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Laputa - Castle In The Sky (DVD)

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7 Reviews
  • Terrific movie
  • Excellent dubbing (Disney's version)
  • Streamline Tokuma dub is REALLY BAD
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    7 Reviews
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      24.09.2014 04:27
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      • "Excellent dubbing (Disney's version)"
      • "Terrific movie"

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      • "Streamline Tokuma dub is REALLY BAD"

      Fantastic animated adventure — one of Miyazaki's greatest!

      Having scored a box office success with NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND, Hayao Miyazaki was on his way to becoming a respected animator in his native country of Japan. Yet this was only the beginning; with the help of Isao Takahata, Miyazaki enlisted the backing of their financial distributor, Tokuma Shoten, to establish their own animation company, known today as Studio Ghibli. Under this new facility, Miyazaki directed his third feature--and the first to be produced under the "Ghibli" banner - a rollicking, fast-paced action-adventure tale called LAPUTA: THE CASTLE IN THE SKY. The basis for the film's title is derived from Jonathan Swift's famous book "Gulliver's Travels", in which there is a chapter dedicated to floating islands bearing the name "Laputa". But wait a minute--"Laputa" is an offensive phrase in Spanish. Swift was aware of this when he wrote his book, but Miyazaki wasn't. It did cause for an obstacle in bringing the film stateside, though, hence it was decided to re-title the film as just CASTLE IN THE SKY for its North American release. (So this is what I will be referring the film as from this point on.) Initially, the film wasn't as financially successful as NAUSICAA in its Japanese debut, proving to be something of a box office disappointment. But CASTLE IN THE SKY has nonetheless earned its legion of fans over the years and is today hailed as a classic... and rightfully so.

      For viewers who may be more familiar with Miyazaki's later work, such as PRINCESS MONONOKE, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, and even SPIRITED AWAY, CASTLE IN THE SKY might seem more like a "simplistic" good vs. evil fairy tale, and it unashamedly is. Its characters are based on "archetypes" and are consequently not as multi-layered as the aforementioned films. That said, the film maintains all the ingredients for the kind of timeless classic Miyazaki is capable of:

      Breathtaking animation? Check.

      A wondrous musical score? Check.

      A solid and intriguing plot? Check.

      An aural of warmth and wonder? Check.

      Memorable characters (despite the aforementioned issue)? Check.

      So in short, one can easily pinpoint how this movie differs from most of Miyazaki's output, but there's so much to appreciate in CASTLE IN THE SKY that one would be hard-pressed to dismiss it.

      The film begins with a bang, literally, when a magnificent airship is attacked by a gang of "sky pirates" and their leader, a wizened but still vigorous woman named Dola. The pirates are in search of the airship's prisoner, a lonely little girl who has been taken away from her home. Her name is Sheeta, and she possesses a crystal that contains mysterious powers. Just when they are about to grab her, she escapes by climbing outside her cabin and dropping through the clouds. (All of this, before the opening credits!) As she falls, the crystal around her neck sparkles to life, and Sheeta literally floats down from the sky, landing safely into the arms of Pazu, a boy her own age who works as a miner.

      When she stirs from unconsciousness, Sheeta learns that Pazu is an instant friend and eager to help her in any situation. But the genial youth has a tragic burden on his shoulders: his late father once discovered a mysterious floating island named "Laputa" and took a picture of it while astride an airship, but nobody except Pazu believes it exists. As further proof, he shows Sheeta a book which contains further evidence of Laputa, including its people and supposed treasures. (In the original Japanese version, this is, in fact, "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift, but in the Disney-produced English language version, it is simply his father's journal.) He is eager to clear his father's tarnished name by building an airplane to discover Laputa for himself. Just then, however, the two find themselves on the run from Dola and her sky pirates (which include a trio of burly but not very smart or brutish "boys" who refer to Dola as "mom", when the latter always chides them, "Call me Captain!"). After a thrilling chase on a train chugging over a steep chasm, Pazu and Sheeta escape into the mines where they meet a kindly old man named Uncle Pom, who "speaks" to the rocks underground--he tells them that Sheeta's crystal is a long forgotten mineral (volucite in the original, aetherium in the English version) that was used to empower the island of Laputa. If Sheeta's crystal is misused, he warns, the world will suffer great unhappiness. Pazu and Sheeta set off again, only to be captured by military soldiers under the command of the shady Colonel Muska, who, it turns out, is also interested in Sheeta's crystal and will stop at nothing to unlock its darkest secrets. In a surprising turn of events, Pazu is sent back home, where he finds Dola and her gang; these guys transition into true allies as they help Pazu rescue Sheeta and set off in search of Laputa before Muska does.

