The Order of Ghiblis #08 - Laputa Castle in the Sky
Join us as we watch and rank every Studio Ghibli movie!
Laputa Castle in the Sky (1986)
A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.
Technically Studio Ghibli's first movie after they were formed, though now the second as they've seemingly roped 1984's Nausicaa in. The movie follows Sheeta as she falls from an airship and is then saved by her levitating necklace and a boy called Pazu. They then go on a grand adventure through towns and the skies while looking for the floating city of Laputa. Despite being one of Miyazaki's first movies, it really does encapsulate everything he is now known for, including strong female characters, both as a lead and in the ensemble, a grand sense of adventure usually tied to flying, technology versus nature, and a great Joe Hisaishi soundtrack. It's crazy that so many of his developed themes are present in such an early work.
"Adventure" really does sum the movie up, as the main characters move from scene to scene it does feel like an epic tale unfolding, with a sense of grandeur to the whole thing. The characters and soundtrack back this up, with people appearing all throughout the movie that you care about and background music that makes you want to look it up afterwards. A great watch, and despite a few parts being a product of the time (including a slight pace issues towards the back end) it really holds up as one of their best movies, despite being their first.
Well the last line there might have given it away a bit, but we really enjoyed Laputa. The scale of the movie as it moves through it's acts and the character development of some of the cast just makes it a great and enjoyable watch. Similar to every movie since the start of this Order, the characters are just so strong, so it jumps above Arrietty and Cat Returns with ease.
The way the story moves seamlessly through its acts is commendable and has it leap Grave. Getting a bit tighter now but we felt like overall it was a more cohesive and enjoyable watch than Howls, and overall, just about better than Whisper.
However, we feel like Kiki's honest story just about edges it, so Laputa holds firm at out new #3 !
NEW FULL ORDER
1. My Neighbour Totoro
2. Kiki's Delivery Service
3. [NEW] Laputa Castle in the Sky
4. Whisper of the Heart
5. Howl's Moving Castle
6. Grave of the Fireflies
7. Cat Returns