3 Stars out of 4
*EXCLUSIVE TO SHORT CUTS
The opening to Castle In The Sky proves animation can be action-oriented, and smart. Such characteristics remain in the meandering, at times too bombastic Castle In The Sky. It’s about a young Princess Sheeta (voiced by Anna Paquin) who carries a blue orb that will guide her to the floating castle Laputa (a name originating in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels), a fortress aloof and the destination that stores our characters’ hopes and desires.
Sheeta is acquainted with a miner boy named Pazu (v.b. James Van Der Beek) and they embark on a mission that involves them fleeing from pirates and the military. It’s a whimsical tale, ridden with action and a little bit of swashbuckling between the two protagonists. Miyazaki bombards the action here but it never flushes out the cuteness of this spectacle. Castle In The Sky is about hopes, dreams, and the temptations of gliding free. The film also believes villains can become heroes too, and - for me - that’s enchanting enough.
2.5 Stars out of 4
I always wished I could fly. Slowly ascending into the light, buoyant skies, weightless above and below the world’s wonders. It’s impossible, I know, and a base jump just wouldn’t be the same. So in that I envy Kiki, the hero of Hayao Miyazaki’s new, light adventure Kiki’s Delivery Service. Our hero is a witch but not the traditional evil one. She is a good witch in a trouble-free world. (continue reading…)
3.5 Stars out of 4
Ponyo is another adventure from the great mind of Hayao Miyazaki. I really liked this film. It’s a meandering tale but it ought to be if it is about a flood. A great flood indeed, but not one that evokes sadness and loss but unity and optimism between people who remain afloat. Once again, Miyazaki creates a hero’s story but who exactly is the hero? (continue reading…)
4 Stars out of 4
Close your eyes and imagine the world of Spirited Away. After sitting through this 125 animé visual feast, you will find yourself picturing every corner of its world. It’s like you’ve been down that rabbit hole too. This subsequent Alice is Chihiro, a sullen young girl very reliant on her parents. Unlike Alice though, Chihiro does not descend into this world as a result of her stubborn curiosities. This fault goes to her parents, who fester deeper into the empty-foreboding village, gluttonize the food, and morph into pigs. Poor, reliant Chihiro is all alone. (continue reading…)