Aug 072012

Title: Castle in the Sky


Castle in the Sky

She’s floating…again.

A girl, on the run from sky pirates and government agents, literally falls into the life of a young boy. High adventure (pun intended) ensues as all the characters work toward finding the lost floating city of Laputa.

Appropriate for:

Ages 9 and up

Director Hayao Miyazaki is known as the Walt Disney of Japan and with good reason; his anime are, for the most part, excellent family fare and serious anime fans often consider his work to be focused at younger audiences. I wouldn’t disagree and as a parent of younger children I’m happy to have Miyazaki to turn to as opposed to something like Mobile Suit Gundam. Having said that however, Castle in the Sky is solidly above all-ages films like Totoro or Ponyo.

Content Warnings:

Guns and gun violence as well as sometimes cartoonish brawling are easily the most significant concerns for parents with Castle in the Sky. Although, despite all the shootouts, there are no dead bodies shown. There is a significant amount of property destruction throughout the film and the main villain, Muska, gets pretty creepy near the end in a “Fools! I will destroy them all!” kind of way. He, of course, meets a bad end.

Our kids were perhaps too young when we first tried this one – we were riding high after a string of successes with Miyazaki films like Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. There are guardian robots on Laputa (spoiler alert! – they find the Castle in the Sky) that may seem somewhat sinister at first but when an invading army destroyed one of them our kids lost it. They were inconsolable so we had to stop watching – and these are not cute interactive robots like R2D2 or C3PO, they are silent lumbering sentinels but our kids managed to make an emotional connection with it nonetheless.

The Scoop:

Castle in the Sky is my favorite Miyazaki movie so far although Howl’s Moving Castle is right up there as well. In addition to his fondness for cities that appear to be straight out of Paris in the 1800s Miyazaki has a fascination with aviation in general and fantastic flying ships in particular. Some of his aircraft, while quite beautiful, are also completely impractical. But hey, if you’re going to go to the trouble of animating a whole film why not fill it with impossible things that are only limited by your imagination? When your kids are ready for it I would highly recommend Castle in the Sky for exciting adventure and epic fantasy.

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment or have something to add?

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Let me know what you think.

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