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Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 02/17/2003

Legend has it that a flying castle called Laputa exists somewhere up in the sky. Pirates want to go to Laputa because of the treasures to be plundered, while other factions want to gain control of it on order to rule the world. A young girl named Sheeta holds what seems to be the key to Laputa in the form of a mysterious pendant she wears around her neck. The chase is on as to who can possess Sheeta first... and it's up to a young man named Pazu to protect her.
I didn't find Laputa: Castle in the Sky to be a very original piece, because if anything it reminded me of a longstanding storyline where people scramble to find the lost city of Atlantis. This time though, instead of looking underwater for a legendary civilization, we look for it up in the sky. What distinguishes Laputa is Hayao Miyazaki's magic touch, which can make something extraordinary out of a supposedly clichéd theme
Laputa is mainly about Sheeta, a young girl who's being pursued by pirates and government troops alike. Sheeta possesses a mysterious blue pendant that's apparently infused with some kind of power, and those who are after her believe that it can lead them to Laputa. Sheeta eludes her would-be captors and literally lands in Pazu's arms. Pazu is an orphan just like Sheeta, and he decides to take her in and help her at that very moment. Laputa is not only an adventure, but also a coming-of-age story which expounds on the simplicity, innocence, and purity of young love.
Like most of Miyazaki's other works (see "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Kiki's Delivery Service"), Laputa is set in an ideal world where all the people (except for the real villains) are good to the core. Pazu's boss and the townspeople all help Sheeta out to the best of their abilities even when she is a total stranger to them; even those who I originally branded as bad guys turned out to be really good people in the end. If not for this kind of setting, a happy ending would have been impossible for Laputa.
The art and animation are superb. While character designs are simple, backgrounds and settings are portrayed vividly. Things like flowers, railroad tracks, rustic towns, and lush mountainsides come to life with exceptional color and detail. Movements are so fluid that it's hard to believe that the scenes are composed of single cels put together.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky provides a nice and wholesome viewing experience for everybody. It's got a straightforward plot with action, adventure, and even some light romantic elements. A nice break from the more complicated new releases we get these days... watching it can be likened to taking a breath of fresh air.
Sheeta resembles Kiki of "Kiki's Delivery Service".

Laputa: Castle in the Sky
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Review Title:
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
124 Minutes
General Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Older Children
Adventure, Fantasy, Romance,
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