Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Challenge: A Book that Became a Movie

Book: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Pages: 429
Date Read: 01/04 - 01/06/2015
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Other Categories this book could 
have fit into:
A book with nonhuman characters - well, just one character happened to be a demon (who is wonderful)
A funny book
A book with a love triangle - and one in which I got very emotionally invested
A book with magic
A trilogy - I didn't know it was a trilogy! In the back, there was an interview with the author, and it referenced the next two books. So I immediately bought them. I can't wait to read them!

This book does not fall into the category of "A book by an author you've never read before" because, unbeknownst to me when I bought it, it was written by the same author as The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. I don't know why this surprised me so much, but it was just really strange when I entered it into my list of books I own and realized I already had a book by this author.

Omigoodness, everything about this book is beautiful. I'm having to really fight the temptation to start it all over again instead of moving on to my next book.

The characters are fantastic. Howl is ridiculous and terrible and I love him with all of my soul. Michael is a sweetheart. Calcifer is a pill, but a darling. Fanny, Lettie, and Martha read like real people -- lovable and with definite faults. The entire ensemble was good. And Sophie was just straight-up awesome. Sassy and rude, but also way too nice for her own good and a total pushover. It was really interesting to read things from her perspective. She was super bright, but also wrong about a lot of things (since things were rather confusing) which made her an awesomely inaccurate narrator.

The magic was so much fun! I love the moving castle and the door that leads to so many different places. All the spells were cool and interesting, and the witches were what witches should be (high praise from me.)

So many plot twists I did not seem coming. It was a lot of fun to keep learning more and more about each of the characters and the world and the plot that was so much more complicated than I realized.

I didn't know anything at all coming into this book, except for the title and that it was made into a movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki. With these two pieces of information, I managed to come up with an idea of this book that was totally wrong -- and I like what it really is so much better! I was delightfully surprised by how fun, silly, and charming this book is. I enjoyed every moment of it, and will definitely be reading it again (though probably not just this minute, since I have a Book Challenge to complete.)

The movie:

I decided that, since this category is a book based on a movie, I should watch and review the movie, too. Not surprisingly, it wasn't anywhere near as good as the book. They changed so many things they really shouldn't have. They added a war (I mean, there's a war in the book, but it's not as relevant,) messed with the magic, and changed all sorts of characters. They turned one of my favorite characters from the book into a villain (whose motivation didn't make a whole lot of sense,) and turned the main villain from the book into a pathetic old lady (ok, she's kind of a pathetic old lady in the book, too, but in a much cooler way. Though, admittedly, she was kind of hilarious in the movie.) They also changed the time period it took place in, and took out one of the coolest plots from the book, which was all sorts of frustrating. I hated the flying ships and the train and everything; that's not the sort of story it's supposed to be.

Then again, they did a lot of things right. Howl was really good, even though they took out his tendency to woo every woman he meets (which was frustrating, since that's kind of a relevant character trait.) Michael was adorable, though they made him younger and inexplicably changed his name to Markl. Calcifer was SO PERFECT! And he was voiced by the same guy who does the voice of Mike Wazowski. And I loved Sophie. She's one of my favorite characters of all times, and I feel like they did a really good job with her.

I don't know why movie adaptations always feel the need to over-explain character motivation; I was really frustrated by some of the heavy-handed dialogue ("I finally have something to protect. It's you.") Over-all, the movie was fun, but nothing like the book. I probably would have liked it better if I hadn't read the book. But I'm grateful to it for existing, because I probably never would have read the book if I hadn't heard about the movie.

I would definitely recommend reading Howl's Moving Castle to anyone who loves a good fantasy novel. The movie is ok, and if you do alright with movie adaptations that don't stick to the book, you'll probably like it more than I did.


1 comment:

Ginny-Gin-Gin said...

I LOVE both of these stories! I actually watched the movie before I watched the book, and I think it was a turning point in how I view movie adaptations of books. Before, I was a real stickler about movies sticking to the book story and it drove me crazy when they didn't. But, because I loved the movie so much and it was SO different, I had to come to terms with the fact that it came after the delightful book. Sometimes it still drives me crazy when movies unnecessarily deviate from the book source material (I have such a hard time with Ella Enchanted), but I think I've gotten more chill about it :D

I loved how different the two stories were because I think it's so interesting to see different imaginations at work! Kind of like fairy tale adaptations.

I'm glad that you liked them both! And I'm loving reading about your reading challenge :D