Starring: Keiko Yokozawa, Mayumi Tanaka, Kotoe Hatsui
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running Time: 119 mins
Castle In The Sky is a Japanese film about a young boy who meets a mysterious girl in possession of a magic crystal, leading to Laputa, a castle in the sky, which is being fiercely searched for by pirates and the army.
Officially, this is the first film by Studio Ghibli, and it’s amazing to see that even back then, it was an ingenious studio with big, imaginative ideas, and a team of amazing animators. Castle In The Sky may not be their best work of all, but for a first film, it’s pretty impressive, thanks to a hugely entertaining adventure story with a massive scope.
The reason that I don’t think that this is the best film Ghibli have ever made is because I wasn’t immediately taken aback by it. At the time of the mid-80s, with popular anime still in its relative infancy, I’m sure that this was an amazing breath of fresh air, but now, it isn’t quite so astonishing from the first moment.
The first hour or so, encompassing the first two acts, wasn’t all that exhilarating. It was still a simple, by-the-numbers adventure that entertained me, and so it wasn’t awful, but there was nothing about its story that was really getting me excited.
Of course, as with every Ghibli film, the animation is perfect. I don’t need to tell you any more about how beautiful the look of these films are, but Castle In The Sky confirms that it’s been the greatest feature of the studio’s films since day one, and it’s absolutely wonderful to look at.
The best part of the film, for me, came in the final act. The search for the castle in the sky reaches a thrilling climax as our two young heroes face off against the enemy. Prior to the final act, I wasn’t too impressed with the villains, as they didn’t seem quite threatening enough, but as you move into the finale, they suddenly become a lot more intense, and so does the excitement and drama as a result.
Overall, Castle In The Sky is a hugely enjoyable film. It’s not always thrilling, but with a fantastic final act, and classically stunning Ghibli animation, it’s a great watch regardless, and that’s why I’ll give it a 7.7.