When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.
The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.
Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there - a girl who may or may not be real.
A young boy stumbles into a mysterious girl who floats down from the sky. The girl, Sheeta, was chased by pirates, army and government secret agents. In saving her life, they begin a high flying adventure that goes through all sorts of flying machines, eventually searching for Sheeta's identity in a floating castle of a lost civilization. Written by
Tzung-I Lin <email@example.com>
This is one of the best animated family films of all time. Moreover, virtually all of the serious rivals for this title came from the same creative mind of Hiyao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli. Specifically, other great films include "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Kikki's Delivery Service." Spirited Away is quite good, but a bit too creepy for typical family fare - better for teenagers and adult. The one thing that sets "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" apart from other films by Miyazaki is that it is far more of a tension-filled adventure ride.
Why is this film so good? Because it's a complete package: the animation is very well done, and the story is truly engaging and compelling.
Most Japanese anime is imaginative, but decidedly dark or cynical or violent; and the animation itself is often jerky, stylized, and juvenile. None of these problems plague Castle in the Sky. It has imagination to burn, and the characters are well drawn, if slightly exaggerated versions of realistic people. (None of those trench-coat wearing posers) There is plenty of adventure, but not blood and gore. The animation is smooth, detailed, and cinematic ally composed - not a lot of flat shots. The backgrounds are wonderful.
The voice acting in the dubbed English version is first rate, particularly the two leads, Pazo (James Van der Beek) and Sheeta (Anna Paquin). The sound engineering is great, too. Use your studio sound, if you've got it.
One aspect that I particularly enjoyed is that much of the back story is left unexplained. Laputa was once inhabited, and is now abandoned. Why? We never know. We know as much as we need to know, and then we just have to accept the rest, which is easy to do because the invented world is so fully realized. Indeed, it is fair to say that the world is more fully realized than most of the minor characters, who are for the most part one-dimensional stock characters (e.g., gruff general, silly sidekick, kooky old miner, etc.) Highly recommended for people aged 6 to 60!
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