DVD Title
Howl's Moving Castle
International Title
Howl's Moving Castle
DVD Length Original Length
119 Minutes 119 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Disney 2006
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English, French English, French
Region Number of Discs
1 2
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 5.1 Surround
Extras
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Menus (English)
.
Chapters (24)
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Trailers: Howl's Moving Castle (6 Theatrical, 9 TV spots), Cars, The Little Mermaid: Special Edition DVD, Studio Ghibli DVDs, Chicken Little, Airbuddies, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
.
Behind the Microphone (9 minutes)
.
Interview with Pete Doctor (7 minutes)
.
Hayao Miyazaki Visits Pixar (16 minutes)
.
Complete Storyboards (119 minutes)
Captures
Review

Disney's release of Hayao Miyazaki's Academy Award nominated film is another outstanding disc from the company. It excels in nearly every respect, from superior video and audio quality to a good selection of extras that fans of the movie should enjoy.


 Video:

Disney has done an incredible job with the video presentation on this disc, in fact I would go as far as to say that this has to be the best video quality I have seen thus far on a Toho DVD. Nearly everything about the video quality deserves praise, from a rich tablet of colors to a just about flawless print used for the transfer that's devoid of almost any grain. It's not perfect, though, as there are signs of edge enhancement in the form of halos around lines that can be seen if one looks close enough. Although, in the grand scheme of things, it does little to stop this from being an extraordinary presentation.

Like other Disney Ghibli DVDs, this disc also has both the US and Japanese versions of the video intact. What this means is that if one selects English from the language setup, then text will be presented with new English titles, including the production commission, while if Japanese is selected then the Opening title and Credits will appear in their original Japanese text.

Howl's Moving Castle is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

An outstanding audio presentation through and through, complete with three different audio tracks, in three different languages, and each presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. In terms quality, there really isn't anything to complain about, as all three boast no distortions and feature crystal clear dialogue. Speaker distinction is also excellent amongst the three audio tracks and makes great use of the five channel presentation, although the English track tends to be the best in this regard.

The audio can be accompanied by, removable, English or French subtitles that correspond to either the Japanese or English dubbed tracks.


 Extras:

Not the company's best Ghibli disc, but a solid selection of extras none the same. The problem here is that it seems to focus too much on the US side of things and not nearly enough into those who actually created the picture in the first place. Some examples of this include the "Behind the Microphone" feature with actors like Christian Bale and Billy Crystal, along with a seven minute interview with the US' versions director Pete Doctor.

Like other Miyazaki discs from Disney, Howl's Moving Castle features the entire film in storyboard form. This supplement, located on the second disc, can be presented in either English or Japanese, along with removable English subtitles.

The star attraction here, though, is likely Hayao Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki's visit to Pixar. This feature starts out with the pair meeting John Lasseter, Toy Story director and producer of most of Pixar's recent film, at the entrance of the building. They then present their present for Lasseter, which ends up being a giant prop of the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro (1988) that was used at the Ghibli museum. This feature then moves to a private screening of the film at Pixar and some brief comments by the two. Finally, it moves to a personal interview with John Lasseter which is, sadly, mostly a recap of previous stuff said in the video and not really needed, but the whole feature is done well regardless.

The disc also includes a huge array of Japanese trailers and TV spots for the film, 15 in total in fact. Like other DVDs from the company, these are featured with removable English subtitles.


 Overview:

Bottom line, it's hard not to be impressed by this release. It may not be perfect, but then I have yet to see a DVD that is, and Disney has done an outstanding job with nearly every angle of this two disc set for the critically acclaimed movie. If one has any interest in Miyazaki, or Anime in general, they owe it to themselves to pick up this release.

- Anthony Romero  
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