Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa takes place in a world where humanity once built great flying cities. A catastrophe later destroyed all of these majestic creations, forcing the human race to once again live on the ground. Despite these setbacks, humanity still has a passion for flight and explores the skies with planes and airships. A young girl named Sheeta is on one such airship, having been abducted by the government agent Muska. When the ship is attacked by the air pirate Captain Dola, Sheeta takes the opportunity to escape.
Saved by the grace of luck and magic, Sheeta is found by a young boy named Pazu. The two later discover that Sheeta's amulet is the key to finding Laputa—a legendary castle that is said to be the greatest of the flying cities. Together these new friends head out to find the castle and unravel its mysteries before the greedy and evil people of the world do.
Retitled from its original Japanese name of Laputa (for being an offensive phrase, something which director Hayao Miyazaki was oblivious to at the time), Castle in the Sky is the master animator's third film, and it's one of his most beloved of all time. Initially a box office disappointment in its 1986 release, it has since been embraced by critics and audiences around the world. Inspired by Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", Castle in the Sky is a steampunk-themed action adventure tale about two young orphans -- young miner Pazu, and mysterious girl Sheeta (who wears a magic crystal around her neck) -- who team
up to find the long-lost island of Laputa, which is rumored to have great riches and gems. They are aided by a band of bumbling yet sympathetic air pirates led by the feisty Dola (who at first chase them, yet turn out to be true allies) and pursued by the government headed by its villainous topmost-secret agent, Muska, who wants the power of Laputa for his own benefit.
For anyone looking for an exciting way to spend two hours, this film is an excellent choice, featuring just the right amount of humor, exploration, wonder, and mystery to keep one interested. The artwork, although not as spectacular as in some of Miyazaki's later movies, is fantastic and gorgeous enough to watch with imaginative characters and locations, incredibly exciting action scenes, and breathtaking flight sequences that will make one feel giddy. And while the characters that populate this tale are less complex than Miyazaki's other works, each has a memorable, endearing personality that stays with the viewer long after the film is over. Dola, in particular, makes for a terrific comic character, shouting orders to her dimwitted sons one moment and being protective of Sheeta the next. Muska is one of the few Miyazaki creations to ever come across as an irredeemable villain, but like Dola, he commands every scene he's in with a sinister charisma that is both alluring and chilly.
Anime fans have often compared this movie to Gainax's sci-fi adventure series Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. After all, both works share similar story and character elements... not to mention that they were both created by Miyazaki himself. Where both differ is in their execution. Nadia, although charming for the most part, suffered from taking a wrong turn at its midway point, devolving into cartoonish nonsense which all but distracted from the main plot, even though it did have a strong ending. Castle in the Sky, on the other hand, remains consistently entertaining and focused for its two hour running time, and is all the better for it. While the film's epic tone is sometimes broken up by some "cartoonish" moments, like a brawl between Pazu's boss and one of Dola's sons, it's never to the point that it detracts from the film.
While purists will probably prefer to listen to the original Japanese version, I am of the opinion that there's nothing bad about watching Miyazaki's movies in English, and this is no exception. That said, there are two different dubs of this film. The first one, dubbed by an unknown company but released by Streamline several years ago, was a hastily produced, badly acted, poorly written trainwreck briefly released in 1989 but quickly disappeared afterwards. The current version, produced by Disney in 1998, features an all-star voice cast and, interestingly, a rerecorded score by the film's original composer, Joe Hisaishi with the Seattle Music Orchestra. There has been a lot of heated debates arguing over which is the better version. Personally, even after seeing the Japanese version once and having distanced myself from it enough to appreciate it on its own terms, I'm ready to offer up the following: Disney's Castle in the Sky, despite its faults, is an entertaining listen in its own right.
The leads aren't the strongest voices in the dub; James Van Der Beek's Pazu sounds significantly more mature than his character, while Anna Paquin's Sheeta speaks with an odd accent that fluctuates at times (a problem which actually works in favor of the character). That said, both do good jobs overall and provide a fairly believable chemistry throughout. It's the lively supporting cast, however, that really make this dub so much fun, particularly Cloris Leachman's Dola and Mark Hamill's Muska. Both are perfectly cast and steal every scene they're in as the cantankerous sky pirate captain and treacherous agent, respectively. If there's any reason to see this dub, it's for these two. Another reason to check out the dub is for the aforementioned rescore by Joe Hisaishi. There are some instances where filling in some critically silent scenes from the original Japanese is a bit distracting (notably the journey through the dragon-infested storm cloud), but the overall reworking is fantastic and in many ways improves on the original, particularly the scene where a robot attacks the army's fortress and the climactic moments toward the end. Here, Hisaishi displays his musical versatility and genius for matching music to visuals. (The original Japanese track is on the DVD, complete with its original, unaltered score.) The script adaptation borders on the loose side at times--there's quite a bit of extra lines and/or commentary (some of which are pricelessly funny and others somewhat overdone)--but aside from at least one debatable alteration (Sheeta's speech in the climactic showdown "the world cannot live without love" as opposed to the original "you can't survive apart from Mother Earth"), the overall characters, story, and spirit remain fairly faithful to the original. On the whole, there is little point comparing the Disney version to the original language track; each puts their own stamp on this legendary masterpiece, and I like them both.
