Hayao Miyazaki Tribute – LAPUTA: CASTLE IN THE SKY
I hope you all have been enjoying my film season tribute to Hayao Miyazaki so far, it’s been a real pleasure to bring to you, the fans, my love and enthusiasm of the film collection,Studio Ghibli and everything Hayao Miyazaki. Right so next up in the season I will discuss the first ever Studio Ghibli feature, Laputa: Castle in the Sky. This film was released in 1986 and it began the eco-important theme that has become somewhat of a mainstay in all Studio Ghibli features, but not only that, it began a wonderful love affair Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki has with steampunk. Perhaps one of the most unique properties of this film however though is this, there are no cats, I think, there are cat-like animals, but they don’t count, do they? Anyway, let’s get started.
As the film opens we are introduced to Sheeta(Anna Paquin), a girl who is very much in demand, but feels trapped and alone. This is the most literal description I have ever given to an opening as well as a plot. You’ll get the joke when you see the opening, I guarantee a giggle. After the opening credits, which are just superb,you get a real sense of wonder, it’s fantastic, you feel like this is a real world with a multi-layered history. As the film really gets going you are introduced to Pazu(James Van Der Beek), a young miner who has dreams of flying the sky’s to search for Laputa, the castle in the sky.
The film is filled with all the mainstays that fans have come to love from the steampunk genre. Airships, a technology based world that has magic strewn throughout it.The design of the world is just fantastic, the stark contrast of the world in the sky and the world on the ground. It is all beauty and majesty up in the air and dirt and sweat on the ground. The characters are all really interesting, Sheeta is an enigma wrapped in a riddle voiced by an almost unrecognizable Anna Paquin. James Van Der Beek is cool, determined and naive as Pazu an orphan who is trying to “find” his father in the skies. It is a wonderful little metaphor that I thought was really well delivered. Then there is Mark Hamill, that’s right, Mark Hamill is the bad guy. I don’t need to say any more. However some of the supporting characters are really lacking in any kind of depth. They are simply there to help move the story into its next stage. If you are not a fan of steampunk and the genre it represents then you will not have fun here. With all that’s going on in this film, between, flying castles, laser shooting robots and evil Mark Hamill, I came out with this simple message, a boy was searching for is father.