The orphan Sheeta inherited a mysterious crystal that links her to the mythical sky-kingdom of Laputa. With the help of resourceful Pazu and a rollicking band of sky pirates, she makes her way to the ruins of the once-great civilization.
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Ghibli's films - and by extension, Miyazaki's - work best when fantasy invades a grounded reality. Films such as Spirited Away, Totoro, Ponyo etc. work well because of their magic realism, and the sense of wonder we experience through the protagonist(s). Meanwhile, this is exquisite hard fantasy fare, and while it misses the "anything can happen" brush of Miyazaki's later work, it has charm and invention in spades.
Could eat this movie up, I love it so. The antidote for any bad day. Comparable to "Casablanca," insofar as all of its characters -- pirate, princess or coal miner -- posses an inherent nobility that is earnest, but never maudlin. Heartbreaking pathetic fallacy, upbeat young Lucas/Spielberg-esque action laced with clever laughs, and a central love story so innocent, it defies comparison. So fucking great.
I really enjoy that the plot is the effect that technology has on us and that even the most technologically advanced world can have huge consequences when it is put in the wrong hands. I really gained a deeper understanding for how great nature and natural beauty is while watching the film.
I always want to give Miyazaki films a million stars just because of how totally casually they populate their worlds with believable female characters. You have to see something being taken for granted to realise how powerful that normalisation in itself can be, I guess. Anyway, aside from me waffling about women (all I do tbh) I also want to shout out to the cute as heck robots! This is proper film crit right here.