Roger L. Simon

A Night at the Animations

Your normal workaholic couch potato (yes, they can coexist), I don’t get out to the movies much these days; but the filmmaker most likely to get me out is animator Hayao Miyazaki. His Spirited Away was one of my favorite movies of the last few years. So Sheryl, Madeleine and I went to the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood tonight (excellent theatres) to see his latest, Howl’s Moving Castle. The wise women of my family liked it quite a bit, but old grumpus here was less impressed. Miyazaki’s work was, as usual, visually spectacular, but at the service of a meandering script that felt to me like warmed-over Grimm without the brothers’ symbolic impact. In fact, I more or less agreed with (gulp!) Roger Ebert.