Without further ado..
This is the first of the major Ghibli spam I’ll be doing until late July. I have a ton of them on list of the ones I’ve never seen. The first is Castle in the Sky, one of the earlier Ghibli films, made in 1986. It was released in the US by Walt Disney in the late 90’s, about the same time as Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Castle in the Sky‘s plot is like this: Sheeta, the girl, falls from the sky. What breaks her fall is a mysterious green stone from her pendent, which is wanted from pirates. A boy working in the mines, Pazu, discovers her and takes her back to his place. They originally think the pirates being the enemy, the couple escape into the city, until they discover all’s not what it seems.
Originally, I groaned about this movie being over two hours long. In the end, I didn’t mind it. There are some things that could have been rushed, but the story was enough to keep me interested. It’s very clichéd, but the characters are endearing, and there are a few nice twists. It was also nice that the villain had no redeeming quality, which is typical in a lot of movies nowadays, to humanize them. For a movie that’s almost as old as me, it didn’t seem that aged. The animation quality is pretty good, and the music is wonderful. The voice acting is the only dated thing- James Van Der Beek and pre-True Blood Anna Paquin voiced the main characters, and Mark Hammil portraying the villain, Muska. I think Andy Dick voiced a minor character. The best thing, in my opinion, is the backgrounds. Today, we use CGI to paint all the animation, but there’s something about handpainted animation that’s so appealing to me.
This movie fades out compared to other Ghibli films, which is a shame, because by itself Castle in the Sky is good. However, in terms of that typical Ghibli charm and imagination that would follow in later films, it doesn’t compare. It’s definitely worth a watch, but it’s not going to push aside other classics like My Neighbor Totoro or Spirited Away. It’s like Kiki’s Delivery Service– a nice appetizer for the main course.