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A good movie

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 10 August 2017 08:47

Not to be confused with ‘Howl's Moving Castle’, another movie directed Hayao Miyazaki, to be honest, even if I was really eager to check this movie, I still struggled to get into the damned thing. I mean, you have to agree that the beginning was pretty much a huge mess during which most of the main protagonists were displayed without any introduction whatsoever during some rather chaotic action scene. My guess is that, since the whole thing already had a running time of 120 mins, they had to rush things somehow so they skipped a more standard introduction. As usual with Miyazaki, the main character was once again one of his typical pure and innocent girls but I always find them rather boring. At least, Pazu was slightly more interesting and entertaining. And yet, I have to admit that the damned thing slowly won me over somehow. First of all, even though it is now 30 years old, the animation was quite impressive, especially during the action scenes which were just so amazing to look at. There was also something quite mesmerizing about this mysterious floating island and the ending was quite powerful. To conclude, even though it was eventually too chaotic and messy for my taste, it was still pretty good and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre or if you are interested in Hayao Miyazaki’s work. 

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''A girl just fell from the sky.''

Posted : 10 years ago on 11 December 2009 09:04

''A girl just fell from the sky.''

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.

James Van Der Beek: Pazu

Hayao Miyazaki cream of the animation world with his deliciously successfully epics; maker and writer of Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, establishing a reputation of international recognition. But, long before he made epics with environmental messages and films with magical resonance and significance, he made this; Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta(1986), better known as Castle in the Sky.

The storyline is simple; a boy becomes friend with a girl whom has fallen from the sky, but landed safely thanks to a magic medallion she possesses. They soon end up being chased by pirates and agents trying to claim her mystical medallion, as this is artifact gains access to a floating castle known as Laputa; This castle coincidently(or indeed destiny) is the boys dream location of visiting. So, with his passion in mind, the boy and girl eventually team up with the pirates, set off to find this castle, although they have been followed by the agents who intend to steal its rare treasury.
With such a story that is never straightforward, there is more than just a fantastic script that makes this an all-time favourite animated film. Why? Indeed many will raise this question. For starters, there are action-packed sequences; like the chase sequence through the mines, executed with great suspense as well as being entertaining to the audience. Also great comedic moments; such as the men flexing their muscles before they start a chaotic fight in the street. Trust me, with the character designs for these guys, and the character animation done well to exploit their expressions; it is only just one example of Miyazaki's masterpiece's charm and sophistication. Development of the main characters is executed flawlessly; we view a relationship between the boy and the girl throughout this film. This is something you do not see that much in animated cinema; as such western animated projects spoil this progression tragically.

Dubbed in 1999, Laputa unfairly did not receive a home video release until four years later due to Spirited Away winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Film. During that time, it would be shown at the occasional film festival, selling out with little conversation about it. Despite limited success, Disney's official explanation for the delay was that Studio Ghibli wanted to avoid reverse-importation of the film in Japan and lose respective sales. However, by 2003, Laputa had long made its money back in dvd sales in Japan; fueling fire to the long-held fan speculation that the company purchased the Ghibli library for the purpose of sabotaging its potential success in the U.S.
Also interesting to know that the weaponry and mechanical settings in Laputa is a mixture of British and German designs. Miyazaki is a fan of German weaponry (he has manga works like The Return of Hans and Otto Carius - both about WWII German tank crews), so soldier's uniform, medals, and grenades(Stielhandgranate, the famous "potato masher" in WWII) are modeled after German design, not to mention the gigantic battle zeppelin "Goliath." However, since the town of Slag Ravine was modeled after a mining town in Wales, British-styled civilian clothing and British weapons such as Lee-Enfield SMLE Mk. III rifle (soldiers) and Webley top-break revolver (Muska and his agents) appeared frequently in the film.
The robots too in the film are inspired by another source; the ones being featured in the Fleischer version of Superman.

So, for those whom think Hayao Miyazaki is just another celebrated animation director for the current climate of animated cinema in recent years, they better stop and retrace their thoughts again. This is because he has long been successfully establishing his trademarks; such as the focus on children and his indulgent passion for flight, brilliantly pursued before he made his truly deserved impact on the international table. Castle in the Sky shows Miyazaki at his best once again, which is a standard he has been developing ever since, entertaining and fascinating millions worldwide along the way.

''Take root in the ground, live in harmony with the wind, plant your seeds in the Winter, and rejoice with the birds in the coming of Spring.''

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big Miyazaki fan, but this one sucked...

Posted : 12 years, 8 months ago on 14 April 2007 03:38

I've recently become a big Hayao Miyazaki fan. My favorite of his is probably 'Howl's Moving Castle, followed closely by Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro. Even Kiki's Delivery Service, though its clearly more for kids, was quite good. But 'Castle in the Sky' I couldn't even finish. I got nearly half way, and I found myself extremely annoyed by the cheezy dialog, the cheezy action scenes, and couldn't care more or less what happens later on. It feels completely lacking in that special charm found in his other masterpieces.

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