      It's not hard to guess how the story is going to turn out, but Miyazaki nonetheless manages to cram in enough interesting plot points, depth, and momentum to keep audiences interested for two full hours. Part of this aspires to how he designs the world of CASTLE IN THE SKY. Aside from settings underground, above ground, and, well, above the clouds, the artwork is rich with detail and imagination. From Pazu's simplistic hometown to the haunting caverns with shimmering rocks, from the dreary interiors of the army's stronghold to the titular structure itself, everything is as fully realized and gorgeously rendered as any of Miyazaki's other worlds. Contrasting the primitive settings are the technological marvels that are very reminiscent of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. There are airships (from the ominously powerful, zeppelin-like Goliath that the army provides, and a much more run-down, comical craft called Tiger Moth), dragon-fly shaped flight-crafts called "flapters", trains, and robots. Yep, robots. But don't worry, these robots are not the kind of shapeshifting, bulky, heavily armored giants one would expect to see from, say, Transformers, but rather, they are more simplistic in design. These robots are extremely powerful and can decimate anything with massive laser blasts, but at heart, they are gentle creatures who only serve to look out for remnants of the citizens of its home country.

      Speaking of which, Miyazaki's love for nature is also highlighted in this film: in the latter half of the story, when our protagonists finally find Laputa, the wonders it holds are similarly fascinating. At its heart-a grassy garden with beautiful plants, and a gargantuan tree serving as its center. The only creatures who dwell there are the aforementioned robots as well as birds and little animals (in fact, the robots who protect the garden seem to be especially fond of the creatures). In what may also be an amusing bonus, fox-squirrels from NAUSICAA (probably Teto's cousins) make a cameo appearance in this very scene.

      Adding to the charm are the characters which populate this tale; Dola, in particular, is arguably the most memorable of the cast. An initially gruff and bossy elder, mainly driven by greed, is actually softhearted (however hard she tries to show otherwise), and it is endearing to see her gradually transition from a potentially villainous character to a true ally. (This is a common trait of most Miyazaki films.) Impeccably voiced by Cloris Leachman in the Disney dub, she provides for the funniest moments in the picture, as do her boys, the brash but shy Louie (Mandy "Inigo Montoya" Pantinkin), burly Charles aka Shalulu (Mike "Friar Tuck" McShane), and freckle-faced Henri (Andy Dick). One particularly hilarious scene involves a street brawl between the pirate boys and Pazu's boss, in which both men compare their muscles before rushing into a punching match (this can be seen as a somewhat "cartoonish" moment in the film, but not at all to its detriment). In another, all three become fascinated with the sweet-natured Sheeta, requesting her to bake desserts and even resorting to helping her out in the gully... or rather, competing to do so. (Videogame fans should also notice that a character on Dola's ship bears an uncanny resemblance to Dr. Eggman/Robotnik. This is because the creator of SONIC was inspired by this film.)

