‘From Page to Screen‘ is a brand new feature which has been in the pipeline for quite a while. BCC’s guest reviewer, Jo, will be reading a book followed by watching a movie adaptation and then writing a review about both. This feature will be posted once a month.
This month’s page to screen is ‘Howl’s Moving Castle‘ by Diana Wynne Jones and the movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
Guest Review by Jo
Howl is one of the most delightfully charming, yet arrogant and selfish characters I have read. These traits may not sound too appealing, but in this gorgeous fantasy they make for one fantastic character.
Howl’s Moving Castle – The Book
Set in the land of Ingary, Sophie lives and works in a hat shop and is resigned to her fate. As the eldest sister, it’s commonly known in Ingary that she will fail and have a pretty miserable life. After an encounter with the Witch of the Waste, Sophie is cursed and changed into an old woman and knowing she cannot remain at home in her new appearance she seeks out the shelter of the Castle that moves along Ingary’s hillside and the infamous wizard Howl.
I’ve mentioned that Howl is a favourite character of mine, but Sophie deserves a round of applause too. She’s a tough, ‘take no prisoners’ kind of gal – my favourite! Sophie may be old in appearance after being cursed, but she retains her courage and fire and doesn’t let her curse diminish her personality.
Howl really is a puzzle. At the start we hear of his legend, that he leads young girls astray and devours them.But when we first meet him, this is far from what we see or think! He’s a very vain, self-obsessed thing, but so clever and witty that you forget the arrogance and see the charm. He’s really interesting, and he’s interactions with Sophie and the Witch are really such fun to read.
‘Howls’ Moving Castle‘ is full of magic, mystery and mayhem and the plot is rather batty, but it’s what makes it such an amazing book! The character stand prominent too, it would have been easy for them to get lost in such an intricate and fast paced story and this is due to Diana Wynne Jones. Her writing is just as charismatic and wonderful as Howl. Pure Magic.
Howl’s Moving Castle – The Movie
Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki is in charge for our movie adaptaion and he has done a really great job. It’s very dream-like, which fits the feel of the book. Miyazaki does take liberties with the story, and with characters so in the end it did feel like it was his own story, with a nod to the novel. This isn’t a bad thing, not at all, I enjoyed the movie greatly and Howl and Sophie’s romance is wonderfully done, understated in a way that Miyazaki is known for. He doesn’t have to spellthings out for us, he lets us just enjoy the story. What we get with the movie is Miyazaki’s version of the story, which is a work of art itself.
For me, the book reigns supreme. I appreciate, and very much enjoyed the movie. It’s always interesting to see someone’s interpretation of a popular book and the movie didn’t disappoint – it’s full of fantastic animation and that alone is a joy to behold. The book has such an atmosphere and magic all of its own that it would be impossible for anyone to get everything on celluloid, and I think if everything was in the movie it would be confusing! In the book, it just fits perfectly.