Why did Disney change the name of the MacGuffin mineral from "Volucite" to "Aetherium" when dubbing the movie? I can sort of understand taking "Laputa" out of the title (la puta being a very vulgar Spanish insult), but that just baffles me.
I think that change was just made for the same reason that the Deer God in "Princess Mononoke" was changed to Forest Spirit. While some have argued that this change is just a case of rewriting, I think the term "aetherium" works in favor of the crystal, because I feel that it's true in spirit to the original and it works well. Purists may say otherwise, but "Nausicaa" also had its "Sea of Decay" changed to "Toxic Jungle" for similar reasons, too-to sound more aesthetically pleasing to native English speakers, most likely. In regards to aetherium, you hear that word pop up a lot in stories involving magic, and the stone in the movie does some magical things, hence the name change.
Well think about if Volucite may have a word that means something else in Japanese. Most purists don't know that some things are changed due to the sole fact that a word won't mean anything.
The Japanese name of the MacGuffin mineral is hikouseki, which quite literally translates to "Levitation stone". Of course, from what this troper can gather, both the Japanese term and the translation of "Volucite" were words that were made up for this movie anyway, and really, if one isn't going to go with just the literal translation, "Aetherium" is probably a more logical translation... Then again this troper has no idea what the "Volu" in "Volucite" is even supposed to mean.
In Spanish, "volar" means "to fly", in French it's "voler", in Latin it's "volare", so perhaps that explains possible inspirations for naming the stone. The "ite" part comes from the ending of the names of some minerals, rocks and gems, like andesite or quartzite.
I understand why this is in the film, different culture, innocence, yadda yadda yadda. But it just bugs me that the pirates seem to love the girl a little too much. I've never been able to thoroughly enjoy the film solely for this reason - which makes me feel sad.
If it makes you feel any better, I don't think they were perving on her; she was just the first female they'd seen in a while who wasn't Mom.
Cheer up-even if they love her a little too much, at least they're being gentlemanly towards her-after all, their most formative feminine influence has been their mother-imagine how much they must respect women!
Their love was simple and childish. It's clear that they see her as a sort of mother figure (she cooks for them, etc.), and it's sort of a humorous commentary on how their actual mother isn't remotely maternal in the usual sense of the word, so Sheeta is their first encounter with this kind of feeling. This is even more clear in the original Japanese. It's not meant to imply anything creepy.
That and the film is implied to take place at an earlier time than when it was made, or even before Miyazaki himself was born, if it even takes place on Earth at all (the implication seems to be that it's an alternate history where air travel took off early). If they were trying to court Sheeta, they were probably simulatenously abiding by other old traditions of romance: if one of them proposed and she agreed, they would've waited until she was older to consummate if for no other reason than for her own health.
At the end of the movie the Castle keeps floating up and up and up. The only place it can head to is space! All the animals will slowly die as the oxygen gets thinner. When the castle gets up into space there will be no air for that giant tree to use. All of the plant life on the castle will die. The entire castle will become a comet roaming around the universe with a lone working robot.
Maybe it's still heavy enough to stay grounded to Earth's gravity, but just rising higher so that human hands can no longer reach it?
"Right around the time we were trying to come up with a good ending , and we were afraid that if Laputa flew into the sky that children watching the film would be afraid that the little animals like foxes and squirrels would all die. So that settled how we decided to end the story the way we did. We told ourselves it was okay because the story is set in an age before people went into space in the Apollo program, so nobody really knew what the view would be like from what is in effect an artificial satellite." -Word of God
That robot won't work very well in outer space, will it? Wouldn't the energy required to move be gone in close-to-0K conditions? I ask because I genuinely don't know.
I can't speak for Laputan technology, but even if they escape Earth's orbit, the gardens are unlikely to drift very far from the sun. See Space Is Cold.
I just made my own fanon theory that the Aetherium / tree created Some Kind of Force Field to keep the atmosphere in. True or not, I can imagine it's a 100% happy ending. Because honestly, the though of everything on the floating castle flash freezing and then incinerating over and over and over as it follows the Earth's rotation is a little too dark for the movie's tone.
Maybe it's just buoyant, but not antigrav-y. Eventually, it would just kind of find a new floaty-spot, then stop ascending.