      Muska also deserves mention, mainly because he serves as the major antagonist of the film. Most Miyazaki features are often devoid of a villain with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and that's what makes Muska stand out--he is obsessed with power and is simply evil personified. He's manipulative, smooth, sly, and dangerously treacherous--when Muska unveils his true colors, he becomes totally psychopathic and ruthless. Like Dola, he commands every scene he's in with a deliciously villainous aura and is all the more memorable for it. In what may be a clever casting choice, his voice is supplied by Mark Hamill, who has had quite a career in voice acting after STAR WARS. It helps, too, that the character is a dead ringer for the former Jedi Knight. Even the supporting players, from the kindly Uncle Pom, to the army soldiers (including their easily exasperated but not very intelligent General), Pazu's boss, and even the high-pitched little girl who chases a pig out of a house are all memorably defined. In fact, the supporting cast is so strong that the lead characters, Pazu and Sheeta (as played by James van der Beek and Anna Paquin, respectively), may seem like the least interesting characters in comparison. They're likeable, skillful, and loyal, and develop a very nice relationship. But that's really all they really are. That said, it really is not a deal-breaker--and other than that, both are very much worth rooting for. (It is also to Miyazaki's credit that, even though Sheeta does have to be rescued, she still manages to show some backbone.)

      Viewers spoiled by the more lavish, flashy backgrounds found in PRINCESS MONONOKE and SPIRITED AWAY may find the visuals in CASTLE IN THE SKY somewhat dated, as the film was, after all, animated more than twenty five years ago. As such, there are some places in which the animation comes across as a bit limited. Frankly, however, compared to many other films produced in this era, the actual artwork is phenomenal, the character designs are classic Miyazaki, and every frame is lovingly crafted with skill, detail, and wonder. The animation is all the more spectacular during the action set pieces of the film, which are every bit as exciting and thrilling as a George Lucas/Steven Spielberg blockbuster... perhaps even more so.

      The major attraction to CASTLE IN THE SKY, however, is in its musical score, as provided by Joe Hisaishi. The main theme for the title structure is haunting and melancholy, and the rest of the pieces have a distinctively beautiful style that the composer has become synonymous for. Every note of this score enhances the images onscreen and inject the overall tale with a quality that goes above and beyond its requirements. Interestingly, the score has also become a major source of debate for many fans of the film. The original Japanese version has a rather sparse approach to its music, totally contributing to about 45 minutes of the overall film. It's also obvious that the score was produced electronically, as there are certain cues that come across as somewhat dated in their gratingly synthy nature. In the Disney-produced English version, Joe Hisaishi was commissioned to extend and rework his score for a full performance with a symphony orchestra. A lot of purists have detested this new score vehemently, declaring that it only succeeds in destroying the film, yet anyone unfamiliar with the original score won't even notice. But it ultimately doesn't matter whether this new score was composed to appeal to audiences uncomfortable with lengthy periods of silence (as one executive declared), or if it was a case of Hisaishi trying to improve his work. What really counts is that the new score is simply phenomenal; the tunes are every bit as vibrant, and the crisply recorded quality of the orchestra lends a very fresh, epic tone to CASTLE IN THE SKY. There are many scenes in the film which are arguably much more powerful with the new score, particularly an initially acapella choir piece at the end of the picture (which is abruptly cut short); in this new version the orchestra gradually crescendos as the piece reaches its climax. It's the sort of music that would make John Williams blush.

