Saturday, June 18, 2005

Miyazaki does Bowie

Will he grow up to be this?

A girl can hope...

After seeing Howl's Moving Castle last night, my friend looked at me and said, "when Howl had blond hair he reminded me of David Bowie in Labyrinth." As she said it, the disturbing attraction I'd felt for this cartoon character suddenly made sense. Flowing white shirt-check. New age jewelry-check. Androgynous yet beautiful face and hair-check and check. All these things might have added up to little more than coincidence if it hadn't been for the final, perfect element-long, slim legs in TIGHT black pants. Granted, androgyny is not exactly uncommon in Japanese animation, but everyone knows that the defining characteristic of Labyrinth wasn't the muppets or the story, but "the pants." Who doesn't have that (at the time) mysterious bulge in those spandex pants seared into their memory? Certainly no girl I know. I credit those pants with my sexual awakening(Jareth was so powerful and menacing, and so SEXY!) When he tells Jennifer Connelly(herself responsible for a few disturbing realizations among small males) "I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave," I couldn't (and still can't) understand why on earth she'd say no. Who wouldn't fear something that huge?! Some think that these pants are a detriment to the film, but I couldn't disagree more. I also take issue with nearly all of what this person has to say about other beloved fantasy films of the 80's. Except Legend. There are no words powerful enough to describe the awfulness of that Tangerine Dream scored piece of shit. Tim Curry's horns, on the other hand...(just kidding)

Back to Howl. He's hardly the pathology -force of nature Bowie was(I may never recover), but there's still something neo-glam rock manic-depressive bad boy hot about him(although that might just be Christian Bale's voice). Sure you want to slap him, but you know he'll do magic just for you, much like your imaginary rock star boyfriend will write his biggest hit out of love for you. Somehow, and maybe it's because the movie as a whole was something of a disappointment after the superb Spirited Away(you know there's trouble when the romance between a small child and an ageless river spirit is more convincing than that between two adults), I find myself wishing today that Miyazaki had made the movie, and his characters, more Ziggy Stardust than that prissy vamp in The Hunger. The happy ending would have been much more believable, and the script less groan-inducing among adults. A little more rock star in the moving castle(and a whole lot less Billy Crystal-what dipshit thought that was a good casting decision?) would have gone a long way to making a movie I desperately want to love but can't one that inspires creepy fantasies in children and grown women for decades to come.

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