Castle in the SkyCastle in the Sky
Year: 1986
Rating: PG
Length: 125 minutes / 2.08 hours

Having only seen a handful of Hayao Miyazaki films, I finally got around to some of his earlier works. Castle in the Sky (1986) might not seem special by today’s standards, but in the era when it was released, I’m sure it was quite a bold statement. As a steampunk-styled adventure, there’s a lot in this movie that has since been copied and adapted into other works (case in point, my younger brother noticed that it’s almost an identical plot to Mega Man Legends which came out a decade later).

As Miyazaki’s third film, Castle in the Sky sees many of his established visual styles and themes (like flying girls) that he has used in many of his following projects. Even with a relatively simple plot, the gorgeous animated visuals are always a major draw for Miyazaki movies like this. There’s a charm that’s hard to describe, but it’s there in the heart of this film. That it still seems polished by the standards of today’s 2D animated films is a testament to the attention to detail that this filmmaker infuses into everything he touches.

My only problem with Castle in the Sky is its pacing. There’s a significant amount of action early in the film which kept me riveted. However, as the plot continued and explanations became perhaps slightly more convoluted, things slowed down enough that I had trouble staying awake for the ending. It was still an enjoyable watch, but I think I may need to do another rewatch in the future when I’m better equipped (read: well rested). At the very least, this is one of those films I hope to share with my children someday, as it is imaginative and full of lessons that would serve them well.

An animated steampunk treat the likes of which only Miyazaki could deliver, I give Castle in the Sky 4.0 stars out of 5.

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