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[Laputa mainpage]
Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta
(Laputa: The Castle in the Sky)


Reviews & Articles

Contents of this page

Published reviews and articles of the original 1987 English Language version

1). Los Angeles Times - July 14, 1987
2). Variety - December 2, 1987
3). Seattle Times - May 31, 1989
4). Boston Globe - June 16, 1989
5). The New York Times - August 18, 1989
6). San Jose Mercury News - August 25, 1989
7). The Washington Post - September 2, 1989
8). The Washington Times - September 4, 1989
9). The Christian Science Monitor - September 8, 1989
10). Deseret News - November 24, 1989
11). St. Petersburg Times - April 27, 1990
12). The Western Front - November 9, 1990
13). Los Angeles Times - September 26, 1999
14). Los Angeles Times - October 24, 1999

Los Angeles Times; July 14, 1987

Calender Section; page 3



Following is a review of today's screening at the Los Angeles Animation Celebration

"Laputa: The Castle in the Sky" (Japan, 1986)

Nuart Theater, 9:45 p.m.: 2 hours, 4 minutes

While many Japanese animated features conform to set patterns, this elaborate science-fiction adventure follows the conventions so slavishly it amounts to a generic film. Every element in "Laputa" has been seen many, many times before: the weird, semi-Caucasian characters with the enormous eyes; the elaborate machinery that suggests a steam-powered, 19th-Century vision of the future; the computer-generated special effects; the minimal plot, weighed down with hilariously inept dialogue.

Hard-core fans of Japanese sci-fi epics will undoubtedly enjoy this collection of cliches, but the somnambulant pacing and threadbare storyline will put the average viewer to sleep at least an hour before the long-lost Princess Sheeta finally destroys the floating island of Laputa, rather than let its deadly weapons and gargantuan robots fall into evil hands.

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Variety; December 2, 1987

Page 11

London Film Festival Review


By "Adam."

(Japanese - Animated - Color)

A Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co. production. Produced by Tatsumi Yamashita, Hideo Ogata, Isao Takahashi. Executive producer, Yasuyoshi Tokuma. Associate producer, Toru Hara. Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Camera (color), Hirokata Takahashi; editor, Miyazaki; production design, Toshiro Nozaki, Nizo Yamamoto; music, Jo Hisaishi; sound, Shigeharu Shiba; animation director, Yoshinori Kanada. Reviewed at the London Film Festival, Nov. 15, 1987. Running time: 124 MINS.

London -- A Japanese animated film of "Star Wars" dimensions, partly set in industrial revolution-era Wales, "Laputa" is based on an extract from Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." Hayao Miyazaki's children's pic is an ambitious and stylish venture that should work in some markets.

An exuberant English-language soundtrack has been added, and pic has enough suspense and excitement for wide youngster appeal. (It's a good bet for kidvid programming.) Running time of more than two hours, though, may make it a bit dodgy from some exhibs, so a little trimming is in order.

Pic opens with little girl Sheeta being carted off by airship for interrogation. When the ship is attacked by pirates, the bungling Dola family, she falls overboard but luckily floats to earth because she is wearing a rare levitation stone.

She floats into a desolate mining town and is caught by young technician Pazu. Then follow numerous chases, escapes and captures, until it is revealed Sheeta really is a princess and her stone is a key to the legendary floating city of Laputa.

The bad guys (the military) and the good guys (the pirates) all head for Laputa, where a final battle takes place. Pazu and Sheeta are reunited, the military are all killed, and the pirates escape with bags of loot.

Animation is excellent, and the desolate scenes of the mining village contrast beautifully with peaceful Laputa, which is secretly protected by hordes of death-dealing robots. The combination of high-tech and old-fashioned machinery (airships powered with hundreds of propellers) is charming, and the story contains a good deal of wit and compassion.

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Seattle Times; June 16, 1989

Section G


By Michael Upchurch
Special to the Times

At one point in "Laputa," when a military and pirate airship are racing through layers and fissures of cloud to reach a hidden treasure in the sky, the shadow of the pirate ship --surrounded by a faint halo -- moves over a changing cloud cover below. It's just one small detail in the magnificent canvas that makes up this fast-paced and visually stunning feature-length cartoon.

"Laputa, Castle in the Sky" is the first offering from Streamline Pictures, a recently formed presenter of Japanese animated films, big-budget extravaganzas aimed at a sophisticated audience. Future releases include "Twilight of the Cockroaches," a mixed live action and animation film described in Streamline's press kit as "Roger Rabbit" written by Franz Kafka."

