The first film from the unrivalled Studio Ghibli is Hayao Miyazaki at his finest, with a stirring adventure told with care and invention making a welcome appearance on Blu-ray.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is highly influential as an adventure film and as an animation marked a new wave of rich and exciting visual storytelling and cannot be recommended enough.

We begin as a tale is told of the last of the ancient mythical flying cities, the legendary Laputa – an airborne fortress never seen and long passed into myth. Then an airship is attacked by pirates and a young girl falls from the doomed ship, plummets towards Earth to be rescued by Pazu, whose father claimed to have seen the lost city of Laputa once. Their paths cross, the lost city of Laputa is key to their fate and together they flee the corrupt military commanders and their adventure begins.

What is evident on repeat viewings (and there will be many) is the sheer variety of imagination here. I can remember watching Laputa for the first time and marvelling that I never knew where it was going, or what amazing sights I would see next. From narrow winding streets in bustling cities to storm tossed airships, soldiers tearing on trains, pirates in the sky and robots in the distance – it’s a visual and emotional feast that engages without pause.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is an essential purchase and on this new Blu-ray Miyazaki’s world has never looked better. It is less charming than Totoro and not as emotionally rich as its successor Grave of the Fireflies, but it is full of adventure and excitement and is just the film to show up the languid, feckless CGI animated films flooding the cinemas.

The Blu-ray looks stunning, with the vibrant colours and clarity remarkable for a film twenty-five years old. The special features (listed below) are extensive and wrap up the usual trailers and featurettes with some very nice touches such as the Storyboards and the Opening and Closing visuals without the title graphics. There’s love here for their first film and if you’re unsure about dipping your toes in the Ghibli pool this is the perfect first step, and will convince you to dive, and dive deep.

Special Features:
•    Storyboards
•    Promotional Video
•    Behind the Microphone
•    Behind the Studio
•    The World of Laputa
•    Creating Castle in the Sky
•    Character Sketches
•    Producer’s Perspective: Meeting Miyazaki
•    Textless Opening and Ending Credits
•    TV Spots
•    Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers
•    Studio Ghibli Collection Trailers

Film: [Rating:4.5/5]

Disc: [Rating:4/5]

Laputa: Castle of the Sky is out on Blu-ray and DVD Double Pack on the 9th of May.