DVD REVIEW: Howl's Moving Castle

Disney/Studio Ghibli
Movie ••• Picture/Sound ••••• Extras •••½
This two-disc set offers three ways of watching Hayao Miyazaki's latest Oscar-nominated feature-length animated film about sorcery and transformation. First, there's the Japanese original. Then there's the version voiced by Hollywood stars - and though the visuals remain the same, watching it is like seeing a different movie. While acknowledging the superb mugging talents of Jean Simmons, Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, and Christian Bale, I much prefer the graceful Japanese track, whose voices are more in tune with the film's other elements. The second disc presents the entire film again - in storyboards. All versions have images with bright color and superb detail, and the soundtracks do justice to both the awesome effects and Joe Hisaishi's atmospheric music. [PG] Japanese, English, and French, Dolby Digital 5.1; letter-boxed (1.85:1) and anamorphic widescreen; two dual-layer discs.