      Touching on Disney's English version (produced in 1998 but delayed until 2003), it is admittingly a much more boisterous interpretation as opposed to the more subdued take from the original, but that doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, for the most part, Disney's version excels in many areas, and at times, rivals the original. As mentioned, Hamill and Leachman play their roles perfectly and arguably the biggest hitters in the whole show -- both are arguably among the best performances of any Ghibli dubs. Patinkin, McShane, and Dick all sound like they're having a great time with their parts, and most of the other actors such as Jim Cummings as the General, Richard Dysart as the kindly Uncle Pom, and the ubiquitous Tress MacNeille in a memorable cameo as the wife of Pazu's boss all turn in fine performances. The script is also well written, with lots of lively exchanges and sounds smooth throughout. As with KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, scriptwriters John Semper and Jack Fletcher seize opportunities to include some extra lines of incidental dialogue. Sometimes this approach works well: the pirates, for instance, are much more fleshed out with the banter supplied to them, and there's a very amusing moment where Sheeta tries to talk like a pirate to a disgruntled Dola. Both of these are harmless little bits which expand on the character interaction of the film. That said, there are some places where Semper and Fletcher do go overboard, such as Pazu and Sheeta commenting on things the audience can clearly see when they explore Laputa in the latter half of the film. None of which are deal breakers by any means, but they seem a bit like much. However, I do have at least one major criticism about the adaptation, and that may be the alteration of the last part of Sheeta's speech to Muska toward the end of the film. I personally think it would have worked much better if Disney had left it as "you can't survive from Mother Earth", as the replacement "the world cannot live without love" feels out of place. That said, it's really the only false note of an otherwise fluently written adaptation script. Van der Beek and Paquin do decent jobs overall as Pazu and Sheeta, but it should be known that both sound more like teenagers as opposed to their more higher-pitched counterparts in the Japanese version. Neither can be considered ideal choices for their roles or the strongest in the dub, but I do have to commend James for the enthusiasm that he brings to his part (and not being so shrieky) and Paquin, although sometimes inconsistent in her delivery, otherwise acquits herself fairly well. (The somewhat mixed-up New Zealand/Canadian accent she speaks with actually works in favor of her character, too, even though its shifts from dialect to dialect can be jarring at times.) In short, the dub may be too jarring for those who grew up on the original version, but for all its minor faults, Disney's version is still a worthwhile dub in its own right, and one that I can recommend wholeheartedly to anyone willing to give dubs a chance.

      For the record, I also liked the Japanese version, but it's not better or worse than Disney's, only different. In short, both are great entertainments, but getting the most out of one or the other may depend on what you bring with you to it. And both are miles better than the hideous '80s JAL dub, which, in all fairness, is more "accurate", but has some of the worst voice acting I've ever listened to. Though the leads sound younger in this older dub, neither of their actresses turn in anything of the way of an inspired performance and are actually more lifeless compared even to James and Anna. No offense to Barbara Goodson or Lara Cody; both are capable voice actresses, but because the older dub was produced in such a quick time, neither were able to provide their characters with any spark. The supporting cast fares even worse, with Rachel Vanowen screaming with no charisma as Dola, Dave Mallow, Barry Stigler, and Eddie Frierson all sounding embarrassingly cartoonish and hokey as her sons, while Uncle Pom sounds like a goofy cartoon character. Muska is the real reason the older dub spirals uncontrollably to Earth, though. With all apologies to the late Jeff Winkless, his Muska sounds like he's cold reading from the script with zero charisma and no menace. He sounds like an emotionless robot, and is saddled with even worse dialogue. Voices aside, the dialogue is not very well written either, with a lot of phrases that sound choppy, bizarre, awkward, and just laughable. Even the one asset that it doesn't alter the last part of Sheeta's speech isn't enough to counter for all its other faults. (The fact that Disney recently reissued their dub WITHOUT the newer score and extra chatter for U.S. audiences also nullifies the argument that this was the only dub to use the original Japanese sound effects and music.) In short, it's not worth the trouble of importing the Japanese DVD just to hear this older dub unless you're a diehard fan who happened to hear it long ago.

      CASTLE IN THE SKY took a bafflingly long time to be released outside its home country of Japan, with varying qualities of DVD releases. Recently, however, the film has been brought to BluRay along with a combo DVD pack, which viewers in the UK will probably have their hands on with by now. The movie looks fantastic on BluRay, the colors especially rich and vibrant. It is easily superior to the DVD transfers, which, although not bad, suffered from a lot of ghosting and edge enhancement issues. There is also a smattering of more extras: there are interviews from Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki as well as the U.S. featurette in which the English voice cast from the Disney dub demonstrate their vocal acting skills. The meatiest extra is arguably a 12 minute long "promotion" video from 1986, in which we get a glimpse at a younger Miyazaki as well as his production staff. We even get to see the creative talents behind the film at work.

