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Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 12 (violence, scary scenes)
This topic contains:
|Children under 8||Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.|
|Children aged 8–12||Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.|
|Children over the age of 12||Ok for this age group.|
This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.
|Name of movie:||Howl's Moving Castle|
|Consumer advice lines:||Scary scenes|
This review of the movie contains the following information:
Howl’s Moving Castle is a Studio Ghibli animation, released in 2004 and based upon the book of the same name by British Author, Dianna Wynne Jones. The film is set in the past, loosely in the first half of last century, in a European style town that is at war with a neighbouring Kingdom. Sophie (young voice of Emily Mortimer and old voice of Jean Simmons) is an earnest and kind teenage girl working in a hat store. She believes herself to be plain and not worthy of attention, not like her more glamorous sister, Lettie. One day, as Sophie is harassed on the street by some thuggish young soldiers, an elusive and attractive young man intercepts them and leads Sophie away safely. It turns out that the young man is Howl, a notorious Wizard (voice of Christian Bale). That very same evening, as she returns to her hat shop, Sophie encounters The Witch of the Waste (voice of Lauren Bacall) who casts a spell upon her, turning her into an old crone. In horror, Sophie leaves the town to try and find someone to help her break the curse and return her youth to her. Whilst roaming the countryside, she comes across a friendly scarecrow who leads her to the infamous Howl’s Moving Castle – a large and surreal steam-punk-style vehicle which roams around the land on large mechanical chicken legs. It is where the Wizard Howl lives, along with his apprentice Markl (voice of Josh Hutcherson) and a comical fire demon called ‘Calcifer’ (voice of Billy Crystal) who is spellbound to stay in the castle and keep it moving and warm. Sophie lets herself into the castle uninvited and makes a pact with the demon Calcifer that she will help him become free of Howl if he helps break the curse on her. In the meantime, she nominates herself as Howl’s cleaning lady. She starts to learn all about Howl; how he became a wizard, how he transforms into a giant bird, and how he has been summoned by the King to fight in the war. Sophie finds herself falling in love with the mysterious Wizard. He enlists her help, asking her to speak to the King’s adviser on his behalf. As the war intensifies and bombs start dropping on Sophie’s town, Howl does his best to protect them all and Sophie is driven to free them all from the curses and spells that bind them all together.
Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.
Youth; Beauty; The Power of Love and Compassion; Pacifism; War; Fantasy; Magic.
Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.
Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.
There is some violence in this movie including:
Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.
In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:
Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.
In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:
Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.
In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:
Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.
Nothing further of concern.
There are some sexual and romantic references in this movie, including:
There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:
There is some use of substances in this movie, including:
Howl’s Moving Castle is a brilliant flight of imaginative fantasy. The hand drawn animation is visually spectacular and the imagery teeters between nightmarish horror and haunting beauty. There are powerful philosophical messages about pacifism, youth and beauty, and love and compassion. This film is best suited to older children who are able to maintain attention to the complex plot – and while parental guidance is recommended due to violence and scary scenes, the film is likely to appeal most to children between 8 and 12.
The main messages from this movie are that youth and beauty are not necessarily a valuable blessing bestowed on the young – they can also be a harsh burden and ageing can bring peace and relief. The film also has a strong anti-war message.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:
This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:
Tip: Leave out the first A, An or The
Selecting an age will provide a list of movies with content suitable for this age group. Children may also enjoy movies selected via a lower age.
Content is age appropriate for children this age
Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended
Content is not age appropriate for children this age