Some of the films include violent and sexual content that make them unsuitable for children. "Laputa," however, is an action-adventure (loosely based on the writings of Jonathan Swift) that kids should love. It combines a "Star Wars" energy with fantastic vertiginous land- and cloud-scapes worthy of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil," and labyrinthine interiors which look like something out of "Alien." It's an airship fantasy, with fanciful prop-driven sky vehicles that buzz and cavort, swoop and soar. And the adventure is laced with a cheeky sense of humor.

"Laputa" opens with an attack by pirates on a military transport. They're after a "levitation" stone that Sheeta, an orphaned little girl, is wearing as a pendant around her neck. Sheeta, trying to escape the attack, falls off the ship --and wafts gently to the earth, protected by the illuminated stone.

She lands in the middle of a mining community where she meets Pazu, an orphan like herself. Pazu's father was a photographer whose snapshot of Laputa, a city that floated in the sky, was dismissed as a hoax. Pazu wants to vindicate his father's reputation by proving the existence of Laputa. Sheeta, upon learning that she is a long-lost descendent of Laputan royalty, agrees to seek the floating city out with Pazu.

They're pursued by a yuppie-looking secret investigation agent (courtesy of a government that is after the levitation stone's magic power for its military value) and a loudmouthed toothless lobster-munching Brunhilde in pink pigtails ("Mommy," the leader of the pirates, who has a pirates' thirst for treasure).

The only overtly Japanese characteristics of the movie are its opening and closing credits. It's dubbed in American English (the kids' voices are on the shrill side, but it's a fine job otherwise), and the characters, strangely, are all Caucasian. Pazu and Sheeta are cloyingly snub-nosed and cherubic in appearance, but are lively enough in character, gamely taking pratfalls as they engage in derring-do antics.

Some comedy is provided by Mommy's doltish pirate sons, who can't stop remarking how cute Sheeta is, adding, "It's hard to believe that one day she's going to be like our Mommy." Balanced with the prankish humor is a genuine atmosphere of mystery, especially when Pazu and Sheeta first land on an abandoned Laputa, overgrown with vines and flowers.

"Laputa," at two hours running time, never has a dull moment. It moves right along and whets the appetite for more from the same source.

3 and a half stars

"Laputa, Castle in the Sky," written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki Neptune Theater, tomorrow through Sunday. Suitable for general audiences.

[Image] Sheeta and Pazu holding hands while floating down over the mining town

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Boston Globe; June 16, 1989

Page 35

Movie Review


By Robert Garrett
Special to the Globe

A brief passage out of Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," describing a floating island in the sky called Laputa, inspired Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. What impresses you about the full-length animation "Laputa" is the wrap-around intensity of the animator's fantasy. Swift's image is the trigger, but Miyazaki creates his own world out of the modest materials familiar to anyone who's watched Saturday morning cartoons. His two juvenile heroes may look like kewpie dolls, with their bland round faces, but their adventures have the feverish bounce and texture of a waking dream.

The plot erupts rather than unfolds, and it's the sort of pure childish escapism in which whimsy mixes freely with recognizable fragments of conventional logic. The heroes are orphans, a girl who possesses a protective glowing stone, and a boy who works in the coal mines of what looks like Wales built on the side of a canyon. The magic stone, of course, is the key to finding Laputa and its treasures on the far side of clouds, so the children are pursued both by an evil army and a looney-tune crew of pirates who turn out to be friendly in their ragtag, roguish way. The flying machines have been aptly compared to Jules Verne concoctions, the army's bloated propeller-driven blimb and the pirates' tin-lizzy airplane resembling an insect. The pirates also zap around in sporty airborne vehicles that look like dragonfly snowmobiles.

Bullets fly and cannonshells explode in "Laputa," with massive destruction and enormous puffs of smoke, but the violence is cartoonishly harmless. Miyazaki keeps his imaginary world spinning with plenty of sparks, but he's able to blend menace with a bucolic vision and cackling humor. An enormous robot from Laputa is a cartoon Frankenstein, scary and rather dim but also surprisingly gentle. In the battle for Laputa, the little girl herself unleashes the apocalypse as if in frustration at the grown-up evildoers, but her anger has the purging quality of myth and wish-fulfillment. The sky island explodes, but it also regenerates itself. "Laputa" provides an interesting glimpse of Japanese pop culture. Although nominally a children's entertainment, this well-crafted animation is also meant for grown-ups able to transport themselves back to their own childhood.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky -- Story, screenplay and direction by Hayao Miyazaki. Dubbed in English. At the Somerville Theater through Thursday, no rating.

