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on 25 May 2013
Review of the film: Masterpiece adventure, one of Miyazaki's top three. 10/10

[I personally prefer the japanese audio in all animes as american english to me isn't suited at all to asian sensibility, and this is what I review though I tested the english audio. I found Pazu's american voice to be particularly irritating and badly acted. Also note that in ten minutes soundcheck I already found some censorship, such as
"If my head were any harder, you could use it as a cannonball" for the original "My head is harder than my boss's fists". Just a side-note for die-hard fans - ignore if it's for your children, obviously]


This offering comes up in a blu-ray type box encased in a pretty sleeve. A very beautiful face is printed onto both discs. (same face for both discs)
Specs are as follows:

Blu-Ray: HD standard, 1080p, 16x9 widescreen. Audio 5.1 LPCM English, 2.0 LPCM japanese + english subtitles (subtitles white with black outline. Big enough and visible, hi-resolution) Subtitles can be turned off from the remote, though not from the menu.

DVD: Colour PAL 16x9 anapmorphic. Audio 2.0 stereo English, Japanese + english subtitles, Japanese + hard of hearing english subtitles (yellow subs, black outline, big and ugly - typewriter style, very visible) , Region 2. Subtitles can be turned off from the remote, though not from the menu.

Blu-Ray quality: Excellent. No blocks, no noise. Beautiful job, and probably as precise as the original handdrawings were themselves.
The menu is simple and very pretty (press enter while in setup to change audio to japanese, instead of up and down buttons, can be a bit confusing)


- Storyboards

- Promotional video: not a very promising title but actually contains excerpts of interviews with Miyazaki in '86 as well as a few others in the team, so worth watching. All were very young looking. Too short

- Behind the microphone: 4 minutes of "interviews" with the american cast. Mark Hamill is the only one with anything remotely useful to say and since the whole thing is 4 minutes only, you can guess how little that is ;)

- Behind the studio. 4 interviews of about 2 minutes each, 3 of them with Miyazaki. Too short and always interesting. Mentions of the Rhondda valley, Jules Verne, Swift, and even Superman!
- The world of Laputa
- Creating Castle in the Sky
- Character sketches
- Producer's perspective: Suzuki's first meeting with Miyazaki. I don't want to give it away but I found it hilarious and is a must see

- Textless opening and ending credits: Not much in itself but they are really beautiful and artistic and are really worth watching without the stream of text to detract. The opening credits remind a lot of Terry Gilliam.

- Original japanese trailers

-Studio Ghibli collection trailers

DVD quality:
The credits and menus are mediocre quality, blurry with visible interlacing artifacts and noise around the text, and I was fearing the worst but the actual film is in fact a very good quality for a DVD. There is no blocking and it's quite crisp, (for a DVD, of course). Only motion sequences feel blurry, though of course there are a lot of them. But they've made a real effort to present something decent.

The bonuses are as follows:

- textless credits (see above)
- Original trailers
- Ghibli trailers
- Alternative angle storyboards
- "history of Castle in the Sky", consisting of 2 minutes of watching drawings and final designs on a musical background.

All in all I feel this is a very good quality product, and care and love has been lavished onto it to restore and enhance the image. I recommend buying it, if only to ensure that Ghibli will carry on producing quality blu-rays by showing our support.
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on 22 September 2015
I first saw this on the TV in the late 80's.
I never knew the title of the film, but I never forgot how memorized I was at the story, the characters, the animation. It was nothing like I'd seen before. I searched for over a decade ( in the pre-internet days) then I found it on the TV again ,, I was thrilled, quite soon I owned it on blu ray and then howls moving castle, princess mononoke, and then my personal favourite of Hayao Miyazaki films
Nausicaä of the valley of the wind. These animated films are filled with wonder, heroic tales. Amazing innocent, passionate, driven tales.
I will never get tired enjoying them. Outstanding..
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on 23 August 2016
Not just a brilliant animation, but a brilliant film, and a Family film at that! (remember them...?) All hand drawn , but showing amazing use of colour and shade in places (just look at the detail during the train chase and the air battles) and an imaginative story line that puts Disney et al to shame.
Recommended for all.
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When a girl falls from an airship after a botched raid by pirates, the crystal she wears on a pendant glows and she gently floats down to earth. Taken in by an orphan boy, there is obvious chemistry between the two - but any budding romance is interrupted when the couple are chased by several groups all intent on stealing the crystal.

The legend of Laputa is much like our fabled City of Atlantis - and the crystal it seems has some link with the legendary flying island and its untold treasures. A massive adventure ensues and Sheeta, the wearer of the crystal, discovers much about her past. Her relationship with Pazu continues to grow and makes for a tender and compelling watch.

