Castle in the Sky (1986)

PG   |    |  Animation, Adventure, Drama


Castle in the Sky (1986) Poster

A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.


8/10
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  • Castle in the Sky (1986)
  • Anna Paquin and James Van Der Beek in Castle in the Sky (1986)
  • Anna Paquin and Keiko Yokozawa in Castle in the Sky (1986)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Hayao Miyazaki

Writer:

Hayao Miyazaki

Awards

1 win.

Reviews & Commentary

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5 October 2006 | CsikosPost
10
| A delightful fantasy that will bring out the child in anyone
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.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

69,262 traditional "cels" and 381 colors were used for this film.


Quotes

Dola: All right, me hearty, once you've taken off, you'll have to use the phone to communica...
Sheeta: You mean *this* phone?
Louis: She *is* good...


Goofs

In the punchout scene between Shalulu and Pazu's boss, there are instances where we don't hear any auditory reactions, much less punches, when the camera is showing long shots of the crowd in either the Japanese version or the Magnum-English dub. (Disney's version, predictably, adds in more walla and punching sounds for that scene.)


Crazy Credits

The end credits show the remains of the castle Laputa floating on Earth's orbit.


Alternate Versions

When Disney dubbed the film into English, they asked composer Joe Hisaishi to re-score it. (The original score was only about an hour long in a two-hour-plus movie, so it was felt that it should be fleshed out some more.) The reworking was done under the approval of Miyazaki himself. The revisited score is present in the English dubbed version on the Region 1 DVD released by Disney on April 15, 2003. However, purists can rest easy knowing that the original, unaltered score is present in the Japanese language track that is also present as an option on the DVD. The English dub also shortens the title to "Castle in the Sky," removing the word "Laputa". In 2010, Disney reissued the dub without the rescore or the occasional bits of extra dialogue (similar to "Kiki's Delivery Service") Oddly, however, while the American BluRay contains the edited 2010 dub, all the other international BDs have the rescore on the English dub track without the extra dialogue.


Soundtracks

Kimi wo Nosete (Carrying You)
Written by
Hayao Miyazaki
Performed by Azumi Inoue

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Animation | Adventure | Drama | Family | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

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