As the closing credits are shown, the garden is shown floating in the air at what seems to be a fairly steady altitude, and it still looks happy and healthy. I think we can happily suspend our disbelief and assume, based on this, that it rose higher, but not far enough to end up in the deadly void of outer space.
After Sheeta and Pazu destroyed Laputa, all the blocks fell into the sea. Good, right, it didn't fall on a town, no one was hurt...yeah, no. The next scene clearly shows an idyllic seaside town, not that far away from where all that stuff fell in to the sea. All that stuff falling in to the sea would create an enormous tidal wave, which can easily turn into a tsunami, which would likely crash straight in to that idyllic seaside town, where (presumably) Dola and the boys and surely a whole bunch of innocent civilians are. Really? Couldn't drop it on some uninhabited part of the world, where it WON'T create a tidal wave of mass destruction?
There would probably be no problem. A city falling into the ocean would cause waves, but their size depends on the height the impactors fell from and how large the pieces are, both size and weight. Compare throwing two boulders into a pool, one whole and the other crushed into gravel-they cause very different wave patterns, and the patterns created by the gravel will vary greatly depending on how it's dropped in. Only part of Laputa dropped into the ocean, and most of that was dispersed debris that individually couldn't put up much in the way of waves, and since there are so many impacts, the waves they create would interact with each other chaotically, canceling out in some ways and reinforcing in others, but very unlikely to build up into a damaging tsunami of some kind. If the whole city has fallen, focusing all its energy into the ocean in one burst, then there might be a problem, but even then the energy is far, far less than that unleashed by your typical tsunami-generating earthquake. They have to move entire continents, after all. If you're comparing Laputa to a meteor impact, your typical meteor is moving at a minimum of 11 kilometers per second, so Laputa would have to be falling from an enormous height to achieve comparable results-the same height meteors start from, in fact.
Okay, the dub. I can tolerate a lot of the changes, specially since they had the decency to fill the Lull Destruction with a good score and some funny quips. However, Sheeta's line during the final showdown is just too much. How the HELL can she say "the world cannot live without love" when the relevant theme is clearly earth/soil/nature? It doesn't even fit with the poem she recites just before that (which is unchanged), let alone with the rest of the movie. I thought that was completely nonsensical when I watched it for the first time, and then when I learned that the original line was something like "you cannot live, parted from the earth" or "you can't live separated from the ground", it made complete sense.
That's probably my only minor quibble of the dub as well; overall I love it to pieces, but I'm a bit iffy about that line change. (I'm also 50-50 about the sound design; I like most of the new sound effects, but others not that much.) That said, it's not like either drawback ruins the movie or anything.
Sheeta told Musca that "a king without compassion does not deserve to rule" and switching the line probably made more sense that way. Plus, we could always use another love-related Aesop...
A person cannot live without love, and a society cannot live without love for the Earth it inhabits. Laputa does work as a parcel of floating nature - the plants and animals are thriving - but it cannot work as a loveless militaristic city. I think it works.
The poem is about being happy with the natural order of things. Plant your seeds in the spring, harvest them in the fall, and generally be happy with what you've got. Laputa, in contrast, defies the natural order. And what's really relevant about that defiance isn't that it's physically floating in the sky, it's that it's housing a superweapon. As Musca reveals, the Laputian empire once dominated the entire planet. And while that probably felt great for awhile, in the end the entire empire collapsed and Laputa was abandoned. Sheeta is arguing that the empire fell apart because its rulers were too greedy and tyranical. Instead of just working the land and enjoying ordinary lives, they decided to dominate other people. She's arguing that Musca is making the same mistake, and that even if he succeeds in reviving the empire he still won't have the moral right to rule over anybody. People aren't supposed to be tyrants to each other. They're supposed to live in harmony with the earth, and with each other. Hence, the bit about planting seeds leads right into "A king without compassion does not deserve his kingdom." In fact if she had said "You cannot live, parted from the Earth", what the heck would that mean? Obviously you can live in the sky; we've got a fully-functioning sky-castle right here! There's no physical reason why living in the sky cannot work. It only makes sense if she's talking about morality, and if "living with the earth" is a metaphor for living a moral life. The dub just took the metaphor and made it more explicit. Personally I prefer it that way.
Basically, everything Pazu does in Laputa after the army comes. He clings to surfaces that should have no handholds whatsoever and makes a dozen narrow, unlikely escapes. The worst is when he climbs up the chute the robots dropped out of even though it's completely slippery, apparently through sheer force of will. It always struck me as the cheesiest part of the movie. (Oh yeah, and he just barely escapes getting shot through the head.)