The film contains Hayao Miyazaki's almost trademark messages of pacifism, and the way he allows the friendship between the two main characters to develop is brilliantly understated so that it never feels contrived. A friend of mine loved this film when he was little and was horrified when he listened to this Disney release as the dub seems pretty poor. This is the only release of the film I've seen - but I have to agree that the dub is disappointing. Pazu is a major character but the voice seems, well ...odd! He sounds like the stereotyped teenager from The Simpsons and you expect to hear him say "...would you like fries with that, sir?". The voice is too old for a character who is obviously at the younger end of the teen spectrum if even a teen at all. Normally it wouldn't bother me as I watch the film with the original (Japanese) audio-track and subtitles. However, the subtitles are 'dubtitles' - they aren't a subtitle of the original feature but instead a word-for-word subtitle of the dub, and the American dub adds speech to silent parts of the film. This means that you'll be watching a moment with dramatic or poignant silence, but there will be subtitles at the bottom of the screen when there is no dialogue!

In a nutshell: A great fantasy adventure set in an alternate past where flying machines and air balloons exist in an age of sky-pirates. There's humour in amongst the action, some fantastic robots, and a score which (on the Japanese soundtrack) accompanies the film with a fitting, moving feel. This isn't just a mindless adventure though, there's a message of peace and non-apathy, and some very emotive scenes which are quite beautiful. The visuals are fantastic (as you expect from a Studio Ghibli film), but a great film is somewhat spoiled by a dub which feels out of kilter with what you are seeing on screen.
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I remembered this film when it was shown on TV in the late 1980s, I recollected small parts of it, like the lush colours, the airships, the floating island and the robot. It took literally YEARS for me to find out what film it was once I had grown up. Once the internet came to full fruition, I discovered that Laputa was the film which captured my imagination as a child. At that time, there was no indication that the film was to be released in VHS form (DVDs were a rarity!). But now all that has changed, and Miyazaki's collection has made its way onto the scene. And they couldn't have come too soon!
Laputa takes you into Miyazaki's inventive and imaginative world of steam and air, a world that seems far preferable to our own. The young heroin plays his (and her) parts again, as the re-curring theme in all of Miyazaki's creations, but in doing so, it allows his films to touch your own inner-child.
Although not quite as encompassing and thorough as some of his later work, such as Spirited Away, Laputa serves up adequate action and adventure to keep adult and infant alike amused. I leant this DVD to a colleague to show her daughter, and when she brough it back to me, she said that she really enjoyed the film herself, and her daughter thought the film was "lovely!".
So there you have it. A "lovely" film.
Get it.
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on 23 January 2008
I'm new to Japanimation (is this movie anime?) and I have to say when I saw it on Film4 a few days ago (the English dubbed version - I was interested to see that Mark Hamill was included in the voice credit list) I couldn't stop watching it. Now, I'm 32 and I thought I'd stopped watching cartoons decades ago, but this was something more than that. In fact, my "awakening" actually happened after I watched another Japanimation, again on Film4, at Christmas, called 'Princess Mononoke'. Ever since then I've actually had more interest in Japanimation as a whole, and 'Castle in the Sky' more or less galvanized that for me. Both movies are definitely on my "to-buy" list.

If you're new to this kind of animation, these two movies are certainly a great introduction.
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on 21 May 2014
I just watched Castle in the Sky and I thought this was a fantastic Anime. The sense of adventure, scale, thrills and just the sheer fun is one of the great things about this film. On top of that, the way the film blends the visuals along with the music to set a mood is fantastic and it really helps considering the animation and the music are both amazing and they complement each other really well. It's my favourite Studio Ghibli film so far and I highly recommend you check it out!
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on 2 February 2012
I admit to being a fan of studio ghibli, love many of their films but until a short while ago i was the only person in my household who would watch them, after The Castle Of Cagliostro however my sons are much more willing to give them a try. I much prefer the hand drawn graphics to computer gen 'cartoons' that seem to be all the rage and the magical storylines are absorbing and breathtaking, well my sons like the robot, the flying island and the pirates in this one. We have watched this 3 times since buying it, and we all still sit from beginning to end either laughing or entranced. Wonderful!
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on 10 August 2011
This is one of the better Studio Ghibli productions, with the usual stunning and hugely imaginative imagery and storyline. I can see a number of links to the later Spirited Away, which in my opinion is one of the best all-time films of any genre. As with the other Ghibli films, having watched it first with the English dubbing and then with the original Japanese soundtrack and subtitles, the latter seems to add to the overall enjoyment.

I couldn't see the Gulliver's Travel inspiration mentioned in the Amazon review, but with genius like this, why should it be considered derivative in any way?
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on 31 March 2016
Another gut-wrenchingly beautiful and imaginatively inspired classic from the Ghibli entourage, leading us yet again, into worlds where fantastical adventures are made real and time is forgotten-in-duration as we daydream along in utter amazement. Strong competitors for the Disney crown.
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