Sheeta (Anna Paquin) has just escaped an airship attacked by pirates led by Dola. Dropping from the sky and saved by her Etherium crystal at the amaze of Pazu. Sheeta and Pazu (James Van Der Beek) quickly become friends and both are interested in finding the secret city of Laputa, but little did both of them know that Sheeta is the secret to finding the fabled city that is said to hold a big treasure. This will bring more trouble as the pirates and the government force led by Muska (Mark Hammill) are also looking to take Sheeta for their own means. It is now a race to find the city before it is found by the wrong people.
Castle in the Sky is one of the best Studio Ghibli releases. Hayao Miyazaki’s style is found throughout the film with an incredible level of fantasy mixed with story that is filled with incredible characters. The film is long, but following to Miyazaki’s style, there’s absolutely no waste in fully developing its characters. We see the two main protagonist as well as some of the back up characters fully develop to the point that we feel some attachment to them as the film reaches its climax.
Story is important, but one thing that separates Ghibli releases is the ability to create a world full of fantasy and beauty and Castle in the Sky doesn’t disappoint in that department. We often see some great breathtaking aerial shots filled with color and full of a world of imagination. The animation from the studio is superb right down to the last minute, its creators appeared to have fully developed their ideas and it is very noticeable throughout the world of Castle in the Sky. Castle in the Sky is simply a great animated film that should easily make its way into your collection.
Castle in the Sky arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 1.85:1. The animated film looks better than ever, the restoration job has been fantastic. Colors are bright and well reproduced throughout. The artists’ hand drawn world and artistic vision is very well displayed across the film. I did notice there was some banding in a few scenes, but they were kept at a minimum so I don’t believe is a big issue, most probably won’t notice. Overall, the film has a great restoration work and looks amazing.
Castle in the Sky arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and the original 2.0 Japanese track. There’s a fair amount of differences between the tracks, personally I prefer the original track, for the sake of this review I also watched the film using the English track. The 5.1 track has a lot more activity with the low ends and the dialogue tends to be able to take advantage of the extra speakers as directionality is excellent. The Japanese track isn’t as robust, but the dialog is still crystal clear. With that being said, the tracks will meet everyone’s needs, although the newly restored track with obvious reasons features more robust design. Either way both are enjoyable.
An Introduction to the Film by John Lasseter – See the introduction to the movie by John Lasseter.
The World of Laputa – This piece finds Miyazaki traveling to a location to develop his ideas for the movie.
Original Storyboards – These storyboards can be played alongside the movie. Very cool piece that shows some of the designs of the film.
Behind the Microphone – See a behind the scenes footage of the voice actors in the recording room.
Scoring Miyazaki – Joe Hisaishi talks about what inspires him to make the score for the film as well as all his projects.
Character Sketches – Miyazaki talks about his two main characters Sheeta and Pazu.
Producer’s Perspective – Isao Takahata talks about the difficulty of initially working with Miyazaki and how they finally came together to make the movie.
Creating Castle in the Sky – This is a very quick interview with Hayao Miyazaki where he talks about various different topics including his love of robots.
Original Japanese Trailers
Castle in the Sky remains an animated film about compassion and friendship. Hayao Miyazaki’s unforgettable tale features a great story and great all around animation. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great and on top of it all it’s filled with a good set of supplements. This is one of those titles that should be part of your collection.