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Castle in the Sky

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Here is an odd thing.

Here is a list of plot elements shared in common by Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky and Lloyd Alexander's The Castle of Llyr, the third in his excellent Prydain Chronicles books for children:

    As I say, an odd thing.

    P.S. For a moment I thought that the two names were more similar than they are in fact, because I was confusing the title of Castle in the Sky with the name of the castle at the end of The Phantom Tollbooth, the Castle in the Air. "Castle in the Air" sounds a little bit like "Castle of Llyr," but "Castle in the Sky" doesn't. Oh well.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Bizarre. Is this coincidence, the power of myth revealing its universal truths, or should we assume that Miyazake is an Alexander fan (or vice versa?)


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

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FWIW, Castle of Llyr was first published in 1969. Castle in the Sky came out in 1986.

On first blush I take it to be a coincidental convergence of archetypal themes and motifs, although it was really striking watching the film with my kids recently at a point in time when Castle of Llyr was our current bedtime story.

And, really, some of the convergences noted above aren't as striking as others. For example, there's not really much to connect Dola to Llyan (one is a morally ambiguous pirate, the other a giant cat), and even less to connect the giant robot to Glew. At that point I was kind of playing connect the dots.

But Eilonwy and her bauble as the secret to the lost power of the abandoned Castle of Llyr is really strikingly like Sheeta and her crystal as the secret to the lost power of the Castle in the Sky. Taran and Pazu, the kidnappings by the villains looking to grap the castle's power... that's stuff's all right there on the surface.

Anyone else have any other thoughts?


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Wow! It's been so long since I've read Alexander's series that I missed all those similarities. Interesting.


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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WHAT THE HECK?

The first post in this thread originally included a long list of bulleted items enclosed in "list" tags.

Just recently, re-watching Castle in the Sky with my kids, I Googled this post to revisit the list of similarities -- only to find everything after the opening "list" tag up to and inclusive of the closing "list" tag -- deleted.

Wha hoppen? Was this a board upgrade thing, or something else????


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Obviously, some vast conspiracy is at work to foil our attempts to discover and note these similarities...


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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From an email that arrived today:

I'm trying to find a Christian perspective on Castle in the Sky (other than my own). I am an associate pastor (youth and young adults) and every month we have a movie night and encourage discussion from a faith perspective (don't worry - we have the license agreement to show the films).

Any how - do you or anyone you know have a review of this movie? I would like to introduce anime as a genre and thought this would be a 'safe' intro.

I haven't reviewed it. Have any of you?

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

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I haven't yet, but yeah, it's a very "safe" and accessible Miyazaki -- and a staggering achievement of world-building and mythology. Only downside: characters are a little dull. I just rewatched it last week with my nephews and kids.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I haven't yet, but yeah, it's a very "safe" and accessible Miyazaki -- and a staggering achievement of world-building and mythology. Only downside: characters are a little dull. I just rewatched it last week with my nephews and kids.

What SDG said (though I didn't find the characters that dull).

I'd be interested in how they discuss the film from a "faith perspective". It's not as overtly "spiritual" as, say, Princess Mononoke, but there are certainly some themes about sacrifice and the abuse of power. And of course, the typical "coming of age" themes that Miyazaki always does so well.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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My review.

Excerpts:

From the Leonardo-like engineering illustrations of the opening credit sequence to the hauntingly surreal final image on the edge of space, Hayao Miyazaki’s Laputa, or Castle in the Sky as it’s subtitled for English-speaking audiences, displays the filmmaker’s visionary brilliance as a shaper of worlds as compellingly as any film he has made.

That opening credit sequence, with its woodcut-like depictions of fantastic technology representing an alternate 19th century — massive structures fusing windmills, derricks, gears, pulleys, steam engines, paddle wheels, propellers and such — reveals something of how Miyazaki’s invention works. He doesn’t begin with plot or characters, but with images, with premises, with possible worlds. ...

As usual, Miyazaki festoons his work with odd, gratuitous flourishes of beauty. Pazu’s strange house, with its brickwork, roof-top trap door and tower with spiral treads, is a joy, as is his curious morning ritual of climbing to the roof to release the pigeons and trumpet the dawn. I get a kick out of the brick on the pulley that pulls Pazu’s door shut. Another brilliant touch: the crow’s nest on Dola’s ship that converts into a kite-like glider.

The crowning glory, though, is Laputa itself, a half-ruinous ghost city, with gardens still tended by decrepit robots, crumbling stonework, flooded shafts, and that one titanic tree that ages ago shattered the dome above with its branches, and whose roots reach into the deepest bowels of the city. If Miyazaki’s previous film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, ideally showcases the epic scope of the director’s imagination on an evolutionary scale, Laputa does the same on a civilizational scale. Laputa is one of the great places of the movies.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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FYI, the roof of the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is done up as a sort of mini Laputa, complete with its own life-size robot sentinel.

3429199387_c8b1b2a64a.jpg

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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FYI, the roof of the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is done up as a sort of mini Laputa, complete with its own life-size robot sentinel.

3429199387_c8b1b2a64a.jpg

That is amazing. Wow.

And SDG, great review. Laputa has always been one of my favorites despite its obvious flaws (dull protagonists and villains) because of the unsurpassed job of worldbuilding that Miyazaki did here and the lingering moments of beauty that can hold their own against anything else he has done.


Scott -- 2nd Story -- Twitter

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All these years later, I want to say: I just reread Lloyd Alexander’s The Castle of Llyr to my two youngest kids, and it still frosts me that my brilliant list of parallels between The Castle of Llyr and Laputa: Castle in the Sky was swallowed in a site redesign between 2003 (when the board was promontoryarts.com) and 2006. 

:(


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Yeah, archiving and data preservation has been one of this site's weaknesses over the years, with every "upgrade" and redesign resulting in more loss. And the Wayback Machine coverage that far back is too spotty to be useful. I've been growing fond of good old phpBB lately.

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8 hours ago, Rushmore said:

Yeah, archiving and data preservation has been one of this site's weaknesses over the years, with every "upgrade" and redesign resulting in more loss. 

Rushmore,

Do you have any suggestions for how this could be improved?

 

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