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Steamfolk Æsthetic
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Last night I watched Castle in the Sky with darthmaus. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and she reports that she did as well despite nodding off for about twenty minutes in the middle. Granted, it's a long movie and the delicious wine made us both sleepy.

Castle reminded me strongly of Nausicaä, an other Studio Gibli movie (although I've only seen the US release, Warriors of the Wind, which is edited so much that the plot is different). It's a beautiful and fascinating world of steam engines and air ships, in a archtypically-japanese world that was once technologically advanced but has regressed due to some forgotten calamity. I suspect that they're set in related settings, maybe shifted in time, because they shared so many elements. Even the little fox-creature companion that features in Nausicaä made a brief appearance in Castle.

Most everyone who enjoyed the most recent Miyazaki movie, Spirited Away, will enjoy Castle in the Sky. Particularly for North American audiences, it's easier to follow due to having the familiar three-act structure. It also lacks the culture-specific mythology that is centre-stage in Spirited Away, making it just a bit easier to grasp the nuances of the plot. Anyone who enjoys that kind of pastoral steamfolk æsthetic should also check it out.

For celebrity-spotters, two voice-actors will stand out: Mandy Patinkin (more famous for his role as Inigo Montoya) speaks one of the pirate-brothers' parts, and Mark Hamill does a great Pretentious Bastard. We looked him up on IMDB after the movie and were surprised at just how much voice-acting work Mark Hamill has done. The joke is that after his final line in Return of the Jedi he never spoke an other movie line. In fact, he's had a huge number of roles, many of them in English versions of Miyazaki movies.

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Mandy Patinkin (more famous for his role as Inigo Montoya)

And Che in the Broadway production of Evita!

...or was it London?

everything I know about South American history I learned from Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals

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