I remember watching The Last Unicorn at a friend's house on VHS when we were kids. I remember it being terrifying and trippy all at the same time. Cer...moreI remember watching The Last Unicorn at a friend's house on VHS when we were kids. I remember it being terrifying and trippy all at the same time. Certain images stayed with me for a long, long time. And, even though I somehow forgot his name over the years, I always remembered the ineptness of poor Smendrick.
For years I have been telling myself that I need to sit down and read the book that inspired that strange movie from my childhood.
And now that I have, I am a little sad and a little disappointed. This is still a good book, and there are beautiful, moving, wonderful passages and moments, but I can't put my finger on why I don't love it the way I thought I would, or should.
Perhaps it's because the story doesn't feel as frightening now as it did all those years ago. And the book doesn't invoke those same feelings of terror mixed with wonder that the film game me. Maybe I'm less of a Molly Grue than I thought - maybe I can't see beauty in unexpected places. I keep wanting this book to be that movie that mesmerized me... (Sadly, the characters in my head actually look like they are animated...straight out of that same film. I simply can't see them in my own mind's eye without those huge Rankin/Bass noses!)
This is a good reason why one should always read the book before seeing the movie...(less)
Ages ago, when I first started dating my boyfriend, we fell in love with the films of Hayao Miyazaki. We decided to go to a screening of Howl's Moving...moreAges ago, when I first started dating my boyfriend, we fell in love with the films of Hayao Miyazaki. We decided to go to a screening of Howl's Moving Castle as one of our early "dinner and a movie" dates. Years later, while watching Ponyo and My Neighbour Toroto, I got the thinking about Howl. I could remember little to none about this film, but I remembered it being exceptional weird and wonderful and twisted.
Off I went to the library to borrow myself a copy. Upon watching it, I realized it was also a book! And not a Japanese book, but an English one! Back to the library!
Sitting down to read, I was pleasantly surprised to find things starting off in pretty much the same way. Sophie is sad, lonely and bored working in her family's hat shop, but she feels there's really nowhere else to go or nothing else to do. We already know that Howl is a scoundrel, eating pretty girls hearts and lurking in his creepy castle that moves around the edges of town.
The Witch of the Waste shows up, has a row with Sophie, and smacks a curse down on her that Sophie can discuss with no one. Plus, Sophie has no idea how to rid herself of said curse.
And from here on in, things get weird. In both the book and the film. Both get a little hard to follow. The storyline starts to get a little sloppy and I couldn't figure out why anyone was doing anything. Or, not doing anything.
The film keeps a lot of interesting images and ideas from the book - my favourites being Howl becoming all morose and green slimy and the fact that the castle is, in fact, in about four different places all at the same time.
Usually I like a book more than a film it's based on, even if I've read the book after the fact. With Howl's Moving Castle, I can't figure out if I liked the book more or the film. Though they were so similar at the start, they ended up taking very different directions.(less)