Laputa, Castle in the Sky (1986): Where It Makes You Go “Awwww”

Considering I watched this right after Grave of the Fireflies, this was a nice change and made me smile in its cuteness. From the characters, to the slightly cliche plot, and of course, the floating city in the sky, it was a very adorable movie.

You know, the cliched “she literally fell into his life” thing. But it’s cute.

Laputa, Castle in the Sky (directed by Hayao Miyazaki) tells the story of Sheeta and Pazu and their journey to find Laputa, the city in the sky. Sheeta is on the run from Muska while trying to hide her special amulet from all the villains.

Very cartoon-like, almost naive, in a way, Castle in the Sky needs just that to be the adorable and fun movie that it is. Although there are some surprisingly morbid moments, they are dismissed as they always are in cartoons.

The relationship between Pazu and Sheeta is almost borderline romantic, but most of all, they are friends. The romance part is a little bit awkward, depending on their ages, which is very debatable. They look like they could be eleven or sixteen. And then the part where all the flying pirates try to impress Sheeta when she works not their ship is also a little bit weird, depending on the age you see her as.

Like many Studio Ghibli characters, their age is completely open to debate.

The music was also fantastic, like all Miyazaki movie scores. It was actually one that I had already heard, but never figured out which movie it was from, so I jumped up with excitement when it played for the first time.

The overall plot was a little bit cliche, the motivations, even the characters, but somehow, none of it felt cliche. It felt almost natural. It’s only thinking back and phrasing it with my own words that make it sound cliche, but Miyazaki manages to convey this story without sort of awkward lumbering as thoughts of “Oh, this is so predictable” crosses, even if it was a little predictable.

Castle in the Sky is a fun, easy movie to watch. It’s not particularly meaningful, it’s not particularly philosophical. It’s just one of those movies where you watch it for the fun and the happy ending and the cliche moments where everything ends out perfect.

Here’s Laputa.

The scenery in Castle int he Sky was just breathtaking. I mean, just look at Laputa. And really everything else. There’s just that sense of Miyazaki magic in each scene. The colors, the clouds, the everything is just wonderfully beautiful.

The art and cinematography just adds to the fun sense of Castle in the Sky. Paired with the fantastic music, a simple, fun story about a lost princess and her friend and the pirates they meet and befriend along the way is turned from simply a story, to something that actually moved me.

One of the best parts about Castle in the Sky is its simplicity. There’s the good guys, there’s the bad guys. There’s what the right thing to do is, there’s what the wrong thing to do is. This movie doesn’t tackle the grey areas of life; it is a break from all of that, immersing the audience in a simple, black and white story about how good triumphs over evil, as it should.

Conclusion: Happy, cute, fun, and simple, Castle in the Sky makes for a wonderful movie to spend a happy weekend night and hopefully many more weekend nights as the story of Sheeta and Pazu takes the audience for a breathtaking ride along the skies of Miyazaki, adventuring alongside all of the fun characters, cheering as they win and as justice defeats the bad guys. 8/10.


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