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Castle in the Sky review

Updated on September 24, 2012
5 stars for Castle in the Sky
Castle in the Sky promotional poster
Castle in the Sky promotional poster

An animated adventure bound to satisfy everyone!

Castle in the Sky is a beautifully animated Japanese feature written and directed by world-renowned animation director Hayao Miyazaki. He has directed such classics as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. The nature of Miyazaki's films can best be described as universal, genre bending and timeless. Most of them carry important allegorical statements that usually involve the abuse of nature and the dichotomous reality of human emotion... As you can already tell if you aren't keen on his films they are not just silly infantismal childrens fantasy stories. They are deep and profound works and they will garner your utmost respect!

Sheeta falls gracefully from the sky. Probably the coolest first impression one can make!
Sheeta falls gracefully from the sky. Probably the coolest first impression one can make!

"The earth speaks to all of us, and if we listen, we can understand." (spoilers)

Castle in the Sky was made in 1986 the same year its plot is based (though not reminiscent of our 1986) and it follows the story of a mysterious young girl, Sheeta who falls from the sky after her airship is attacked by sky pirates. The story also follows a courageous young boy, Pozu who works in a small mining town. Sheeta falls peacefully and unconsciously for she holds a crystal of great power that prevents her death. As she falls Sheeta is saved by Pozu when she almost falls into a dangerous mine. When she awakes days later Pozu explains how he found her floating from the sky, "I thought you might've been an angel" (possible romantic interest? I think yes!). Sheeta does not remember anything, including that she is in great danger! She spots a picture on the wall of a floating island in the clouds, Pozu begins to tell her how his father captured the picture when he was flying and that the island's name was Laputa (the name was borrowed from the late 17th century novel Gulliver's Travels). The original title of the film was Laputa: The Castle in the Sky, Little did the Japanese director know that "la puta" in Spanish means "the whore" and is very offensive in Latin America. Though it is not pronounced this way, when Disney picked up the American rights they quickly changed the title, along with "Shita" being changed to "Sheeta" for obvious reasons. Miyazaki has stated if he had known he would've never chosen the name... They are soon chased by sky pirates and the army until they find their way underground and meet up with a hermit mystic who tells tale of the once technologically great floating city of Laputa. Soon after leaving the cave Sheeta is captured by the army and their devious boss Colonel Muska, who in the English dub is voiced by the wonderful Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker, Star Wars). And he is thrust into a quest to save her where he must team up with a group of pirates. Colonel Muska proves himself a great villain while Sheeta is his captive. He is a government agent on a mission to find Laputa. Muska reveals to Sheeta that she is a direct Relative of the people who used to live on Laputa. He is ruthless and will stop at nothing until he obtains the power from Sheeta's crystal. Pozu and Dola (leader and most of the time mother of the gang of pirates) rescue Sheeta and after several suspenseful run-ins with Muska in their airships they find their way into a massive storm of hurricane like proportions surrounding Laputa. Pozu and Sheeta make their way through the storm and land in the lush vibrant island and find that it's been taken over by nature. The only thing that inhabits it now are trees, animals and a robot that protects them. The ancient architecture is beautiful but shadowed by vast amounts of overgrown vegetation, the technology great but there's nobody to use it... Laputa is basically described as God (it is said to have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) in the legends Muska tells. It was once the greatest military power on the planet and ruled supreme with it's bottom being a giant cannon that basically shoots nuclear weapons. As Muska is about to seize all control of Laputa Sheeta remembers a magic spell her grandmother taught her, the spell of destruction. They speak it and Muska is defeated... most likely crushed by falling debris. The spells causes mass destruction to the island and all that's left is the nature that took over. The island floats off into the sky...

A robot that time forgot
A robot that time forgot

Final Thoughts...

Castle in the Sky is a fantastic Joy-ride and a great first step into the magical world of Hayao Miyazaki. It encompasses many different themes and keeps you thinking after the credits roll. It has intense action mixed with Miyazaki's' unique blend of fantasy and military storyline, a tale of government corruption and and how the nature of love and the nature of nature conquer all evil! He is by far one of my favorite directors and he will be one of yours as well if you watch his work!


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    • rsynd profile image

      rsynd 5 years ago from United States

      Cool screens and lengthy review.