Castle in the Sky (movie)

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The weaponry and mechanical settings in Laputa is a mixture of British and German designs. Miyazaki is a fan of German weaponry (he has manga works like The Return of Hans and Otto Carius - both about WWII German tank crews), so soldier's uniform, medals, and granades (Stielhandgranate, the famous "potato masher" in WWII) are modeled after German design, not to mention the gigantic battle zeppelin "Goliath." However, since the town of Slag Ravine was modeled after a mining town in Wales, British-styled civilian clothings and British weapons such as Lee-Enfield SMLE Mk. III rifle (soldiers) and Webley top-break revolver (Muska and his agents) appeared frequently in the film.

The name of Laputa was borrowed from the classical English satire "Gulliver's Travels" (pub. 1729) by Jonathan Swift. In the movie, Pazu talks about how Swift wrote about Laputa in Gulliver's Travels, and then he says: あれはただの空想何だ ("are wa tada no kuusou nan da", "but that was just a flight of fancy"). This may be interpreted as meaning that, in the story universe (which obviously isn't our own universe - Miyazaki likes to create worlds similar but not identical to ours, viz. 'Porco Rosso' and 'Kiki's Delivery Service'), there was a Swift who wrote of a floating castle Laputa. However, it's quite definitely not the same Laputa that is floating in the sky - and the story's Swift was (like our own Swift) not writing of the real world - he was writing a fantastic satire. This passage in the film is probably Miyazaki's way of delivering an hommage to Swift - but it shouldn't be interpreted as saying that the two Laputas are identical.

The meaning of the name "Laputa" in Swift's original story has been widely debated. It is clear that one part of the etymology is the Spanish phrase "La puta" (a very vulgar expression meaning "the whore", but far worse). Some have suggested a link with Yiddish "putz" ("idiot", or "penis"), but it seems unlikely that Swift would have known the term. In the story, Swift lets his protagonist Lemuel Gulliver explore the subject, in terms of the imaginary language of the Laputans: "The word, which I interpret the flying or floating island, is in the original Laputa, whereof I could never learn the true etymology. Lap, in the old obsolete language, signifies high; and untuh, a governor; from which they say, by corruption, was derived Laputa, from Lapuntuh. But I do not approve of this derivation, which seems to be a little strained. I ventured to offer to the learned among them a conjecture of my own, that Laputa was quasi lap outed; lap, signifying properly, the dancing of the sunbeams in the sea, and outed, a wing; which, however, I shall not obtrude, but submit to the judicious reader." ("Gulliver's Travels" - text from Project Gutenberg)

There were 69,262 cels and 381 colors used in this production.

The robots in the film are inspired by the ones featured in the Fleischer version of Superman.

Fox squirrels, as seen in Miyazaki's Nausicaa manga and anime, briefly appear in the film. When Pazu and Sheeta first walk around Laputa, a group of them climb on the gardening robot.

The robots previously appeared in the final episode of Lupin III Part 2.

The correct romanization of Sheeta's name would have been "Shita", but the producers of the Disney English dub changed the spelling for obvious reasons.

Laputa was inspired by Paronella Park, a castle built by Jose Paronella at Mena Creek, in Far North Queensland, Australia. The theme music from Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta is used during the night tours of the castle.

Dubbed in 1999, this film did not receive a home video release until four years later when "Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi" won an Academy Award for Best Animated Film. During that time, it would be shown at the occasional film festival, and sell out with little word-of-mouth. Despite its limited success, Disney's official explanation for the delay was that Studio Ghibli wanted to avoid reverse-importation of the film in Japan and lose R2 sales. However, by 2003, Laputa had long made its money back in dvd sales in Japan, fueling fire to the long-held fan speculation that the company purchased the Ghibli library for the purpose of sabotaging its potential success in the U.S.

When Disney dubbed the film into English, they asked composer Joe Hisaishi to re-score it. (The original score was only about an hour long in a two-hour-plus movie, so it was felt that it should be fleshed out some more.) The revisited score is present in the English dubbed version on the Region 1 DVD released by Disney on April 15, 2003. However, purists can rest easy knowing that the original, unaltered score is present in the Japanese language track that is also present as an option on the DVD.

The original Japanese theatrical release did not have the current Studio Ghibli logo at the beginning; it had the Toho logo instead.

The Hong Kong version had 4 minutes of footage cut out making it 116 minutes long instead of 120 minutes long.

Miyazaki first came up with the idea of the story when he was in elementary school.

According to Toshio Suzuki, this film only got made in order to get Miyazaki out of the dept he was in at the time. After receiving the box office money from the success of Nausicaa, Takahata needed money to finance his documentary so Miyazaki lend him the money and will receive whatever amount of yen that doesn't get spent. However Takahata ended up using all of Miyazaki's money which lead Miyazaki to seek help from Suzuki on what to do about his dept. Suzuki suggested he direct another anime film, and Miyazaki had the idea of Castle in the Sky right on the spot. Had Takahata not of used up all of Miyazaki's money for his documentary, Castle in the Sky would never be made.

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