Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nice Movie

WARNING : Spoilers Ahead

Eighteen-year-old Sophie Hatter, who runs her late father's hat shop, encounters the mysterious wizard Howl by chance. He takes a liking to her. This attracts the attention of the Witch of the Waste, who has been seeking Howl's heart for herself. She curses Sophie, turning her into an old woman. As the curse prevents her from telling anyone of her true form, Sophie decides to run away. Along the way, she befriends an animated scarecrow she names Turnip Head and they come across Howl's castle. Once inside, Sophie meets the fire demon Calcifer who powers the castle and recognizes that Sophie has been cursed. Calcifer offers to break the curse in exchange for Sophie's help in breaking the pact between him and Howl. When Howl appears, Sophie announces that she is the castle's new cleaning lady. As she adjusts to life in the castle, she discovers that the front door is a magic portal leading to several places. She also learns that Howl is vain and immature, and that the Witch of the Waste's vengeance is due to Howl's past behavior towards her.
Howl receives summons from the King, who orders his various assumed identities to fight in the war started by the disappearance of Crown Prince Justin. Howl refuses to fight and suspects that it is also a trap set by his mentor, the King's Head Sorceress, Madame Suliman, who in many ways rules the kingdom from behind the throne. Howl sends Sophie as his mother to decline. At the palace, Sophie runs into the Witch of the Waste, who upon confrontation reveals that she cannot reverse the spell she cast on Sophie. As Madame Suliman is against the forming of pacts between sorcerers/sorceresses and demons, she punishes the Witch by draining all of the latter's power. Losing her (more) youthful facade, the Witch returns to her true age, and becomes a seemingly senile old woman. Suliman tells Sophie that Howl will meet the same fate if he does not contribute to the war. As she is telling Madame Suliman that Howl is kind (albeit selfish and cowardly) and has noble intentions, Sophie briefly reverts to her youthful self. She turns back into an old woman when Madame Suliman mockingly states that Sophie is in love with Howl. Howl then arrives to rescue Sophie, with the Witch and Suliman's asthmatic lapdog Heen tagging along. He gives Sophie a magical ring that would guide her to Calcifer. Suliman, knowing Sophie's true identity, begins tracking her to get to Howl.
Sophie learns through Calcifer and dreams that Howl transforms into a bird-like creature to escape pursuers and interfere in the war, but each transformation leaves it more difficult for him to return to human form. Sophie's love for Howl and the others at the castle have gradually pushed her closer to her true age, and she now looks younger and is no longer hunched. Howl shows his appreciation for her by transforming the castle so that it becomes neater, more pleasant, and can lead to Sophie's old home as well as Howl's childhood residence, which he gives to Sophie as a present.
Sophie's still young and beautiful mother, Honey, visits one day, feigning affection and cheer. She is actually under Suliman's threats, and the former Witch of the Waste discovers the spying "bug" Honey leaves behind in her bag. She also finds a cigar which she begins to smoke, not realizing that the smoke from the cigar weakens Calcifer, making it harder for him to protect the house from being discovered by Suliman's henchmen. Howl transforms and draws the guards away, while Sophie and Calcifer bring the castle to the Wastes though Calcifer's power is rapidly fading due to ingesting the spying "bug". The Witch of the Waste sees Howl's heart in Calcifer's diminishing flames, and grabs it. To save her from burning, Sophie douses her with water. Calcifer is reduced to a small, blue flame, and is no longer able to properly support the castle. The castle breaks apart, and Sophie and Heen are thrown over a cliff.
Sophie recovers in tears, believing that she has killed both Calcifer and Howl, as their lives are interconnected. As she is sobbing, Howl's ring points to the remains of Howl's castle door; she walks through it. She finds herself in Howl's past, where she sees Calcifer being caught by a young Howl as a falling star. To save Calcifer's life, Howl gives his heart to him and thus loses the ability to love. As the ring disintegrates, Sophie is pulled back into present time: before leaving she tells Howl to find her in the future.
Back in the present, Sophie finds Howl and realizes that he has been waiting for her all along. He carries her to the others and then collapses. She takes Howl's heart from the Witch and puts it back in his chest, breaking the bond between Howl and Calcifer. Calcifer returns to his original form and flies away. The remains of the castle, no longer powered, slide down the cliffs. Turnip Head stops the fall and saves everyone, but is damaged. Sophie gives him a kiss, and he transforms (back) into the missing Prince Justin. The Prince thanks Sophie for breaking the curse as his true love, but Sophie then kisses Howl, her true love. By now, she has fully transformed back to her youthful self but in hair color, which remains gray. Prince Justin leaves to put an end to the war. Madame Suliman, who has been watching through Heen's eyes, orders her subjects to cease fire. Later, Howl, Sophie, and the others are seen aboard a new, flying castle powered by Calcifer of his free will. Howl and Sophie embrace and kiss.