Howl's Moving Castle was GREAT! I remembered enough of the original story to enjoy the interpretation and vision that Miyazaki brought to the story to make it his own. But, I want to go ahead and reread Jones' story, see what the differences were. The kids I was sitting with also had a great time, although it may have been a bit long for the littlest ones. Excellent characterizations and the English dubbing seemed to be pretty well done, although I can't really tell for sure since I don't speak Japanese, heh. My only discontent was with some of the continuity of the character art, particularly for the wizard Howl. I thought it was a bit off in some of the later scenes. While I do recall that Sophie's character had fluctuations...that she went at times from being an old woman to being almost her original younger self due to the curse from the Witch of the Wastes, I don't remember that being so with Howl. There were times where his face was totally different and the proportions were off, too. Different artist maybe? Everything else was most beautiful. I was kind of surprised how much attention I paid to the matte paintings and sets...but maybe that's because of the recent work I've been doing. ;) After the movie as we were all leaving, they handed out a black folder to everyone - turns out it had a lovely print of Howl's Castle inside. Totally cool! I'm going to get it framed to go with my other animation movie posters.
One of my favorite books is Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn. I just found out some Good and Bad news from Animated News Weekly about the feature film version that's currently in production. I didn't realize, but he's also developing a sequel! Oooooo....
Yesterday I got my copy of Skwigly, a new UK animation magazine. I've just started reading it, but so far it looks pretty good. Since it's the first issue, I'm curious to see how they plan to differentiate themselves from others that are currently in publication. I'll post some comments about it once I've finished going through it.
Tomorrow we have some interns starting work in my department from FIT in New York. I wonder how much we will disillusion them about what being a toy designer is really all about...One of our previous artists was from that school. He chose to leave the company and return to NYC after almost 2 years of employment. His primary issue: our creative manager.