      The Japanese version is offered in a lossless stereo mix, while the English version gets a 5.1 lossless channel. For fans who would rather hear it in English, though, it should be noted that this release of the Disney dub makes a few changes. The extra dialogue is all but dialed out of the BD remix, for instance, and in the U.S. release, the rescore is also unfortunately omitted, reverting back to the original Japanese mix. This also has the unintentional effect of making Disney's dub sound more empty than it actually is. Thankfully on the UK BD, the rescore is still intact. (For those who want the Disney dub uncut, it's still on the DVD.)

      All in all, CASTLE IN THE SKY is a mesmerizing, thrilling, funny, and ultimately delightful film that could very well be considered Miyazaki's most accessible film. Even if the plot is predictable, it is told with skill and manages to keep one intrigued. Its characters are endearing, it looks great, even after all these years, and it is simply "a joy to watch" (as the New York Times quote describes.) Be sure to put this film on your "must-see" list if you're going to discover Miyazaki--it's one of his best films ever, and I highly recommend it.

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      07.06.2010 14:51

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      a classic adventure story, a must own

      This was the first film that introduced me to the world of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyzaki (sometimes called the Japanese Disney). Before I talk about the film I want to talk about the case. It is very well presented with a nice silver band at the top starting the film is part of the Ghibli collection also on the spine all the films are numbered, this one being number 6. This does encourage you to go and buy the others (trust me I have a full set). On to the language options, with some Japanese films that options are limited no with this release. You can have the original Japanese with remastered English subtitles or a remastered English audio track with new voices (Mark Hamill, James Der beek etc.) This really makes the film for new with use off quality English voices. So on to the film, well the it looks beautiful even now. So on to the story, a young boy Pazu has his life changed forever when a young girl (Sheeta) literally drops from the sky into his arms. It turns out Sheeta is being hunted down my sky pirates and government forces, Sheeta holds the key to reaching the castle in the sky, the flying city off Laputa. The film the tells a great off Pazu's and Sheeta's struggle to reach Laputa and save it from the hands of the evil forces

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      28.05.2010 13:21
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      Ghibli's best in stunning hand-drawn detail

      Studio Ghibli's finest.
      A young girl Sheeta falls from an air ship into the hand of Pazu. She's is surrounded by a blue light from her pendant, an ancient relic of the flying city of Laputa: a relic that can point the way to the legendary city. Sky pirates are chasing Sheeta due to the gold that is said to lie in the flying city. The military is also after Sheeta due to them believing Laputa contains a super weapon that they could use for wars.
      Sheeta and Pazu make it their mission to find Laputa before it falls into either hands.
      The film is stunningly pretty. The hand-drawn cartoons are seriously missing from today's CGI computer based stuff. You feel a greater love that's gone into a film painstakingly hand-drawn (I'm not saying that computer animation is easy, far from it in fact). There are so many subtle quirks placed inside the film, such as when Pazu in the background of a conversation drinks from a hot drink and does the reaction of when you sip something hot: head flies back slightly mouth open, before blowing the top. There's no real reason for this apart from realism, but, as with all Ghibli, it's these tiny nuances that make up a great hole.
      Also, wait till you see the robots: I want one.

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      03.09.2009 14:40
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      An unexpected surprise!

      'Laputa- Castle in the Sky' was made in 1986 by the legendary Japanese animation studio 'Studio Ghibli'. As with all of the Studio Ghibli films released on DVD in the UK, it features both the dubbed version and the subbed version. The dubbed cast features the voice talents of Mark Hamill, Cloris Leachman, Anna Paquin and James Van Der Beek but more on this later.

      Synopsis: The film starts with an airship being pursued by pirates. However, in a bid to escape from both her captors and the pirates, the main female character (Sheeta) falls from the airship and into the sky below. To her surprise though, a pendant that she carries with her at all times emits a strange blue glow and she floats to safety. Meanwhile, in a mining village the lead male protagonist (Pazu) is going about business for work when, in the distance, he sees something blue floating from the sky. Interested, he goes to examine closer up only to be shocked that it is a young girl. The following morning, when Sheeta awakes, he learns more about her and the mysterious pendant she carries around.