[Image Caption] The hero (front left) and a looney-tune crew of pirates in "Laputa": Escapism for children - and adults.

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The New York Times; August 18, 1989

Section C; page 18



"Laputa: Castle in the Sky" is an animated adventure story from Japan that illustrates the extraordinary quality of that country's animation as well as a minor cultural diffrence between Japanese and American audiences. Part science fiction and part fable, the film is the product of a culture where cartoons and comic books have a huge appeal for adults as well as children.

Its detailed fantasy world, including a dark turn-of-the-century mining town and candy-colored futuristic space bikes, is as alluring as any live-action film. Yet this two-hour story about a lost princess, a flying island and space pirates is liable to strain the patience of adults and the attention spans of children. "Laputa," playing today and tomorrow at Film Forum 2, may have a hard time finding its ideal audience.

Though the name Laputa refers to the island that flies through the air in "Gulliver's Travels," the film borrows only the concept of a hovering land of great scientific accomplishment. Here the heroine is an orphan girl named Sheeta, who is chased by evil agents of an unnamed government and by a comic family of air pirates. They are after Sheeta's blue amulet, which emits brilliant aquamarine rays and enables her to float safely through the air when she falls from a plane.

She lands in a village where Pazu, a boy her own age, is determined to prove that the legendary floating island exists. Neither child knows that Sheeta's powerful amulet is the sign that she is the princess of Laputa.

Visually, Sheeta and Pazu are extremely stylized, with the wide round eyes and slight, linear features of Saturday-morning cartoon characters. Yet the self-conscious comic-book style of the characters is the film's one nod to conventional animation.

Drawn in a dazzling range of jeweled but subtle colors, the film is always a joy to watch. When Sheeta and Pazu reach Laputa, they find a deserted but magificent place, with giant metallic robots, furry fish swimming in an azure underwater city, lush indoor gardens and an underground maze constructed of mysterious, inscribed black cubes. In "Laputa," a space battle is apt to create smoke screens in delicate rainbow colors of blue, green and purple.

The characters are endearing (and gracefully dubbed into English). Even Dola, the space pirate who leads a band of not-bright sons, is a good-hearted type, with orange braids shooting out behind her head, gold hoop earrings and a face that resembles the Wicked Witch of the West's.

But the texture of the story is much closer to television cartoons than to "The Wizard of Oz," or most other family films. Because the Japanese taste for animation doesn't translate perfectly, "Laputa" is most likely to appeal to adults ready to marvel at its technical accomplishments, and children able to watch a very long cartoon, without commercials.

LAPUTA: CASTLE IN THE SKY, written, directed and edited by Hayao Miyazaki; based on the writings of Jonathan Swift; music by Joh Hisaishi; produced by Isao Takahata; released by Streamline Pictures; at Film Forum 2, 57 Watts Street. Running time: 124 minutes. This film has no rating. WITH: Dubbed voices

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San Jose Mercury News; August 25, 1989

Weekend Section; page 6D


Mercury News Film Writer

"LAPUTA" is the name Jonathan Swift gave to a floating island in the sky in "Gulliver's Travels." This airborne oasis of gardens and castle is also the inspiration for the spectacularly vivid feature-length animated movie from Japan that opens today.

Writer-director Hayao Miyazake envisions Laputa (pronounced LAP-you-ta) as a sort of Shangri-La whose inhabitants know how to make crystals that are crucial to the production of levitation stones, small glowing objects that possess great power.

Like the ruby slippers in "The Wizard of Oz," the levitation stones can be used for good or evil. Thus they become the quarry in a long, sometimes tedious, race to the magical land.

The fight involves two orphans as main characters -- Pazu, a boy from a mining community who resembles the comic-strip character Dondi, and Sheeta, a girl of destiny who falls from the sky. There's also a gang of pirate buffoons, a sinister secret agent, an army and giant robot soldiers with long, pliable arms that make them look like refugees from some futuristic Max Fleischer cartoon. Initially, it's a promising package. The state-of-the-art animation is breathtaking as the blue sky fills with eccentric airships -- flying igloos, militaristic blimps and two-seaters designed as mechanical flies with buzzing gossamer wings. The airborne action sequences opening the film have a serene, fantastic beauty that's a pleasure to watch.