Either way, though, you can't go wrong with Castle in the Sky. It's one of Miyazaki's all-time greatest, and I highly recommend it.
I know this movie is almost 30 years old, but I recently re-watched it and I cried reminiscing about my childhood and thought I should write my first review on it. Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa aka Castle in the Sky is tied as my favorite Miyazaki movie alongside Princess Mononoke; my 2 favorite movies as a child.
The story of Castle in the Sky is about, you guessed it; a castle in the sky. There's a legend about a floating island castle, called "Laputa" that contains all the riches a person can ever dream of having. The main male character, Panzo believes that the castle exists,
and dreams of one day following his deceased father's footsteps, and finding the castle for himself. The only problem is, he doesn't know where the castle is. Then there's the main female character, Sheeta whom Panzo finds falling/floating down from the sky with a shining sky blue necklace that has some sort of relationship to Laputa's location. Panzo and Sheeta begin a friendship, perhaps love relationship and they decide to go on a journey to find Laputa together. But they run into trouble with, and clowny pirates, the greedy army along with some mysterious men led by an even more mysterious man named, Muska.
Really the art and music is stunning. The theme song of Castle in the Sky: Laputa may actually be my favorite piece of music ever! Seriously, please listen to that song! It makes me tear up every time I hear it! Furthermore the voicing of each character was perfectly matched, nothing unusual that pops out. The portrayal of Laputa, the castle in the sky, was absolutely beautiful! I actually teared up thinking about how I'd never be able to see the castle in real life. The connection and peace between the the robotic beings, and nature (trees, wild animals, plants) on the Island was absolutely beautifully portrayed. None of the characters were drawn like weirdly; every character's looks were unique and memorable. And normally I hate robots, but I felt this weird connection and pity for the dying breed of robots on Laputa. I loved all the characters, except Muska (who is the villain, so my hatred for him is a good thing). The stupid army was really funny, as were the pirates. Panzo and Sheeta are your average Miyazaki main characters, absolutely tragic and lovable!
I think this is the best animated story in the world.. Honestly there's nothing to dislike about this anime and so much to love. It's truly a heart-pounding adventure story about friendship, loyalty, greed, and people's connection to nature. The anime starts off innocently and happily, but it quickly becomes darker as the evil ambitions of the antagonists make themselves known. The characters, good and evil, are all fully developed and interesting to watch. I remember watching this over and over as a little baby, and I still have a vcr tape of Castle in the Sky ^o^. If you haven't seen this movie yet, then I think no matter what age you are, you should watch it at least a couple times in your life. Thanks for reading my first review!
Castle in the sky is the third film made by Hayao Miyazaki, who I've come to believe is one of the most masterful storytellers. The story is based on the Laputa of Gulliver's Travels, a floating city of scientists and ideologist, which is a legend, a dream of explorers. The young miner Pazu in the story has a goal, which is to find Laputa just as his father did before. And one day, a girl Sheeta who is wearing a magical necklace drifting down from the sky into Pazu's arms, their adventure begins.
The movie has a touch of magic and science fiction. Much
of the film takes place in the air. Miyazaki does have a brilliant means to deal with the scenes in the sky. The huge military dirigible floating in the sky, air pirates fly in unwieldy flying machine, Pazu and Sheeta travels in tractive kite filling the scenes with action, adventure, battles and wonder.
Some political statement is implied in Miyazaki's animation with a fantasy, giving deeper meaning to his story. In Castle in the sky, environmentalism has been the central to the film. The landscape is overexploited. The towns and valleys look dirty and in great need of heal while the floating island Laputa is so beautiful and peaceful. There is an underlining message about the environment as well as the need for balance with the earth. But that seldom appears in the ordinary old stories that make it a delight to watch.
The music of the film is fascinating.Composer Hisaishi made the music contain a little sense of melancholy in a nursery rhyme flavor. The melody is clean and pure just like the laputa in the magical story, so mysterious and untouchable. Hisaishi and Miyazaki reached the best connection in the music creation. The commemoration of the past and the call for the love is perfectly delivered by the simple notes.
The opening theme music and its chorus version The Girl Who Fell from the Sky will surprise you with its great penetration. The amazing charm, which Hisaishi’s music bring even overflow the Miyazaki’s animation and create a unprecedented imaginary world for the audience. The symphony version of the theme music, comparatively speaking, is more like a great piece of fantasy anthology. The violin entered with a slow and melancholy tone then turned sweet and joyful. Followed by the piano, the music immediately sublimates a surge of power, which simply shakes the soul. The rhythm repeats and becomes more and more powerful. It is so well-timed that the music could easily enhance the atmosphere of the whole movie and arouse the resonance between the audience and the story.