      From this, cue the same band of pirates we met earlier on (still in pursuit of the pendant), the military who are also after this pendant, airships, robots and a floating castle in the sky. It may sound childish, even immature, but please note that this is not always the case. There are some more destructive themes in play, especially in the second half of the film, but nothing that is offensive or disturbing to watch.

      Music: Freshly rescored for the Disney release of the film, Joe Hisaishi has created a truly remarkable and memorable soundtrack. As with most films, there is a reoccurring theme tune within the majority of key pieces, but each piece has been created to suit the backdrop and mood perfectly. While there is a certain 80's vibe in some of the pieces, it isn't offensive to hear and I found it quite easy to fall in love with the music. It is also one of the best music scores featured in any Studio Ghibli film.

      Voices: For the re-release of the film, some bigger names in the acting world have been brought in so add a more modern touch to what could have been considered a dated film. Now the film features the voice talents of Mark Hamill, Cloris Leachman, Anna Paquin and James Van Der Beek (among others), and most of these voices are easily recognised. While I feel the majority of dubbing suits the characters perfectly (especially Cloris being the lead pirate 'Dola'), both James and Anna seem to make their characters sound older than the cartoons look. However, if you can ignore this small aspect then you'll be surprised with the quality of voice acting going on.

      Opinion: This is such a gorgeous, wonderful film. While people might pass by it, dismissing it as 'just a cartoon', it is more intelligent and enjoyable to watch than many modern children's films. The cartoons might not be as polished as some newer cartoons (I must admit that I sometimes think that it does look a little dated) but it is more charming to watch that the usual CGI programmes that seem to be so commonplace now. If you are a fan of fantasy or have a child that wants something new to watch then I would seriously recommend purchasing this film. You won't be disappointed with it at all!

      If you are interested in buying this film, it is available from:

      Amazon.co.uk- £7.58 (free p&p).
      Play.com- £16.99 (free p&p).
      Hmv.com- £11.99 (free p&p).

      I managed to get hold of my copy during a HMV sale about 3 summers ago and it only cost me £5.00 so if you feel that these online retailers are expensive, check in store for better offers.

      Thanks for reading!

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        12.02.2009 12:10
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        A Studio Ghibli classic for sure!

        'Laputa; Castle in the Sky' was released in the year I was born, so I came across it as a child, and remember liking it, but not much else.

        About a year back I finally got hold of the DVD and suddenly it all came flooding back, and its clear that Studio Ghibli really set the standard with this little gem, being the first film they released.

        In a quaint mining town, Pazu, an orphan boy, finds Sheeta flaoting above a mine shaft, apprarntly suspended there by the beautiful blue crystal she wears around her neck.
        Kind hearted Paze takes her in immediately, but finds there is more to Sheeta as she is immediately hunted down by the millitary and a gang of pirates, who appear simultaneously. But Pazu is no wimp, and they both flee to the safety of the abandoned mines.

        Pazu and Sheeta set off on an amazing advenutre to find Laputa, which they believe to be the home of Sheeta's ancestors and the origin of her necklace and the spells she refuses to utter. All the while they find themselves dodging the efforts of Colonel Muska and the arms, as well as Dola and her gang of fumbling pirates.

        Another two hour adventure, this story is simply too big to sumarise without giving too much away, lets just sy its nice to see a kids film with a decent plot and some good twists and turns. It's got it all, a lovable hero, a damsel in distress, flying machines, pirates, and a formidable villain. Oh, and theres some robots thrown in for good luck, too!
        It's rare you will find a Japanese film that isnt either incredibly moralistic or just monsterously terrifying, but don't worry, this is the first. The story teaches us that there can be no power without love and that a ruler without compassion does not deserve a kingdom. It might be considered pretty heavy stuff for kids at first glance but there is so much humour and action, as well as some amazing architecture and machinery, which again these fantastic films cant seem to get enough of (I think they are secretly scientists, really). Don't worry though, though there is fighting its more often than not very comical and its nothing that will give your kids nightmares. They might even come back to it one day as an adult saying; 'I saw that as a kid and remember loving it'.