The main problem with "Laputa" is the convoluted and derivative, albeit ambitious, story. Its long list of influences include fairy tales, Jules Verne and "Frankenstein," although the movie most often aspires to be an animated hybrid of "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark," an epic fusion of classic narrative and high technology.

But as visually impressive as it is -- it's also dubbed in English very well -- "Laputa" is far too long. The running time of slightly more than two hours will test the most attentive person's patience. It's doubtful that the picture's bloated nature will please anyone besides animation aficionados.

Interestingly, Miyazake has drawn his characters as Westerners; Pazu and Sheeta look like two ordinary American kids on a wild adventure. Unfortunately, they have little character save innocence and are too one-dimensional to care much about. Their dialogue is tinny. In one scene, Pazu describes his father's discovery of Laputa and concludes, "Then Dad lost his will to live and died." Other characters are more peculiar and original. The pirates, for instance, are led by Dola, a pigtailed, gun-toting old lady who commands a battalion of her blundering sons, hearty men in pink trousers who compete openly for the young Sheeta, who's no more than a preteen. It's very weird.

Other pirate scenes include intimate references that lend the film a strange, sometimes humorous, sexual undercurrent. However, the funniest line apparently has no relation to anything. During the climactic battle, Dola says to Sheeta, "There's nothing worse than having your pigtail shot off."

The finale offers no great revelations or emotional payoffs, and the style of the script precludes surprises. It includes pro-feminist and anti-military themes, but the plotting is so labored that you tend to turn off the story and watch the lovely images go by. Alas, before this pregnant exercise in mythmaking is over, you get bored even with these. The enduring legacy of "Laputa" may be the coining of a new Japanese synonym -- for "long cartoon."

Laputa, the Castle in the Sky
(star)(star) 1/2
Writer-director: Hayao Miyazake
At: Camera Three, San Jose.

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The Washington Post; September 2, 1989

Style Section; page C2


By Richard Harrington, Washington Post Staff Writer
Summarized by Team Ghiblink

(The Washington Post website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/ longterm/movies/videos/laputacastleintheskynrharrington_a0aac9.htm)

Harrington begins his review by calling Laputa "...a frequently astounding animated feature...". He mentions the reference to Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" and calls it an "...Indiana Jones-style adventure...[with] a subtle ecological message...".

Harrington continues to make comparisons to "Indiana Jones" in his description of the opening scenes where Sheeta "escapes" by falling from the airship into the arms of the orphan Pazu, whose father had once photographed the legendary island-in-the-sky Laputa.

As Pazu and Sheeta evade the secret agents from whom Sheeta had escaped, they discover that Sheeta's pendant is more than a family heirloom: it's a levitation stone, and the pirates who attacked the airship at the beginning of the movie are not the only ones who want it. They also learn that Sheeta is a member of the royal family of Laputa.

Sheeta and Pazu eventually join up with the pirates. Harrington compares the airships used in the film with the fantastical creations of Jules Verne, Rube Goldberg, and Ron Cobb (a comic artist). He also draws parallels between Laputa and Atlantis.

Harrington then extols Miyazaki's style, describing it as "...full of color and life...[with] acute details softened by clouds and shadows...". This action-oriented film should appeal to adults and children alike even though it's more than two hours long.

He then continues extolling Miyazaki's film-making abilities. He says, "[Laputa is] really a testament to Miyazaki's skill as both storyteller and animator." Miyazaki's works rise above the rest of animation in all areas, and this film is "one of the first big-budget animated films from Japan to receive major exposure here." He also that the film doesn't look Japanese because it was dubbed into English and the character designs look typically European.

To finish off the article, Harrington says, "'Laputa' has resonance and complexity; it makes one eager for the next Japanimation feature, 'Twilight of the Cockroaches,' an R-rated, live-action animated film described as '"Roger Rabbit" written by Franz Kafka.'"

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The Washington Times; September 4, 1989

Life - Arts & Entertainment -- Movies; page D3



For those who think of stiff, boxy-looking, computer-generated cartoons when they think of Japanese animation, a marvelous surprise awaits in "Laputa: Castle in the Sky," a fanciful waking dream about orphans, a lost princess, islands in the sky, pirates and power-hungry government agents, all moving in another world and time.

