Posted on 2/25/13 02:59 PM
Truly one of Hayao Miyazaki's most accessible works, CASTLE IN THE SKY (renamed from the Japanese title, LAPUTA, since its a bad word in Spanish) follows two young orphans struggling to find the titular structure (which is nonetheless pronounced Lah-pyu-tah in the Disney dub). They are helped by air pirates (commanded by aging yet fearless Dola) and opposed by government (manipulated by evil agent Muska). Miyazaki established his now famous animation company Studio Ghibli to produce this movie. While this was not one of his more financially successful films, it nonetheless has earned legions of fans for its appealing characters, breathtaking (for its time) animation, and fresh serving of action and flight sequences that may make one giddy. There are also some elements of sci-fi, particularly the seemingly menacing but honorable robots who guard the peaceful gardens sinde Laputa. W hat really makes the film is the musical score by Joe Hisaishi -- it is phenomenal, matching every image on the screen to perfection. It sounds even more amazing in the dub, where Hisaishi expertly reworks his sparse, electronic score into a massive symphony, providing a lot more power to the picture, especially in sequences such as the robot fight, hurricane scene, and climactic finale. The Disney dub is excellent, although there are a few minor faults -- the script, although faithful for the most part, is considerably chattier, and even though James van Der Beek and Anna Paquin are good overall as Pazu and Sheeta, both do sound considerably more mature than their onscreen characters. However, the aforementioned rescore, entertaining dialogue, and lively performances by the supporting cast (particularly Mark Hamill and Cloris Leachman, who are both perfect as Dola and Muska) make up for them by far. Whatever language you view it, though, you will still be experiencing a wonderful adventure tale from Japan's greatest animator. Very highly recommended.