much. The creative ways in which Miyazaki created a world with unique aspects and inventions left me awestruck. I’m definitely in for some treats with the rest of Miyazaki’s films. I’ll give Howl’s Moving Castle a 8.7 out of 10.

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Prometheus: Astounding

Astounding is the only word I can think of and use to describe this movie. It has stunning visual effects (didn’t see it in 3-D, didn’t need to), gut wrenching gore and horror, and this air of mystery that hangs over the whole film. It is a part of the Alien series (5th installment) but at the same time it is set apart completely as its own film. A great cast was selected and an amazing backstory/ prequel was born and thus named Prometheus.

In this epic tale of just what happened before the Alien films, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are two archaeologists who have stumbled upon something fantastic. In different locations all around the world,

It all begins here.

spanning centuries, the same symbol of a gigantic man pointing to a specific star region, as if to say “Come find us.” Interested in this speculation, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) finances the whole thing with his massive amounts of dough and creates a ship, named Prometheus.

Janek and Vickers. Opposites attract?

Piloted by Janek (Idris Elba) and watched over by the android David (Michael Fassbender), after two years of flying, the crew lands on the distant planet the star map told them to come to. Under Meredith Vickers’ (Charlize Theron) watchful eye, the crew must find what they’re looking for, even if what they’re looking for is no longer around. What they find is more than they bargained for, and the must stop the deadly trap from making its ways to Earth.

Where should I begin in my shining review of Prometheus? Well, I think that finally technology in special effects has made its way up to Ridley Scott’s vision of what he has wanted the Alien films to look like. It’s space agey, cold and

An unknown marvel awaits.

clinical, and full of wonder and horror all at the same time. The planet storm was breathtaking, the creatures and surreal caverns were creepy and mammoth sized, this movie incorporated everything you wanted to see in our race discovering a planet in… 70 years.

Noomi Rapace, giving her heart and soul to Prometheus, as only she can.

This strong cast of actors all did their jobs in developing their roles in what you would expect of a spaceship crew. Idris Elba did a great job as the ship’s commander. Slightly minor, but he didn’t take shit from anybody as you would expect. Charlize Theron (in one of the only roles I applaud her in) plays the oddly robotic and bitchy overseer of the entire operation. She tows the line between sci-fi amazonian and unemotional human in a very convincing performance. Michael Fassbender stole the show again as the android, fully immersing himself in what Theron had to hint at. His intrigued and distanced character embodies what sci-fi novelists and movie makers have seen as a human robot for years (think Ian Holm in the original, but add the quirkiness of Jude Law in A.I.) And then there’s Noomi Rapace. This Swedish actress from The Dragon Tatoo series put her heart and soul into the part. She tired herself out, did some terrible yet necessary things to her body, and did it all with a British accent she had a coach for. Seeing her dive into a character that has to deal with all these terrible revelations was both disparaging and inspiring. She didn’t let what was happening put her down or stop her from her end goal.

The only true scene I wanted to see in 3-D.

One person I was particularly impressed with was Guy Pearce. I’ve loved him since The Time Machine remake (and Memento, of course) and think he was born to play in sci-fi films. His air of bravado and poise resonates in entitled sci-fi characters. And not to mention he’s playing an old man for 15 minutes of the film that you would barely recognize. And a great little cameo from another one of my favorite actors (since Watchmen), Patrick Wilson.

The music was orchestratedly stunning. At all the moments you feel fear or exhilaration in this newly discovered planet, it fills in with the proper soundtrack. Much as Gabe would describe it as a soundscape

No words can describe it.

that fills in all the spots of your imagination, this soundtrack did that for me. (Was it similar to the other Alien films? Let me know.)

Another thing that was so great about this film (haven’t I said enough?) is that you don’t have to be a die hard Alien fan to watch this movie. This movie itself can get you hooked in (being a prequel and all). I’ve only seen the first Alien and the AVP series (always been more of a Predator fan, sorry), and this movie makes me want to watch all of them. This movie tackles the mythology and world of a film that is also a film! Something made up and fantasized analyzing something else in the same manner? That’s wild! And I thought it was so well done and handled from such a organic and basic place that it made itself into this mythological God that could spark films and analysis for years to come. Until it becomes a reality.

… What started it all.

With all this ranting and raving about the film, why haven’t you X-ed out of my blog and already started up your car to go see this in theaters? You need to see this in order to boost the ratings and maybe someday prove that a genre other than drama can win the Oscar for best movie of the year. Because I would argue that this film is in the running for 2012. Just saying. I have no complaints and was mesmerized from the start of the film. Go see it. Now. 10 out of 10.