Playing at the Biograph for just one week, this animated, made-in- Japan movie is a hoot for adults as well as children. Based on Jonathan Swift's "Travels Into Several Remote Worlds," it offers universal themes plus plenty of sci-fi action and adventure, humor and a little romance, not unlike a Spielberg or Lucas epic.

Opening with a fight between a luxury blimp and ironclad, dragonfly- like contraptions piloted by a pirate family, the movie establishes Sheeta, a waifish, snub-nosed, pigtailed child as the heroine in distress, pursued by governments and thieves for a magical levitation stone she wears around her neck.

Pazu, a poor orphan boy working in the mines, encounters Sheeta as she floats down from the sky after falling from the blimp. Pazu becomes her brave knight in tattered clothing and her travel partner as the two elude armies, agents and pirates and finally arrive at Laputa, an island in the sky.

Both children have ties to Laputa--Sheeta is a lost princess for whom the island has been waiting 700 years. Pazu's explorer-father once spied the paradise in the clouds from his airship and took pictures of it. Both vow to travel there to learn what makes the sky island such a lure for the parties chasing Sheeta.

Her levitation stone shines a beam toward the island, but only Sheeta knows how to coax magic powers from the stone. She is captured and taken to Laputa by the government agents while Pazu joins forces with the pirates to rescue his new friend.

Just viewing the highly imaginative settings and airships is half the fun. Pazu's village is carved from canyons where buildings seem to grow from cliffs. The pirate's airship, commandeered by Dola, a rough and ready matriarch, is fascinating, too. The legendary island in the sky, a paradise with gardens, jungles, castles, labyrinths and robot sentries, is the most awesome spectacle of the film.

Characters have their quirks, especially the snaggle-toothed, crook- nosed, gluttonous Dola and her blundering sons, who are mesmerized by the cute little Sheeta.

The only shortcomings: The animation is slightly less-than-fluid at times, and the faces of children and some other characters could stand more distinguishing details. I was also puzzled by the presence of Caucasian characters, as the writer/director is an award-winning Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki. The movie is dubbed in English.

Otherwise, "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" is two hours of wonderful, fantastic make-believe that is sure to keep the animators at Disney studios looking over their shoulders.

*** 1/2 [three-and-a-half stars]

TITLE: "Laputa: Castle in the Sky"
RATING: NR (nothing offensive, suitable for children)
PRODUCTION: Directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki
TIME: 124 minutes
WHERE: At the Biograph, 2819 M St. NW

PHOTO & CAPTION: The animation in "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" will keep Disney on its toes.

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The Christian Science Monitor; September 8, 1989

Arts Section; page 10



[comments about the movie FUNNY omitted]

LAPUTA: CASTLE IN THE SKY - The animated adventures of a young girl whose family came from a mysterious city that floats in the sky above Earth. The apparent sources of the story range from "Gulliver's Travels" to "Master of the World," but it seems too long, despite its many narrative and visual ideas. Hayao Miyazaki directed the full-length Japanese cartoon. (Not rated)

[comments about movies TURNER & HOOCH and UNCLE BUCK omitted]

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Deseret News; November 24, 1989


By Chris Hicks
Deseret News movie critic

( also in Deseret News website)

"Laputa, Castle in the Sky" may initially seem rather ill-timed, since it comes to Salt Lake City hot on the heels of the gorgeous, classically animated "Little Mermaid" and "All Dogs Go to Heaven." After all, this Japanese import is hardly in the same league, with stiff characters who move more like the Saturday morning slide-shows on television than the graceful mermaids in the Disney film.

But what "Laputa" lacks in full animation it makes up for in style and imagination. This is science fiction/fantasy with more than a little nod to the multichapter serials of old and the visuals - especially of flying machines and gadgetry - are fascinating.

Try to picture Terry Gilliam doing an animated "Star Wars" by way of Jules Verne.

The story is set in some time-warp alternate universe where there is no space travel or even jet aircraft, yet there are huge robots and ray guns.

The story has a young orphan girl named Sheeta trying to get back to her home, an island in the sky called "Laputa." With the help of another orphan, young Pazu, she escapes from some bad guys who want to find the island for their own greedy purposes, and they are alternately kidnapped, rescued and placed in a variety of dangerous situations.

The film is especially effective in the early scenes with the flying machines and in the latter quarter when they finally make it to the high-flying island. But it doesn't work all the way, the major drawback being its more than two-hour length, which will be taxing for adult animation buffs and impossible for young children. That's really too bad since the film could easily have been cut by 20 minutes or a half-hour and not lost much.

