- You need a 20 out of 10 ratings to rate Miyazaki's films 7/24/2000 12:00:00 AM by Dark Eye
Hayao Miyazaki has no equal when it comes to using hand-drawn animation as a form of storytelling, yet often he is being compared to Walt Disney. That is just so unfair, because it becomes apparent by watching Miyazaki's films that he is the superior artist. He really has a gift of thrilling both grownups and children, and Laputa is indeed one awesome ride.
But where can I begin to describe a movie so magical and breathtaking! Miyazaki's works have never cease to amaze me. Laputa is an adventure of a grand scale and I wonder how a film can be so packed with details and imagination. Ask yourself this question: if you are a kid dreaming of an adventure so grand in scope and so magical, what would it be like? The answer would be to strap yourself in some seat and watch Laputa, because it's truly a childhood fantasy come true. Every minute of the movie is rich and engrossing ... from the train chase to the amazing air-flying sequences... and to the wonderous sight of the floating castle itself. Not to mention the excellent score by Joe Hisaishi! Everything you ever possibly want from an adventure movie is here.
- A delightful fantasy that will bring out the child in anyone 10/5/2006 12:00:00 AM by CsikosPost
Have you ever wished that you could escape your dull and stressful life at school or work and go on a magical adventure of your own, with one of your closest friends at your side, facing all sorts of dangers and villains, and unraveling the mystery of a lost civilization that's just waiting for someone to discover all its secrets? Even if you're not quite that much of a fantasy-lover, have you ever wished you could simply experience what it's like to be a kid again, and not have a care in the world, for just a couple of hours?
This is exactly what Miyazaki's "Castle in the Sky" is all about. Pazu, a young but very brave and ambitious engineer, lives a rustic life in a mining town until one day, a girl named Sheeta falls down from the sky like an angel and takes him on a journey to a place far beyond the clouds, while all the while they have pirates and military units hot on their trail. Simply put, it is just the incredible adventure that every kid dreams of at one point or another, and I can't help but feel my worries melt away every time I see it.
As it is one of Miyazaki's older works and takes much place in the everyday world, the film is not as visually spectacular or deep in its storyline as Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, or even Princess Mononoke. Still, I find it difficult to say that any of these films are superior over the other, because all three of those films are, at some point or another, mystical to the point of being enigmatic, if not perplexing, especially for the youngest of viewers.
"Castle in the Sky", on the other hand, doesn't try so much to be an allegory of any kind, and it's not a coming-of-age story either; it is instead quite possibly one of the best depictions of the inside of a child's mind I've ever seen. Not only is the artwork beautiful, but the use of perspective from the kids' eyes is just amazing; whether it's the panning up of the "camera" to see the enormous trees or clouds overhead, or the incredible sense of height from looking down at the ground or ocean while hundreds of feet in the air, I just can't help but FEEL like I'm there with Pazu and Sheeta, just a kid in another world, far far away from reality.
Even the kids themselves don't have a complex relationship that suggests a need for hope like Ashitaka/San or Chihiro/Haku; Sheeta is Pazu's angel, having literally fallen into his life from the sky one day, the absolutely perfect person for him right from the very start. As the film progresses, more and more of their true adventurous childhood spirit comes out through their kind words and beautifully realistic facial expressions. Not only are they an adorable reminder of who I used to be, but their endearing friendship never lets up throughout the whole film, only growing stronger all the way to the last frame. For that reason, I've fallen in love with the two of them more than I have with any other Miyazaki couple.
At the same time, "Castle in the Sky" is such an easily accessible film because no matter what kind of casual moviegoer you may be, you'll be sure to find your fix here. Mystery, action, drama, comedy, suspense, sci-fi, romance, even some western...it's all here, just about everything people go to the movies for (except maybe horror). This why I can easily recommend it as a first Miyazaki film; it's perfect for those who have no expectations from having already seen the incredible otherworldliness of some of his more recent works.
Even the ending song of the film, when translated into English, conveys the sense of longing for the discovery of some kind of lost civilization, and some kind of soul-mate, that could not be found in our mundane lives. "The reason I long for the many lights is that you are there in one of them...The earth spins, carrying you, carrying us both who'll surely meet." Miyazaki has always provided poetic lyrics to make ending songs out of Joe Hiasashi's gorgeous scores, but this is the only one I've seen that's both a touching love song and an inspirational dream. I have found myself near tears just listening to it.
