a.k.a.Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta
Pazu lives a lonely life. He barely scrapes together a living, until a very special gift falls from the sky. One night on his way home, Pazu sees a girl floating to the earth. Taking her to his house he soon learns that Sheeta holds the key to the ancient city of Laputa, the flying fortress that his father died pursuing. Being the key to such an ancient power, Sheeta is pursued by both the military and pirates. Can Pazu lead them both to Laputa before it is too late?
summary by Mugs
Highs: Nice pace; story; characters; animation; soundtrack
Lows: Weird déjà vu
Just two words should tell you what to expect: Miyazaki Hayao. Not enough for you? How about Studio Ghibli? Yep, this one is another in a string of classic gems pumped out by the legendary company, and that should be all anyone needs to know to start salivating.
The movie starts out like many of Miyazaki’s with a nice action scene that gets everyone interested in what’s going on right away. One of the best things about this movie is its pacing; there is absolutely no drag in this film. It proceeds along quite speedily and throws in plenty of plot twists to keep you entertained. Most of the characters seem to be run of the mill, with the pirates being some of the more enjoyable ones in the movie.
The animation is up to Ghibli’s normally high standards, and is done in the style that seemed remarkably similar to Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. In fact, this movie reminded me of Nausicaä on so many levels that it would spoil the movie if I explained them here. This similarity was the only problem I had with the film, in fact, since it seemed at times if I had seen this before. But ultimately this was another great picture, and probably my favorite that Ghibli has put out so far.
Well, what we have here is a winner that the whole family can enjoy. It’s good to get people addicted early so they won’t suffer through DBZ-itis or a liking toward Digimon or something. So far, anything that Miyazaki has touched has turned to gold, and this movie just reinforces that feeling yet again. Enjoy!
Highs: Thrilling action; expressive characters; epic-style music; storybook fantasy
Lows: Ending is too Disney for some
Ask knowledgeable anime otaku which Miyazaki film they think is the best, and you’ll have some rabid fans at each other’s throats. Many will claim Princess Mononoke the winner (I think this is due to it being new more than anything), some will side with Nausicaä, and a few old schoolers will staunchly defend Castle of Cagliostro. In my mind, all of these are surpassed by the absolutely enchanting Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Here’s why.
Laputa is one of those few films that grabs you by the shirt collar from the opening minute and refuses to let go until the credits stop scrolling. This movie is so rife with colorful characters and goosebump-inducing action that it’s almost too much to take in one sitting. Hisaishi Jo continues to astound with his timeless orchestra pieces that are so well suited to an anime built around the ability of flight. Miyazaki outdoes himself this time around with animation that is on par with anything else anime, past or present. Everything just blends in so smoothly, so seamlessly, that I was forced to sigh heavily when it was all over.
While a matter of personal preference, my encounters with other Ghibliholics have led me to believe that there is a significant viewership that considers the ending a letdown of sorts. Honestly, I found nothing wrong with it, but this is fair warning to those who may think otherwise.
Laputa is so right on so many levels, you’d think that I’d consider it among the very best anime ever produced. You’d think correctly. This is also a movie that is suited for every demographic, be it young, old, man or woman. I give it my highest, sincerest recommendation.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.