Laputa: Castle in The Sky Movie – A Closer Look

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is an animation film by Hayao Miyazaki released in the United States in 1986; the movie film takes its distant inspiration from a novel by Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, where Laputa is a floating island peopled by superior creatures. The story of this castle in the sky proves one more time that people remain fascinated with the sky and what is out there so little accessible to us without the intermediary of technologies. The plot starts from the premises that there is still a hidden flying city camouflaged behind clouds; to some characters this remains fiction, while others seek to find the hidden fortress. Laputa: Castle of the Sky has to reveal its secrets!

This castle in the sky surely belongs to a parallel Earth with an alternate history since none of the regions or place names that we come across in the film corresponds to real geographical data. We know that the action takes place sometime between 1860 and 1900. The documentation for the history of Laputa as the castle in the sky is pretty elaborate given the fact that it is pure fiction. Thus, hegemonies follow one another over other aerial cities, then, Laputa, normally governed by a royal family, has been several times abandoned, not to mention that there are lots of clues about the relation between Laputans and earthlings.

When he created the image of the castle in the sky, Miyazaki found inspiration in the architecture of a mining Welsh town, and this model was used for the design of the buildings of Laputa. Although the film dates back to 1986, the DVD and video release was postponed until 2003. During that year, Laputa: Castle in the Sky became the second-best selling DVD distributed by Disney after Spirited Away.

Various distinctions set apart the original and the English dub, but the effect of Laputa: Castle in the Sky was not diminished by such differences. The soundtrack is a bit different so as to make the animation more accessible to wider audiences since Westerners are usually expecting rich or substantial musical support as part of the accompaniment. Moreover, all the alterations received the approval of the makers although some fans disagreed with some of the decisions. In Japan, Laputa: Castle in the Sky got numerous awards among which Best Film of the Year as well as Best Anime at the 9th Anime Grand Prix.

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