Blu-ray: Laputa: Castle in the Sky

| April 26, 2011 | Comments (1)

laputa

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is undoubtedly one of the most beloved anime movies of our time; it is the name on the lips of every movie lover making recommendations to friends, and unlike many similar recommendations is child-friendly. It’s somewhat surprising that being so well-loved, relatively few movie-goers have seen the film, so this year’s release of the movie on Blu-ray is sure to bring this amazing story to a wider audience.

The story is a high-flying animated adventure which cannot fail to thrill audiences of all ages. Castle in the Sky plays on the curiosity of its viewer as it displays excellent screenwriting, revealing to the audience only what is completely necessary to drive the plot, the rest is left up to conjecture. Our hero, Pazu stumbles upon a beautiful girl who has floated from the sky, and taken with her a dark and violent past. Sheeta takes Pazu on a number of soaring adventures in their ultimate search for her identity.

Director Hayao Miyazaki is best known for his work with Studio Ghibli. Ghibli have brought the world some of the most outstanding animated movies, and Castle in the Sky is no exception. This Blu-ray offering gives stunning depth of colour and encases the audience even further within the plot. Miyazaki is more than just a director, he is an artist, and a master storyteller, crafting beautiful hand-drawn animation and sewing it to a plot with expert precision. Castle in the Sky is the work of a vast imagination which draws on the imaginations of its audience to function. It is almost breath-taking that an animated feature can be so vast in scope, and the Blu-ray disc allows us to see every detail in mind-bending clarity.

The entire story is fraught with more tension than your average Vin Diesel action adventure; it is edge of your seat fare which we don’t expect to receive from movies of this genre. What sets Castle in the Sky apart from other anime, is that our characters are fully realised, and do not exist as cardboard cut-outs of generic stereotypes. As with all anime, the personality traits of each character are slightly exaggerated, but not enough to make them caricatures. Our characters may fall from the sky, but they are infinitely more realistically rendered than the majority of fluffy animals that walk on and off our screens. Throughout, we are given the impression that our characters have pasts, and real lives that go on outside of the frame, and it is impossible not to become utterly enthralled with each character.

Occasionally, a movie of this kind may be somewhat let down by the quality of its dubbing. That is not the case here as the dubbing remains faultless; the transcribing of English voices over expressions meant to represent Japanese language is seamless and there exist no moments throughout which throw us off, or which don’t entirely fit the character. James Van Der Beek rows his way out of the creek and into our hearts as Pazu, whilst Sheeta is beautifully voiced by Anna Paquin, who manages to add a level of whimsy to the voice of our heroine, making it difficult to believe that she could have come from anywhere other than the sky.

Laputa Castle in the Sky is a must-see, not only for anime fans, but for movie-lovers everywhere, it is a childhood fantasy to behold and is one of few movies which will hold you in its grasp and make you lament the lost of this new world when the disc stops spinning. It would seem impossible that this movie could be any more engrossing, but this new Blu-ray release has proved me wrong, making everything brighter, and somehow more magical than it was before. This is one that demands an immediate add to everyone’s wish list.

Ciara O’Brien

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is released on Blu-ray on 9th May 2011

Special Features include:

  • Storyboards
  • Promotional Video
  • Behind the Microphone
  • Behind the Studio: The World of Laputa; Creating Castle in the Sky; Character Sketches; Producer’s Perspective: Meeting Miyazaki
  • Textless Opening and Ending Credits
  • TV Spots
  • Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers
  • Studio Ghibli Collection Trailers

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuKh-IeRfpI[/youtube]

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Comments (1)

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  1. JonT says:

    Great review! This is one of my favorites.

    BTW, I agree about James and Anna — they’re both good as Pazu and Sheeta, but the rest of the cast simply MADE the dub. I’m surprised you didn’t give a shout out to Cloris Leachman or Mark Hamill as well as the other cast members–those guys did excellent jobs, too.

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