Howl's Moving Castle ★★★½

I watched this a few weeks back and forgot to log it. The visuals (despite the somewhat clunky blend of CG) are unquestionably inspired and creative. The world is vibrant and unique and every other word you might use to say "it's imaginative." That said, this is definitely my least favorite Ghibli film thus far. The story ambles along with little-to-no coherency or drive, the characters start with clear motivations but seem to forget them about halfway through and lose most of their personality, and the "war = bad" narrative imposed on the film feels a little too inorganic and shoehorned into something that would work without it. As far as social commentary, it's just not nearly as nuanced as something like Princess Mononoke. I'm sure there are plenty of ways people could dissect it to mean something more politically complex, but there's only so many ways you can say "I just didn't find it compelling."

I dunno. Part of my aversion probably just stems from my low-tolerance for bizarre/gross/just-plain-weird stuff when it doesn't have much of a clear purpose. There's a lot of that here - those moments where you just go "uh...what the...what?" I guess it's no coincidence that my favorite of these thus far is Kiki's Delivery Service, arguably the most domestic and "mundane" in its premise of any of Miyazaki's films.