"Castle in the Sky" may not be Miyazaki's most developed, spectacular, or meaningful work, but it's absolutely perfect for what it really was meant to be: a true vision of childhood fantasy, and a wonderful escape from reality for any adults who wish they could have the same wonderful sense of imagination they had when they were just carefree little kids. Sit back, relax, and love it for what it is.
- Haunting and brilliant! 12/29/2005 12:00:00 AM by ryzinhy
I first saw this film when I was about 8 years old on TV in the UK (where it was called "Laupta: The Flying Island"). I absolutely loved it, and was heartbroken when it was repeated a while later and I missed it. I was enchanted by the story and characters, but most of all by the haunting and beautiful music. It would have been the original English dubbed version which I saw - sometimes erroneously referred to as the "Streamline Dub" (the dub was actually by Ghibli themselves and only distributed by Streamline) which is sadly unavailable except as part of a ridiculously expensive laser disc box-set.
Unfortunately I feel that the release has been partly spoiled by Disney. The voice acting is OK but the dialogue doesn't have the same raw energy that the "streamline" dub or the original Japanese had, and I think James Van Der Beek sounds too old to play the lead. They have made some pointless alterations, such as changing the main character's name from "Pazu" to "Patzu", and added some dialogue. But worst of all I feel that they have ruined many scenes with intrusive music - the opening scene of the airships for example was originally silent but has been spoiled thanks to Disney's moronic requirement that there be music playing whenever anyone is not speaking, which I find annoying in many Disney films.
This film still blows away most recent animated films, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The plot is simple yet captivating and the film shows a flair which is sadly missing from most modern mass-market, homogenized animation.
- Best animated film I've ever seen 9/6/2004 12:00:00 AM by princesszandra
I have seen just about all of Miyazaki's films, and they are all beautiful and captivating. But this one rises above the rest. This movie totally impressed me!
I fell in love with Pazu and Sheeta, and their sweet, caring friendship. They were what made the movie for me. Of course, the animation is also superb and the music captures the feelings in the film perfectly. But the characters are the shining point in this movie: they are so well developed and full of personality.
Now, let me clarify: I'm really talking about the Japanese version of the movie (with English subs). While the English dub is good (mostly), it simply pales in comparison to the original language version. The voices are better, the dialogue, everything. So I suggest seeing (and hearing) the movie the way it originally was.
- A great animated family adventure 12/2/2004 12:00:00 AM by lilliquist
This is one of the best animated family films of all time. Moreover, virtually all of the serious rivals for this title came from the same creative mind of Hiyao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli. Specifically, other great films include "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Kikki's Delivery Service." Spirited Away is quite good, but a bit too creepy for typical family fare - better for teenagers and adult. The one thing that sets "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" apart from other films by Miyazaki is that it is far more of a tension-filled adventure ride.
Why is this film so good? Because it's a complete package: the animation is very well done, and the story is truly engaging and compelling.
Most Japanese anime is imaginative, but decidedly dark or cynical or violent; and the animation itself is often jerky, stylized, and juvenile. None of these problems plague Castle in the Sky. It has imagination to burn, and the characters are well drawn, if slightly exaggerated versions of realistic people. (None of those trench-coat wearing posers) There is plenty of adventure, but not blood and gore. The animation is smooth, detailed, and cinematic ally composed - not a lot of flat shots. The backgrounds are wonderful.
The voice acting in the dubbed English version is first rate, particularly the two leads, Pazo (James Van der Beek) and Sheeta (Anna Paquin). The sound engineering is great, too. Use your studio sound, if you've got it.
One aspect that I particularly enjoyed is that much of the back story is left unexplained. Laputa was once inhabited, and is now abandoned. Why? We never know. We know as much as we need to know, and then we just have to accept the rest, which is easy to do because the invented world is so fully realized. Indeed, it is fair to say that the world is more fully realized than most of the minor characters, who are for the most part one-dimensional stock characters (e.g., gruff general, silly sidekick, kooky old miner, etc.) Highly recommended for people aged 6 to 60!