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Jul 23, 2012

Studio Ghibli Marathon - CASTLE IN THE SKY.

Voice Cast:
                     Keiko Yokozawa, Mayumi Tanaka, Kotoe Hatsui, Minori Terada, Ichiro Nagai, Fujio Tokita, Takuzo Kamiyama, Yoshito Yasuhara, Sukekiyo Kamiyama, Hiroshi Ito and others.

Directed By:
                        Hayao Miyazaki.

               Well Castle in the Sky or Laputa is the first movie created and released by Studio Ghibli and directed by the master of animation himself. As the title suggests, it revolves around a Flying Castle on an island called Laputa which was one of those flying cities that used to exist before and people used to live there until some catastrophe happened and the survivors were forced to live on the ground. Laputa is one of those islands that is believed to still exist and is concealed by a thunderstorm. In the opening scenes we see Sheeta being abducted by government agent Muska in an airship, the next moment an air pirate gang attacks the airship led by a woman named Dola. Both of them wants Sheeta and her stone, while escaping, Sheeta loses her grip and falls into the sky. The blue stone emits a mysterious light and she appears to be levitating in the sky. A young boy from the mining town Pazu, sees her and takes her home with her. He tells her about Laputa and how his father who was a pilot was in search for it too. The pirates and government agent is still after her, they escape in the mines and the the movie revolves around the cat and mouse chase in attempt to find that island that beholds some secrets.

              Now that i actually begin with the Marathon, i must say this is one of the Ghibli movies i have never seen before. I had no expectation whatsoever but i was so glad i really enjoyed this movie. It is filled but superb eye popping grand action sequences and every thing about it is just so great i don't wish it to be ruined but still, think about how great a live-action version of this movie directed by Cameron would look like. Castle in the Sky puts all these action adventure blockbusters to shame with its stunning visuals and still delivering a very engaging story. Released in 1986, 25 years ago, Hayao Miyazaki was still finding his pace and his real place where he wanted to be. I can begin to describe how utterly genius, amazing and great he still was. I mean animated movies back then with such big imagination and style and such grand way of storytelling is inspiring. At a time when Princesses, Talking Animals and Disney usual clutter was IT, in Japan the master was making movies like these that definitely inspired other studios to come out from this haze of charming, cute animation to do something different something more challenging.

             Beautiful imagery, stunning effects, beautiful looking movie, some of the parts in the movie before we actually see the floating island are a wonder on their own. For example i was stunned by that mining town, the scene where Sheeta and Pazu runs from the Pirates and the Government agent on those railroads. I was literally blown by how stunning that place looked and how exciting that scene was, like taken from some adventure movie like Indiana Jones or something. The movie might be a little slow for certain audience in some scenes and considering the attention span of children but those quite moments are one of the best things about Miyazaki's movies in contrast to his much more imaginative, stunning and breathtaking action pieces. I do agree that the characters in the movie aren't much memorable, lovable or interesting and there journey seems more interesting than their motives. I was more impressed by that man they meet in the mines who tells them the importance of a lost mineral than anyone else in the movie. The scenes on the airship of the pirates offer some funny and nostalgic moments. I love the sort of realism Miyazaki create with such scenes, they are fantasy but they feel so real. The castle on Laputa itself which holds the mysteries of the nature, magic, robots and some old legends is a wonder. Miyazaki adds elements of science fiction and the old Atlantis type of legends to create this wonderful mysterious world.

            This is one of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies and movies made by Hayao Miyazaki, i had a great watching it, very adventurous and uplifting.

Grade: A