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Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta) (1986)

  Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Kotoe Hatsui, Mayumi Tanaka, Minori Terada, Keiko Yokozawa
Links: Laputa: Castle in the Sky on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Another Miyazaki masterpiece" - a review by pearly

Have you figured out that I am rather fond of Hayao Miyazaki's films yet? If not, then you should pay better attention!

If I may (I'm hoping that I am not beginning to sound as repetitive as one Mr Rob Sitch at this stage), I would like to begin by telling you which Miyazaki common theme grouping Laputa: Castle in the Sky fits in. The themes represented most strongly in this one are flying and the environment, with its contents probably being in closest alignment with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds (1984), but there are also less obvious connections to Porco Rosso (1992). Another obvious theme is that of castles, with the word being contained in the titles of (so far) three of Miyazaki's films: this one, The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), and Howl's Moving Castle (2004) (both of which I am yet to see).

Laputa: Castle in the Sky came a couple of years after Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds, but the two films are quite similar. Had I not seen what has come from Miyazaki since, I might have been worried at this point that he was a one-trick pony. The films are sufficiently different as to be able to get something from each of them, but there's no denying that when Miyazaki thinks he's onto a good thing, he sticks to it. Even the cutest little character from Nausicaä, the fox-squirrel Teto, re-appears here in the company of the robot soldiers of Laputa island.

This film is the story of Sheeta (Keiko Yokozawa), a young orphan girl who, at the beginning of the film is kidnapped, but, being unaware of her ancestry, is not sure why. Whilst trying to escape from the airbus in which she is being transported, Sheeta falls from the sky, and looks destined to die.

As she nears the ground though, the crystal around her neck begins to glow, and a young boy, Pazu (Mayumi Tanaka), who is also an orphan, sees her gliding down from above, and runs to catch her. Pazu is full-of-beans, and eager to help out his new friend, who he soon discovers is being chased by both pirates, and the army. It is down in Pazu's basement that Sheeta finds a photograph of a castle hidden amongst clouds, which has a caption of Laputa. Sheeta is drawn to the photo, and asks Pazu about its origin. Pazu explains that the photo was taken of his father, and that his father insisted that there was a castle, named Laputa, which was located above the clouds. Pazu's father was ridiculed for most of his life as no-one believed his claims, and it has long been Pazu's aim to find Laputa. In Pazu, Sheeta believes she has found a kindred spirit.

Miyazaki has done it again with this film. Probably more so than any of his other work, it evokes a sense of romance; one which is present in a lot of his films, but which comes to the forefront here. By romance, I don't mean that it's about love between a man and a woman, but more that the whole story has a certain feel about it; kinda like saying that a trip to Paris is romantic.

I really liked the get-up-and-go nature of Pazu. His energy is unstoppable, and his good nature is bound to rub off onto anyone watching the film. For comic relief, there are the pirates, with their leader Dola (Kotoe Hatsui), an elderly woman that her charges call mama, and who rules them with a bit of an iron fist.

Thanks Miyazaki, for continually making me grin like an idiot at the stuff I'm seeing on screen. Very enjoyable.

pearly gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 10 Sep 2004

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Number of reviews: 1
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Reader comments

  1. I give it an eight because the main characters never kissed, but other than that is was amazing. Literally breath-taking

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from Usagi on Sun 28 Nov 2004 15:17 #

  2. The soundtrack did it for me - esp the choir at the end. Great characters and a 'fairytail' story make this one of the best Ive seen!

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from rob taylor ( on Fri 08 Apr 2005 01:27 #

  3. poo

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from poo on Mon 11 Apr 2005 01:09 #

  4. Keeping the characters from kissing allows it to keep a sense of innocence. Has good comedy mixed in with a great story.

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from Anderson on Sun 01 May 2005 07:14 #

  5. I just love Miyazaki films, and this film was just like all his other films. Ever since I watched "puss in boots" done partly by Miyazaki i was interested in seeing all of his movies.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from mf on Mon 04 Jul 2005 12:28 #

  6. When I saw Mononoke for the first time 6 years ago, I never thought I'd see a better movie. Then I saw Castle in the Sky and I can honestly say that it's the best movie I've ever seen and probably will ever see. Right from the begining to the end, there isn't a second of Castle that I'm not in utter awe of. It's so special that all of the character's relationships change as the movie progresses and you genuinely care about them if not from the begining, guaranteed at the end. And what an ending! It's so subtle yet you understand totally what happens afterwards and you can't help but thinking Why must this end? Usually with things this good that happen to me, I'll wake up and it won't be true. But if Castle in the Sky really is just a dream of mine, I never want to wake up.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Tony on Sun 09 Apr 2006 18:02 #

  7. awesome movie!! it was just breath taking, i love this guys movies and i hope he keeps makin them,also i couldn't stop watching this movie, it was just mesmerizing!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from paul on Mon 08 May 2006 12:08 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.43 (7 ratings)

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