Indeed, it did beggar belief at several points, especially when he survived the grenade hit. He's been shown to be physically tough, but not particularly agile or fast. We'll just call it the sheer force of love and leave it at that.
Your last one can probably be explained by the fact that Pazu's head is so hard you could use it as a cannonball. With a bit of ISMA on the side.
He used playground knowledge. When I was a kid and wanted to climb up a metal or plastic slide at school during recess I took off my shoes and socks, making it a bit easier for my feet to stick to surfaces. Shoes and socks just slip off most steep surfaces. Laputa was made of stone, and that method would probably work on stone, too. Not sure if that's what Pazu was thinking, though he at least knew his socks and shoes would just get in the way.
Pazu's character, and indeed a whole lot of Castle in the Sky's characters and plot, are recycled elements from Miyazaki's earlier work Future Boy Conan. Pazu is based on Conan, who in Future Boy Conan possessed almost superhuman amounts of strength and stamina that defy reality. Some of those character traits from Conan, like his superhuman strength, have rubbed off on Pazu.
Why is the forbidden spell of destruction less complicated than the one for protection? You would think that destroying the palace would require more chances to think "are you SURE you want to do this?" while protection wouldn't.
Maybe if one is desperate enough to even consider the destruction spell, you've either though it through already or don't have time to.
In a way, it actually kinda makes sense. After all, it is almost always easier to destroy something, than to protect or make something.
It's the self destruct command for the system, and can only destroy Laputa. Self destruct codes tend to be short.
My personal headcannon is that someone tried to use the spell hundreds of years ago while the empire was in the process of falling apart, but he was interrupted before he could say the final word. The beginning part of the spell is still stored in the crystal indefinitely, so Sheeta just has to say the final word and then the entire spell activates. It's a theory that suggests an interesting backstory. (Also, see the next question.)
It was probably a failsafe in case someone evil was trying to take control of Laputa, perhaps while trying to take a member of the royal family hostage. With hardly any time to react, this failsafe would need a spell that could be uttered quickly.
Why did the Ancients not use the spell i.e. command of destruction on Laputa? So their technology could not be used to wage war? Why not destroy all the crystals? There seems to be a bit of irresponsibility and neglect going on.
Indeed. Irresponsibility and neglect probably helped the empire collapse in the first place. Also, my headcannon is that someone did try to use the spell of destruction, but he was interrupted before he could say the final word. That's why Sheeta and Patsu only need to say one word to activate the spell.
It appears that the royal family originally did plan to return to Laputa after everyone left. Pazu even speculates this is the case, that Laputa was waiting for the rightful ruler to return. They left it floating in the sky surrounded by an endless storm until that day was to come. The royal family later decided not to go back, but maybe they decided to keep the control crystal and Laputa intact in case they wanted to go back eventually. Over time their secret became more of a legend and a family tradition and the decedents of the royal Laputians continued to pass the control crystal down, not realizing how powerful the crystal was or that Laputa was still floating up there in the sky. Sheeta seemed quite surprised that Laputa was still around, so clearly her family forgot some stuff over time.
One of the numerous arguments naysayers of Disney's dub make in favor of the forgotten '80s English dub is that it's more "accurate". Well, guess what? The older dub also doesn't reference "Gulliver's Travels," neither does Disney's dub. And here's where it gets sticky: naysayers attack Disney's dub for making a change like that, but it's OK for the '80s dub to do the same? I just don't see the logic in that argument.
Did anyone create the robots on Laputa? What are they made of? Is it the central crystal that keeps them alive and running? How are they capable of understanding things like being kind towards animals?
Aside from the crystal question I find this strain of questions incredibly odd. Of course someone created them. They hardly formed out of the ether. And they're clearly programmed to have some from of intelligence. As for what they're made of, presumably some type of light metal given they can fly but it's really quite irrelevant unless you want to try built your own.
What was Sheeta's accent in the Disney dub?
It's debatable. Paquin's accent in real life tends to fluctuate due to being born in Canada and mostly raised in New Zealand. The actress has mentioned she sometimes slips into her NZ accent when speaking to friends from that country.
In-universe, I assume it was a Laputian accent. Her family has been speaking that way for generations.