As for the American dubbing, the kids' voices are shrill and some of the comical characters far too idiotic.

But if you are a fan of the fantastic with an eye for unusual artistic design and can overlook these drawbacks, "Laputa" may be up your alley. At any rate it's worth a look. Don't expect this one to hang around as long as "Mermaid" and "Dogs," however.

It is unrated, but would probably get a PG for violence.

LAPUTA, CASTLE IN THE SKY: Japanese animated feature, dubbed into English. Unrated, probable PG (violence)

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St. Petersburg Times; April 27, 1990

Weekend Section; Page 3



This is not an adult movie, although its title's Japanese-to-Spanish transliteration would suggest otherwise. Laputa is a stunning Japanese animated feature, inspired by a section in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels about a fabled utopian paradise that floats in air. Laputa also is 124 minutes long, which means it has a few ponderous segments. It nonetheless is a must-see for animation buffs. Catch it at the Tampa Theater at 7:15 tonight, 2:15 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

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The Western Front; November 9, 1990

Laputa rivals best films

By Scott Ryan
Staff Reporter

Although I saw "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" in San Francisco over a year ago, the incredible storyline and fantastic visuals are still clear in my mind. If it weren't an obscure foreign film translated to English and only played in art theaters, this movie would have given Batman a run for its money in 1989.

It's that's good.

There are few movies I have come across in life that I would recommend to anyone, no matter what their age, status or tastes. "Star Wars" was such a film. "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" is also. Although there is little similarity between the two movies, the overwhelming, all absorbing awe that takes hold of the viewer watching it the first time is the same.

The story is about two orphans, a boy and a girl, who team up to search for a legendary floating castle rumored to hover over the earth in a moving cloud bank. Both of the orphans have an interest in finding the castle.

The girl is fleeing from the government because of an heirloom necklace she owns that a secret agent believes is a clue to finding the castle. The boy wants to prove that the castle does indeed exist to verify a blurry photograph his father once took of the castle while flying through a storm.

The castle supposedly holds incredible destructive power and unimaginable treasure that had been amassed while the castle was still inhabited. The orphans are pursued by government agents and sky pirates, both of whom want to exploit the castle for themselves. (Incidentally, the castle is supposed to be the same massively powerful flying castle that Jonathan Swift's character visited in Gulliver's Travels, only several hundred years later, after it's been deserted.)

Many of the minor characters are thrown in for comic relief, but the main characters have such a sincere believability, it is startling to realize they are animated. Internationally, Hayao Miyazaki, the writer, director and head animator of "Laputa," has been called the greatest story-teller in the world. Movies such as "Laputa" have won him this title. He is also renowned for his work on a comic book that was recently published in the United States called "Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind."

The story seems to be set in man's early avionic development, but at the same time mixed with technology that is a little out of place; a gigantic plane powered by 50 little propellors, for example. Also, the scenery isn't quite recognizable as any place in the world. Although Miyazaki has created an amazing fictitious reality, it is completely believable and absorbing.

The only criticisms I have of the film are the running time, which, at two hours, seemed a little long, and a few of the mood swings in the movie. The light-hearted nature of some of the opening scenes and a few of the later scenes of extreme tension and destruction didn't seem to belong in the same movie.

But these minor hang-ups in no way compromise the grandeur of the animation or the enthralling story development. Both of which seemed like opiates of the eyes and mind.

"Laputa: Castle in the Sky" is playing at the Mount Baker Theatre from Nov. 15-17.

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Los Angeles Times; September 26, 1999

Home Edition


These Animators Fly High Over the Bottom Line

Analysis: Japan's Studio Ghibli lets its artists go beyond traditional limits, and the wisdom of that shows at a UCLA retrospective.

Inspired by Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Castle in the Sky (1986, in Japanese with English subtitles) offers an intriguing vision of steam-powered rocket travel in the late 19th century.  Sheeta and Pazu, an orphan girl and boy, outwit a government official and sky pirates to reach Laputa , the last of the floating islands that once orbited Earth.

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Los Angeles Times; October 24, 1999


At the Head of the Pack

Hayao Miyazaki's distinct visual style has made him the envy of American animators.

At Ghibli, Miyazaki established himself as one of the world's foremost directors of films for children with the rollicking adventure Castle in the Sky (1986) and My Neighbor Totoro (1988), a charming environmental tale. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), an engaging story about an adolescent witch's coming of age, ushered in a series of box-office hits for Miyazaki.

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