Anyway it's worthy to spend 2 hours to watch this film. It will be a fantastic experience and hope you really enjoy it. ^^
Studio Ghibli is arguably one of the greatest anime film studios of all time, setting the standard for Japanese animation many times over since its inception. They are responsible for producing some of the best animated films ever seen; blessing anime fans with several classic films over the decades and creating countless spectacles along with them, many of which were made under the guidance of legendary director and Studio Ghibli founder, Hayao Miyazaki. Together, their library includes the likes of Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, and of course the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away. But before all that, the studio giant had to begin somewhere. And
while both Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli were involved in the making of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind in 1984, their first official film was released in 1986: that film being Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa, more commonly known as Castle in the Sky.
The tale of Ghibli’s first feature film is set in a world parallel to ours, except here there is a much greater focus on, you guessed it, the skies. Floating castles, gigantic airships and pirates in the sky are all featured prominently over the film’s 2-hour runtime and in the sky is where we find our heroine of the story, Sheeta. She is held against her will in an airship when suddenly, pirates attack in an attempt to kidnap the girl. However, through all the commotion, Sheeta slips and falls to what appears to be her death, only for her strange-looking necklace to glow and cause her to slowly descend towards the ground, where a young boy sees her and catches her. This all takes place before the 10-minute mark and already we are given so many questions to be answered throughout the film. But thankfully the film never tries to get complicated with the narrative. From the beginning we are thrown into this new, fantastical world that is begging to be explored and from there it takes us on an adventure where two children go out to find Laputa, the Castle in the Sky.
Some may find the overall narrative of Castle in the Sky simplistic, and I would agree with them, but simplistic does not equate to ‘not good’. For 2 hours, this film is full of action and adventure that will have you entertained from the start. This film is one of the few anime that I believe can be enjoyed by all ages and this is mostly because of its simplicity. Compared to other Ghibli films, Castle in the Sky is not trying to be an allegory of any kind, instead looking at the story’s sense of scale and adventure through the eyes of a child. While I would never consider it to be Miyazaki’s magnum opus in terms of his most developed, breath-taking or meaningful work, it is near-perfect for what it tries to be: an authentic vision of a childhood fantasy, that has the charm to bring out the child in anyone watching.
Studio Ghibli is responsible for creating some of the most enjoyable cinematic universes in animated form, as they seem to always be able to bring forth these rich, vivid settings that despite feeling similar, are each unique in their own way. Castle in the Sky is the first of a dozen examples of this. There are so many different working parts of this world of imaginative architecture, advanced technology and charismatic personalities. For this film specifically, Castle in the Sky manages to make a distorted version of the industrial revolution, featuring the likes advanced elaborate aircraft to giant robot guardians, seem like something made out of pure imagination as well as something we could very well see made in the not-so-distant future. It also features some environmental commentary towards the end if you are interested at all. But considering that this film was directed by Miyazaki, all of his familiar yet welcome quirks – strong, independent female characters, ecology, aviation and young children – are present in this film.
Speaking of the characters, the lead duo, whilst basic, fit this kind of story exceptionally well, fitting the orphaned child archetype whilst coming off as sympathetic protagonist that you want to see succeed in their dangerous quest. The boy who found Sheet in the beginning is Pazu, who is trying to find the castle in the sky as his father years before had seen, but was disregarded as a liar by those around him. Pazu has a clear goal in the film, and Sheeta is like Pazu’s angel, literally falling into his life in the beginning and supporting him, while also looking out for his safety. Sheeta also changes overtime in the film, slowly but surely becoming more independent and confident, common characteristics of Miyazaki’s heroines. The rest of the characters however are rather one-note and interchangeable. They still play their part well for a film like this, but I am disappointed that they were not as memorable as anything else in the movie.
Regarding the production side of Caste in the Sky, it is everything that you would expect from Studio Ghibli. The animation is beautiful, even for today’s standards which, for a 1986 movie is a pretty amazing feat. Throughout the entire film there is no lack in artistry; the backgrounds, characters and sequences all look great. Laputa also happens to be blessed with wonderful cinematography, capturing the overall look of the fantasy epic in every action scene this movie has to offer.
As for the music; it sounds stunning! The entire soundtrack fits the tone and style that this movie has, and it is not surprising given that Joe Hisaishi was behind the music. Hisaishi did a great job with the entire soundtrack. If there were any issue on the soundtrack however, it would be that there is no standout themes there, at least in my opinion. Some people really love the main theme for Castle in the Sky, but to me, it cannot compare to some of his other tracks like Legend of Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke. The English dub for this is also solid, but given that Disney was behind the dub, it should come as no surprise it would be anything but. The dub can make the two leads sounds more mature than their character implies, but in no way does it detract from the overall enjoyment you will have when watching this Ghibli classic.
If I haven’t made it obvious enough, Castle in the Sky is a film that despite the score, means a lot to me as a fan of anime. It is a brilliantly executed adventure story that is not hindered by age, and as long as you watch it for what it is: an adventure, you will enjoy it. There is more that I could talk about regarding this film, but that would be at the cost of spoilers and I want everyone who reads this that has not seen Castle in the Sky to go into it as blind as possible. It is essentially the film that put Ghibli on the map, and set the standard for what you should expect from one of the greatest anime studios of all time.
Tons of good anime movies have been made over the years. But why settle for good? We present to you a list of not 5, not 10, but 20 of some of the best anime movies in existence! Dig in and find some new and interesting Japanese animated movies to watch this year!