The floating city, Laputa, was just a legend, a dream of explorers. But Pazu has a goal to find Laputa like his father did before him. And then one day a girl, fell out of the sky and things went weird. The story is based on the Laputa of Gulliver’s Travels, a flying city of thinkers and scientists, the city in this story has been waiting for the return of its people and rulers for 700 years. This is a children’s film, but it is in the tradition of children’s stories that appeal to all ages. A rare, pure fantasy, the film has the same magic as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and other early Disney films.
My estimate is that there are twice the amount of dialog in the American dub as in the original. Places where the characters shouldn’t be talking are replaced by useless remarks or explanations. And worse, many of these remarks are spoilers of things to come! It leaves one with a sneaky suspicion that Disney deliberately vandalized the film to protect its monopoly on the American animation market by making Japanese films look as bad as possible. Watch the Japanese version before subjecting yourself to the horrible English language version.
One thing that caught my attention is how technology and modernity is portrayed in American and Japanese themes. As opposed to Americans who always show technology as destructive and monstrous, Japanese illustrate technology as cooperating and protective of men and nature. It’s a bit of a mix of 19th century industrial era visuals and what you’d expect from the best sea stories, except that here they are transferred to the sky. The main focus of story is on intimacy and sacrifices people do for their good friends. Although more than two hours long, this action-packed family movie is never boring, but it does contain some amount of violence.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky certainly ranks among my top favorite Miyazaki films. The film is like a work of art that moves, it is clear how much time and effort went into creating it. The acting is top-notch and the dialogue is sprinkled with humor here and there. Preaching truths about violence, machines, and human greed, Miyazaki’s work is a poignant classic, showing human goodness at its finest…in the hands of two wonderful children. What more can I say? Watch, rent, download, buy, or just add it to your collection. You won’t be dissappointed.