As I continue on with my Miyazaki marathon, I finally made my way to Castle in the Sky, the first film put out by Studio Ghibli. I was pretty neutral on my opinions on this movie because I hadn’t heard much about it, but it blew my mind. This movie was great and is very high on my list of good reviews, even for a Miyazaki movie. I was drawn into the story right away and the characters were awesome. I definitely understand why Studio Ghibli was able to continue their work after putting out a movie like this one.
The story follows a young girl named Sheeta and a boy named Pazu. After Sheeta’s airship is attacked by pirates she ends up falling from the sky. The mysterious crystal that hangs from her neck slows her fall and she is caught by Pazu. The two have to go on the run from both the pirates and the military. The two are eventually caught and the governmental spy, Muska, reveals that he wants to find the mythical floating city Laputa with Sheeta’s crystal. Pazu ends up saving Sheeta from the military base with the helps of their former enemies, the pirates. The group decides to beat Muska to Laputa in order to save the ancient city from ruin. They also discover a mountain of secrets on the way as they attempt to stop Muska’s evil plans.
I usually get into Miyazaki movies for their wonderful plots. The characters are usually quite good, but there are times when I see them as mere vessels for the story itself. Castle in the Sky couldn’t be more different. This is the first Miyazaki movie that I felt was completely held up by its fantastic characters. The plot was very good of course and stood up to Miyazaki standards, but the characters were on a level of their own. I liked Pazu from the very start of the movie and became completely invested in his actions. Sheeta was also very good because she was not simply a vessel to represent the ideas of her culture and people. She was brave and kind in a very nice way and she didn’t annoy me one bit. The best part of the characters were the character relationships. This story is truly a sweet love story in the package of an action adventure. Sheeta and Pazu’s friendship and relationship was wonderfully written and their caring for each other was palpable. The movie succeeded with many other types of relationships as well. The mentoring nature of the Pirate boss was really nice and gave her a good deal of depth to go along with her treasure-seeking nature.
Miyazaki’s art was wonderful once again. I was especially impressed with the flying scenes and the moving action sequences because this movie was also entirely hand-drawn. Anything that Miyazaki creates in the sky is absolutely amazing and you can tell that he poured his love into these scenes. This is also the first Miyazaki movie where the soundtrack was really noticeable for me. The other movies had good music, but this one had music that I noticed right away. It was beautifully composed and fit within the script perfectly.
This movie is very good in every way. It is extremely touching and enjoyable to watch. This movie shows the amazing work that Miyazaki can do, especially in his earlier days. It is truly a masterful work of art appropriate for all ages. I give this movie a 4.5/5 for my movie review.