Seeing Laputa: Castle in the Sky in theaters, I thought I knew what to expect. But what I got was a beyond satisfactory Miyazaki experience with a touch more nostalgia and whimsy.

Laputa, which premiered in 1986, was the first official feature film released by Studio Ghibli. For anyone saying, “What about Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind?” That came out in 1984 and was the impetus for forming Ghibli in the first place.

Directed by soon-to-be legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki Laputa sets the groundwork for what would become their signatures in storytelling. From their distinctive drawing styles, to their use of fantasy and whimsy, Laputa is the paradigm by which all Studio Ghibli films would be created and, in turn, judged.

Laputa follows the story of Sheeta, a young girl who clearly is the model for all Miyazaki heroines to follow. She’s possesses a mystical object that sets her on an adventure for the lost floating kingdom of Laputa.

Along the way she meets Pazu, her immediate companion. Together they battle Ma and her band of thieves, and meet some giant robots. Since I saw the dubbed version, I got to see Mark Hamill provide the voice of posh baddy Colonel Muska. Never forget how amazing Mark Hamill’s voice work is!

The fantastical elements of Laputa are the kind of playfulness you expect from Miyazaki. But something about seeing it on the Big Screen is a must. The detailed beauty of his drawings enlarged on a 25 foot screen is something all moviegoers young and old should experience.

Luckily, GKIDS is hosting a monthly Studio Ghibli Fest. Classics like My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service have already been shown, but up next will be Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Also Spirited Away is showing for Halloween, so get your tickets for that now!

Choose between a dubbed or subtitled version (I usually prefer subtitles, but that’s just me), and get your tickets now! It’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon so what are you waiting for?

You can buy tickets here

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