Hayao Miyazaki is famous for making childrens' animated movies with broad appeal to adults, pervaded with a sense of magic, wonder, and fantasy. Sometimes they near profound status, other times they're just fluff. Laputa is one of the latter, with a heavy focus on adventure and old conventions attendant to it. Inspired by a trip to Welsh mining towns, Laputa mashes together airships, pirates, ancient civilizations, the Dulcinea Effect, magic crystals, lost technology, some light humor, Ghibli Hills, and finally some foreboding messages about harnessing science (though here it's really magic) for destructive ends. Thus, the movie ends with an appropriate Aesop, but for the most part it's just rip-roaring fun. Pazu and Sheeta are not one of Miyazaki's more compelling characters and Muska gradually morphs into a cartoon villain, but Ma Dola and the pirates are a fun, if corny, bunch. It's not at the caliber of its predecessor, Nausicaa, or some of Miyazaki's later works, but at the time it proved that Studio Ghibli was a force to be reckoned with and it's justifiably a classic today. I especially recommend it to kids who have outgrown Disney and are beginning to get into adventure stories like Star Wars and Indiana Jones. PS: In general the sub is better but Mark Hamill s performance as Muska and Cloris Leachman s as Ma Dola are great. PPS: I think the rescoring is probably better because it suits the bombastic, epic nature of the story.
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