Laputa: The Castle In The Sky (Japan 1986)

Rating: ****
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Another Hayao Miyazaki classic, this seems like a lightweight kiddie adventure version of "Nausicaä" (1984) more than anything else. A young boy and girl have the adventure of a lifetime when they find themselves on the run from the government and from a group a pirates who both want a precious stone that the young girl possesses. She unknowingly holds the key to the secret of Laputa, a fabled floating city in the sky with a highly advanced culture and technology. The pirates want to pillage the treasure and the government wants to steal their military might, while the kids just want to preserve it and keep it away from the dirty and greedy hands of Man. A beautifully rendered and emotionally moving action/adventure for kids of all ages. Typical of Miyazaki's work, some decidedly heavy adult themes and brutal realism are woven into the production, which make it pretty harsh and intense at times, but it's never inappropriate and the lack of a sugar coating helps to convey the point. Great stuff.