I don't know if any of you have watched much Japanese anime. I haven't watched many, but the ones I have seen have been both strikingly beautiful and extremely bizzare at the same time. Very dream-like. There is one anime in particular that I could watch over and over again called "Howl's Moving Castle". It's one of those stories that sends your imagination soaring off in giddy wonder. I have always had an overly-active imagination, and I am particularly fond of a story into which my overly-active imagination can thouroughly indulge itself.
Wow...look at this artwork! It takes my breath away.
Imagine my delight when yesterday, as I was looking through the young readers section at the bookstore, I stumbled across a BOOK with the same title! What?! I could hardly believe my eyes! I had no idea that the movie had been inspired by a book. I had to buy it.
I read the whole book this afternoon. Whilst shirking many other things that I "should" have been doing, I might add. Ah well!
To be honest, I have been feeling rather crummy lately and I think a "curl up in a cozy spot with a great book" day was definitely in order. It has cheered me up significantly, and I now feel ready to face the new week with a smile and a nod. Hoorah for good literature!
So how did the book compare to the movie (or the movie to the book)?
Well, I love the movie for the stunning animation, beautiful score and fantastic voice overs (Christian Bale!, Lauren Bacall!, Billy Crystal, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons). I also love the director Hiyao Miyazaki's portayal of the two main characters, Howl and Sophie. However, I think I liked the book better (surprise, surprise). ;) I found the book to be a bit more light-hearted. The movie takes on sort-of an "anti-war" message, with Howl bravely trying to stop the war from going on. There is no war in the book, and the great wizard Howl is actually quite a coward, always trying to "slither" his way out of doing (and facing) unpleasant things. All of the characters were pleasantly and humanly flawed. I love that. It makes a book so much more relatable. All in all it was a fun and easy read, and quite thought provoking.
Usually, I would recommend reading the book first. I always hate it when someone's first impression of a book is made by a movie. However I believe I will make an exception in this case. I say either one would be a great choice.