Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 124 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG
Japan Release date: 2nd August 1986
Watched at the cinema Friday 23rd December 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Another in my mini-series of Studio Ghibli films and one I have loved for many years, since I first saw it in fact. I think it is because there is an element of science fiction in this one that doesn’t seem to feature a lot in many of the other films I’ve seen from this studio. If I have one criticism, it’s that it’s a little too long, but then again it’s always interesting and the story does move along at a reasonable pace, so it’s not all bad. I’ll give you more of my thoughts after this brief summary.
A girl, Sheeta, has been taken from her home and is being transported by the army and some mysterious men in dark glasses. When their airship is attacked by pirates she retrieves a mysterious stone from one of the men and jumps from the craft. As she approaches land a light comes from the stone and her fall is slowed. She is seen by a boy, Pazu, who catches her and takes her home with him. Pazu’s father had snapped a photo of a mysterious castle in the sky, Laputa, and the following day Sheeta tells him her story and how she has a link to this place. The pirates have tracked her, they are looking for her in the village and a chase ensues. Eventually she is captured, not by the pirates, but by the army! A giant robot, help from the pirates, all kinds of flying machines later and Pazu has her free, but can they find Laputa before the army can, and will it be what they expect when they get there? Well, I guess I can’t tell you that here or the Spoiler Police will be sending me aloft in an airship (& no parachute) again.
I watched this film in the original Japanese (with subtitles) although I believe there is a dubbed version available for those that fear the written word on the screen. It’s beautifully animated and stands up well 25 years later. The performances are all good and so honourable mentions must go to the voice talents of; Mayumi Tanaka as Pazu and Keiko Yokozawa as Sheeta. They both gave their characters a lot of life and urgency that was well reflected in the visuals.
I love the plot of this film; it starts quite big and just gets bigger! You think you have an idea where it’s going, but then it takes a turn and what they come up with is even better than anything I could have thought of! I must admit I would maybe have changed a couple of things, but over all it’s quite an excellent piece of work. It’s all excellently done, if a little long, and I think the filmmakers stuck to what they do best; telling a good story. You may be able to guess by now, but this one comes pretty highly RECOMMENDED from me.
My score: 8.6/10
IMDb Score: 8.1/10 (based on 30,528 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 94/100 (based on 17 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 89/100 (based on 72,627 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Sheeta: [after falling on Pazu from roof] Oh, I'm sorry. Are you all right? Does it hurt much?
Pazu: Hey, if my head was any harder, you could use it as a cannonball.
[Dola comes thundering into Pazu's town on her automobile where her boys are brawling with the citizens]
Dola: Full speed ahead!
[to Louis and Henri in the distance]
Dola: Hey, boys!
Louis: Wha - ? Hey, it's Mom!
Louis, Henri: [Dola drives up to Louis and Henri] Hi, Mom!
Dola: [incensed] You chowderheads! Get your brother and hop on!
Louis: [dumbfounded] Huh? But Sheeta's hiding inside that house!
Dola: Lamebrain! They made an escape! Now step on it!
Louis: [jumping onto Dola's car] They ESCAPED?
Henri: [jumps on after Louis] Hey, I wanna come!
Charles: [grabbing onto the back of Dola's car] Mommy!
Dola: There's nothing worse than having your pigtails shot off!