Here is a movie review of Hayao Miyazaki's new film, Howl's Moving Castle. It is based on the book by Diane Wynne Jones. The movie will open in the US in June 2005. You can watch the trailer here.
Miyazaki's work is often surreal, but "Castle" is more a work of magic realism. It's set in a fictional city in which magic, witches and sorcerers co-exist with average citizens. The story, in its most basic form, centers on an errant young wizard, Howl, and his attempts to avoid being drafted to fight in a war. Around this core, Miyazaki builds some interweaving stories: those of a girl who's aged by a spell, a grumpy witch, a royal sorceress, a demonic but friendly fire spirit and a sorcerer's apprentice. Miyazaki delves deep into his characters to discover the humanity and compassion that lies at the heart of them all.
Miyazaki's other films, "My Neighbor Totoro", "Kiki's Delivery Service", "Princess Mononoke", and "Spirited Away" are beautiful to watch. The graphic novel of "Spirited Away" is a good choice for librarians looking for "safe" graphic novels to add to their collections.