|Entertaining Fantasy Film|
I had avoided watching 'Castle in the Sky' for many years. I was aware of Miyazaki's exemplary track record, and have enjoyed several of his films to date. However, I was aware that many of his earlier films were geared toward younger audiences. That, combined with the marketing materials (even before Disney got their hands on it) showed nothing of some of the more exciting elements of the story. All I knew was about young boy who met a young girl who 'fell from the sky', and that the film involved some kind of 'Castle in the Sky'. Sounds like a whole lot of ho-hum "let's put on a kiddie show" type stuff. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. The story deftly blends magic and technology in an early industrial culture. Yes, the orphan boy, Pazu does meet the orphan girl Sheeta when she fell from the sky - but the reason she fell was no mystical fairy tale reason - she was hanging off the side of an airship, being pursued by pirates, secret agents and the military! Thus begins a rousing chase, and a search for the ultimate weapon - Laputa, an island (not just a castle) floating in the sky. There's action and adventure aplenty. And the film should be of particular interest to the steampunk crowd as it's an early anime influence on the genre. There are a few things you have to overlook, such as attempts at humor both scripted, and ad libbed by the English cast, which fall flat, an annoyingly repetitive musical score, and the inevitable moralizing that gets pretty thick at the end of most anime features. But it's worth putting up with that stuff for the fun ride. Be sure to skip the John Lassiter intro which adds nothing to the proceedings.