Castle in the Sky | Chicago Reader

Castle in the Sky

Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle) followed his Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with this 1986 fantasy revolving around the great floating island of the title. The storytelling is a notch below Miyazaki's best: the bad guys lack the moral complexity of the villains in Nausicaa, and the suspense sequences never convey the deep understanding of childhood fears that gives his subsequent work such an emotional pull. Yet these are minor complaints given the film's extraordinary visual design, which draws from Jonathan Swift, Jules Verne, and Miyazaki's own love of nature. The storybook environment is so vividly detailed (check out the different types of moss growing on the abandoned robots) that you easily can get lost in it.

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