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Howl’s Moving Castle (Toho, 2004)

Howl’s Moving Castle is a Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is based on the novel of the same name by British writer Diana Wynne Jones. Howl’s Moving Castle premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2004. It was released to Japanese theaters in November 2004. It made $190 million in Japan and $235 million worldwide. It is one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history. Later dubbed, it was distributed in North America by Walt Disney Pictures. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 78th Academy Awards.

The plot: One day, 18-year-old Sophie is befriended by Howl, a strange and flamboyant wizard. Displeased by their budding friendship, the Witch of the Waste turns Sophie into a 90-year-old hag. Taking shelter in Howl’s Castle (which can move under its own power), Sophie tries to reverse the spell with the help of Calcifer, a subdued but powerful demon and Markl, the protector of the four-way door.