Movies like Howl’s Moving Castle for more fantasy adventures
Studio Ghibli Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle is a film that seems straight out of a dream. The kind of dream that we don’t want to give up, and that we certainly won’t forget because its essence is so fascinating. Filled with imagination and charm, Hayao MiyazakiThe film brings to life the story created by Diana Wynne Jones rather than trying to produce an accurate replica. If we’re striving to select movies like this Oscar-nominated feature, we have to look for other worlds where the normal everyday rules don’t apply. Even if this “other world” is ours but defamiliarized to the point of becoming strange, fresh and unique. Where the real and the magical collide and blend seamlessly, with a whimsical aesthetic, simplicity at its core, but themes so grounded in reality they can whisper bittersweet truths, stir our hearts and maybe bring a tear or two to our eyes.
This recent Netflix original animated feature was brought to us by Wit Studio, the studio behind popular animated series like the first three seasons of The attack of the Titans, Vinland Sagaand more recently, Spy x Family. An undeniable visual treat, this dystopian version of Tokyo Hans Christian Andersenthe tragic fairy tale The little Mermaid even includes a certain intertextuality to hammer home the parallelisms. While it’s arguable that the story leans too heavily on the classic fairy tale, sprinkling a few recognizable anime tropes in between, Bubble actions Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle a comforting purity at the heart of its relationships, bringing to life its own unique dreamlike setting that is navigated by the characters with wonderfully fluid choreography.
If you’re looking for a lighthearted and heartfelt fantasy romance, look no further than Matthew Vaughnit is Stardust. Based on an original story by a prolific English author Neil Gaiman, Stardust nails classic fairy tale structure, boldly pulling you along on the ride without a single dull moment. It’s a film that takes the viewer by the hand and takes them to see a “whole new world” beyond the wall. Although it can be said that it does not encompass rich challenging themes like Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castleit’s a film that knows how to be fun, without being afraid of being stupid, in fact, sometimes totally embracing his stupidity. Featuring a stellar cast that includes Charlie Cox, Claire Danish, Michelle Pfeiffer, strong brandand robert deniro as a pirate, among others, StardustThe feel-good essence of is sure to make you smile.
Spirited Away (2001)
In all fairness, most of Miyazki’s filmography could have made it on the list, but Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle immediate precedent seems to be the most appropriate. If one is familiar with Miyazaki’s filmography or familiar with the vast world of animation, chances are Taken away as if by magic is far from foreign to you. It’s a film that broke records, being the highest-grossing Japanese film for nearly two decades until the release of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train in 2020. If by any chance you’ve lived under a rock or in a parallel spirit realm and haven’t seen this classic, this is probably your best bet if you want to replicate the feeling of watching Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle the nearest possible. Although the themes differ slightly, both films share a concern with the daunting experience of growing old that can resonate deeply with anyone.
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018)
Mari OkadaThe first film is another emotional exploration of mortality and the aging process. The medieval-style fantasy nature of the film looks very subtle realistically. The characters and their relationships require little to no suspension of disbelief as they have a genuine “human quality” that Miyazaki’s films also share. Unlike some other entries on this list, it doesn’t focus on a romantic couple, but rather explores the essence of love through the prism of motherhood. With beautifully smooth animation and amazing voice acting, Maquia: When the promised flower blooms challenges the audience to be sentimental and allow themselves to feel the bittersweet bond that can form between love and loss, or rather to let go of what is so dear to us because it feels like the weather l ‘required.
In Labyrintha young girl named Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) must solve a magical maze in thirteen hours to save his little brother. In the process, she learns a lot – not to take things for granted, for example – and meets some interesting and peculiar characters. This classic fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and with a screenplay written by Monty Python’s Terry Jones is full of twists and surprises. Invigorated by creativity and dynamism, the film is like a combination of Alice in Wonderland meets Wizard of Oz meets The Muppets but where the frame is a seemingly endless maze. In addition, Labyrinth intertwines in its narrative well-known cultural and artistic elements such as the illusory drawings of M. C. Escherand of course, some iconic musical moments from the legendary david bowie.
Towards the Forest of Fireflies (2011)
Realized by Takahiro Omoriwho has his hand as a director on some famous animated series like Baccano! as well as the two seasons of Durarara!!, is a short film that is sure to tickle your heartstrings. Short, simple and sweet with a pinch of poetic sadness, To the forest of fireflies is based on a one-shot manga of the same name by Yuki Midorikawa. Even if 40 minutes seems sufficient to tell the story, we end this film wishing it lasted longer. The bond that forms between a gentle spirit, Gin (Koki Uchiyama), and a young girl, Hotaru (Ayane Sakura), at the heart of the story can be compared to Howl’s (Takuya Kimura) and Sophia (Chieko Baisho) pure-hearted relationship that we loved seeing unfold on screen.
Big Fish (2003)
This one is a personal choice. If you haven’t seen it, grab some tissues, grab some popcorn, sit in front of a screen – preferably a big one – and be sure to come back.
Apart from being a shameless personal choice for its life-changing quality, it is also the endlessly imaginative magical feel of the actual set of Tim Burton2003 feature that puts it on this list. If there’s a director with an imagination that rivals Miyazaki’s, it’s Burton. Based on a 1998 novel by Daniel Wallacethe relationship in Big fish is between a father with the heart of a storyteller and his skeptical son. Like Will (Billy Crudup) does his best to discern the fictional from the factual, we are taken on an unforgettable journey to his dying father, Edward (Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney), bizarre and fascinating life.
Your Name (2016)
Screenwriter and director Makoto Shinkai has been described by some critics as Miyazaki’s successor. Although your name lacking that surreal spice that is so unique to Miyazaki, it has its own special sweetness that needs no comparison. Visually ravishing to say the least, the film is set in present-day Japan, but where dreams can be as real as reality, the past as important as the present and as important as the future. The love story between Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) and Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki) transcends the barriers of sleep and even those imposed by time. Use a niche trope without falling into clichés, your name masterfully deals with the feeling of longing, of missing someone, somewhere, something, you’ve never met while perfectly balancing the real and the fantastic to create something out of this world.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Set in 1944 in Spain, Pan’s Labyrinth is the fantasy film on this list that best shares Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle‘s anti-war overtones. Unlike some other entries, this is not a movie suitable for all family members, especially impressionable young children. Although it follows the point of view of a child, that of Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), it always illustrates violence without firing a shot, which is not done for free but with a purpose. Even if we do not personally appreciate Guillermo del ToroIn his work, there is no denying the depth of his magical worlds and the way they blend seamlessly with reality, bringing out the best, and often the darkest, in both the real and the unreal. Walk in Pan’s Labyrinth if you dare, you will probably never forget this 2 hour adventure.