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I Bet You Didn't See... Castle in the Sky


I have become very fond of Anime films recently. There are a couple of points that attract me to them more than I expected.

Firstly, they through you into their world with very little exposition. Castle in the Sky is the only one I have seen with any sort of explanation at the beginning, and even then, it isn't much. The viewer is thrown into the film's world, and you are enveloped in the drama, tension and magic from the get-go. Castle in the Sky introduces us to an unusual magic almost straight away, and the interest it generates in two parties. The battle for it grows and our main characters learn the truth and the power of the past.

Secondly, the music is amazing. It supports the film, but doesn't lead any scene or drama. You don't really find any sequences have music that stands out, but when you hear the music it really fits and moves you.

Thirdly, I love the artwork. Like all Anime films, it doesn't flow in the same way as Western animation, and I enjoy that.

Castle in the Sky is the story of a young Princess being chased by Agents of her home country who are seeking Laputa, the Castle in the Sky. Yes, it is a floating city. Initially thought to be a legend, it is discovered to be true. The Princess is helped by a boy of her age who has helped her get out of his town and discovers the secrets of Laputa with her. I really liked watching their friendship grow, how they aren't childish and immature, and seeing that there is no romantic entanglement between them.

The Princess is chased by her country's Agents, who are led by someone who know more about Laputa than most, and he intends to use the girl to control the city. Also after her, but soon turned to her side, is an Air Pirate Captain and her family-come-crew. Her sons all fall in love with the Princess and are the comic relief of the film, while the Captain becomes a parental figure for our two main characters.

There are some wonderful little niche details that you can find when you research Anime films. Mark Hamill voices Muska, the evil Agent chasing the Princess, and Laputa and the mining town were inspired by a visit to South Wales.

I am a fan of Steampunk and "alternative" styles like that and Castle in the Sky has this in abundance. It is a fun, beautifully drawn and finishes on a really sweet, yet slightly sad note.

Written & Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring (English Dub): Mark Hamill, Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman, Jim Cummings

Released: August 2, 1986

My Rating: 8/10

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