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.
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!
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.
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. ^^
'Laputa: Castle in the Sky' is incredibly similar to a much loved TV series from years gone by called 'Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water'... which is hardly shocking when you consider that Miyazaki, the director of Laputa, came up with the idea that later became Nadia!
In case you are unaware, the story of Nadia and its titular heroine goes like this: a girl wearing a mysterious pendant is being pursued by people, including a secret organization, because of the pendant's power. Somehow, it is connected the mythical lost land of Atlantis. Nadia spends most of her time running with a boy, whom happens to
be an inventor, in an attempt to evade her pursuers.
And in case you are curious why this is at all relevant: if you were to replace the above with Laputa, you would have close to the same basic plot blurb. I actually prefer Nadia because of the additional Anno (director/creator of psychological trauma series Evangelion) characterisation and far more relatable characters. Miyazaki's characters mostly tend to feel very... hollow to me. The magic of adventure typically mask the failings of his characters. I honestly can not even recall the names of Laputa's lead duo!
Laputa's first half was far from amazing. A girl falls from the sky, gets found by a boy, they bond WAAAAY too quickly and end up running away together. The girl then gets captured and the boy saves her... that pretty much sums it up. It was predictable and I was left unable able to connect with either of them because of the lack of development; the focus being almost entirely on running away from people in impressively animated sequences. This is where being a movie instead of a TV series really hurt the narrative.
The second half was much improved, thankfully. The duo join a pirate ship and, for a short period, the focus switches to the smaller picture for some downtime. Then, the story finally reaches the titular castle in the sky. This reminded me the themes of adventure and exploration seen during my younger days in PS1 JRPG Grandia, where a young adventurer sets off on a journey in order to reach Alent--a place of legend no-one knows if is real. It was not quite as exciting reaching the castle in the sky in Laputa because it had not taken much time or effort for the to reach it (at least not when compared to longer works), but it did make me feel kind of nostalgic and immersed me in the world more.
With the castle in the sky's reveal, the story became much more interesting and difficult to predict. There was still the same running away and chasing loop that had gone before, but the new and unknown setting made it come across in a different light. Where as I had been able to take breaks earlier because of a lack of interest, my eyes were now glued to the screen. And, while some of what occurred at the end was a tad too convenient (the placement of a ship, for example), it did leave me satisfied overall. It would have been nice if an epilogue had been added in after the credits, mind you.
In summary: Laputa is definitely a classic worthy of its praise, complete with Ghibli's trademark art-style and enough visual splendor to compensate for many of its failings. I would not go so far as to call it perfect due to me being unable to connect with the lead duo due to a serious lack of time spent on development, and the first half was rather boring side at times. However, it is hard to deny that Laputa is a charming film that has aged well, both in terms of the visuals and story.
If you are a fan of adventure stories, you should definitely watch it at least once.
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