This weekend we wanted to see a movie. Larry pulled up Rotten Tomatoes to try to find a movie suitable for the family.
It was discouraging at first. Most of the family oriented movies that are currently playing have dismal reviews at best. He did find this rather amusing review of the new Herbie movie that gave us a couple of good reasons to not see the movie.
Then we tried another tactic and took a gander at the offerings at each of the local theaters. At one theater I noticed the film “Howl’s Moving Castle.” I dimly remembered reading a glowing review of it. Turns out that it wasn’t categorized under kids/family at Rotten Tomatoes so that is why we missed it over there. It is an anime adaptation of a book with the same name by Diana Wynne Jones.
So that afternoon we loaded up the van and took our crew to go see the movie. When we were about to buy our tickets we warned that it had subtitles. The ticket seller then went on to say that it was a very good movie. Normally I preferred subtitles (at least in live action films the disconnect between the voices and the actors is a bit jarring for me, in animation it doesn’t matter), but this could be a problem. Jake is fairly proficient, but Nate (fresh out of kindergarten and reading above his grade level) would not be able to pull it off. Then there are Max and Rebecca who don’t even know how to read (yet). We stepped back to consider our options.
We were aware that there are two versions in distribution, one dubbed and one with subtitles. Since the local reviewer had focused on the dubbed version, we (wrongly) thought that the theater would have the dubbed version. After a brief debate we decided to give it a go. Larry and I could softly read the subtitles to those who need help.
The movie is wonderful. It has a very dreamlike quality to it and the animation is rich in detail. I loved it. The dialog was not too involved so we could easily read the subtitles to the kids. Since it was a matinee the theater was sparsely populated so we were able to position ourselves so as not to disturb. I think Max’s continuous climbing of the seatback (of an empty seat) was more irritating than our soft voices. The scary parts of the movie are not too bad. Max and Rebecca were a bit disturbed over Sophie’s transformation to an old woman, but they still enjoyed the movie. It was a worthwhile adventure. We will probably even buy the book it was based on.