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          07.10.2008 14:50
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          Immerse yourself it the wondrous world of Laputa, defiantly worth watching

          Made by Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Howls Moving Castle) Latputa - Castle in the Sky is Hayao Miyazaki's third feature film. Originally released in 1986 in Japan, more recently it has been dubbed in English by Disney and re-released in 2006.

          The story revolves around the myth of Laputa, a floating island (the idea for which was taken from Gulliver's Travels). Sheeta, a young girl, has inherited a mysterious crystal necklace which everyone seems to want. Escaping her pursuers she is befriended by Pazu, an orphan boy, whose father was ridiculed for his quest to find Laputa. It eventually emerges that Sheeta, the crystal and Latuta are all linked, and Pazu and Sheeta must find Laputa to save it from the hands of the evil Muska.

          Like all Miyazaki films Laputa is beautifully animated, before CGI, and although the English version has been released by Disney it is NOT a Disney film. The flying machines in the film are superbly drawn and all the characters very individual. The soundtrack is also beautiful and works really well with the movie

          The film has a minor ecological message (as do lots of Miyazaki's films) but mostly it is just a beautifully animated fairytale. I do not think this film is specifically for children, or maybe it just appeals to the inner child in me, but I would recommend it for all ages, especially good for watching with your kids maybe.

          Laputa - Castle in the Sky is just over 2 hours long so get the pop corn in, and sit back and let Laputa work its magic - enjoy.

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            24.05.2008 20:40
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            a beautiful watch for people who love to dream about flying

            A studio ghibli movie created by the ever popular Hayao Myazaki who created such movies as spirited away, princess mononoke and howls movie castle in recent years.

            Laputa castle in the sky was originally released 1n 1986 in japan and comes with both an English subtitle an dubbed track, both i think are equally good, the movie lasts for 124 minutes or just over 2 hours long, this dvd contains special features and previews form other studio ghibli movies also. Most of which are suitable for most viewers, these movies are sometimes described as the Disney of japan.

            The story like most studio ghibli movies starts with a young heroine, but this one in particular seems to be held captive in a dirigible balloon by a government organization, in her attempt to escape she falls hundreds of feet from the blimp when it is attacked by sky pirates.

            However she does not plumate to her doom, her necklace begins to glow and she slowly levitates down to the little town below where she is rescued by a young man similar in age and interests to herself.

            Together they decide to seek the flying city of laputa which is connected to the reason why sheeta the young girl can levitate the young mans father set out to find.

            The story has a strange twist though as ceramic giant robots are detected and obey sheeta the young girl , and the two youngsters are aided by the sky pirates (which initially attacked the governments ship) to find out her past and her connections to the sky.

            As to be expected the visuals and music are beautiful and moving, this is a great family movie and really can appeal to all ages.

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          Inspired by Gulliver's Travels, the fantasy-adventure Castle in the Sky was Hayao Miyazaki's third feature, and helped to establish his reputation as a visionary in both Japan and America. The orphan Sheeta inherited a mysterious crystal that links her to the legendary sky-kingdom of Laputa. With the help of resourceful Pazu and a rollicking band of sky pirates, she makes her way to the ruins of the once-great civilization. Sheeta and Pazu must outwit the evil Muska, who plans to use Laputa's science to make himself ruler of the world. Castle echoes elements in Myazaki's earlier Nausicaä, and anticipates imagery in his later films, from My Neighbor Totoro to Spirited Away. Disney's new English dub, which features Anna Paquin (Sheeta), James Van Der Beek (Pazu), and Cloris Leachman (pirate matriarch Dola), is lively and close in tone to the original Japanese, if a bit talkier. The exciting flying sequences, appealing characters, and fantastic vision of a steam-powered future Jules Verne might have imagined make Castle in the Sky a must-have for fans of Japanese and Western animation. --Charles Solomon , Amazon.com