Laputa: Castle in the Sky

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Year Released: 1986
Rating: 3.0

First hour is some of the weakest Miyazaki I've ever seen - umpteen contrivances, weak characters - but then come the second hour, the magic kicks in and it is anime bliss. Little kids are once more the heroes, fighting against corrupt adults and their quest for power; you can tell through his movies' messages that Miyazaki is something of a man-child himself, identifying with the world of wonder and fantasy - he revels in the minute, cute details, like little yellow creatures scurrying around a giant robot's head, and is known, in real life, to draw portraits of himself as a pig. I prefer free-flowing Miyazaki to straightforward Miyazaki, although I'd watch any of them over and over on a moment's notice.