Today must be the day of new movie trailers. First was the teaser trailer for the new Peanuts movie (which I blogged about earlier). Now there is the International Trailer for the new Godzilla movie. Super excited for it to come out soon. Here’s the trailer:
So I stumbled across this news. Apparently there is going to be a new Peanuts movie. Yes indeed, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and the gang will be back on the big screen in 2015. It will be the first new Peanuts movie since 1980’s Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back!!). I remember when I was in grade school I watched a Peanuts film in theater but it was a re-release of Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown so this will be the first time seeing a new Peanuts movie. Today a teaser trailer was released. Check it out:
For this week’s “Miyazaki Monday”, I want to look at the first feature film that was produced and released by the production company he co-founded (Studio Ghibli). That film is the 1986 classic Castle in the Sky.
Castle in the Sky is the story of a young girl trying to protect a secret power from falling into the wrong hands and a young boy who is trying to prove the reality of a forgotten flying city and how their lives become connected. Sheeta is a young girl who’s heritage is connected to the last flying city Laputa. She is in fact royalty and she possesses a very special crystal which is what would keep the flying cities aloft.
She is chased by air pirates who want money (of course) and by the government led by a secret agent named Muska. Muska also has his own reasons for wanting Sheeta and her connections to Laputa. While feeling from the pirates and Muska, Sheeta runs into Pazu, a young boy who works in the mines. His father believed the flying city of Laputa existed but no one believed him. Pazu wants to prove his father right and visit the city himself. When he runs into Sheeta, he finds out her connection and stays by her side to protect her.
The film, like it’s predecessor Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, was a hit in Japan. It did receive an English dubbing in the late 1980s that was received a little better than the first English version that Nausicaa (but given what happened with that, anything would’ve been an improvement). However, it was not released in the U.S. as it wasn’t seen as being good enough. Disney did produce a dubbed version in the late 90s but didn’t release it until 2005 after the success of Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. The English cast included James Van Der Beek, Anna Paquin, Mark Hamill, Cloris Leachman, Jim Cummings and Mandy Patinkin.
With Castle in the Sky, Miyazaki was beginning to build a track record of amazing films. For his first film at Studio Ghibli, he hit a home run and would only continue to get better. To close, here’s the intro from 2006 on Turner Classic Movies that featured John Lasseter hosting a month long celebration of Miyazaki films which included Castle in the Sky.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49
Something I heard once that has stuck with me and I say a lot now is that “A disciple is one that hears from the Lord and does what he says.” Jesus is speaking here about that. He gives a parable about one who builds his house upon the rock. He is the one who hears from God and does what He says. The one who hears and doesn’t do is the man who’s house is not built upon a strong foundation. The words that God speaks is that foundation to live our lives on. And a great way He speaks to us is through His Word, the Bible. As we read and meditate on His Word, we learn and grow and can then share what we learn with others.
This week, continue to build on the foundation of the rock. Read the Bible, pray and share what God is teaching you with others.
For this week’s Thursday Quote Day, here’s a quote from one of my favorite poets of all time, Robert Frost:
“The best way out is always through.” (Robert Frost)
I’m a huge fan of Star Wars and I like Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy”. Somebody put the two together in a video. It is awesome and you should check it out.
I have several “theme days” on this blog (Sunday Devotional, Thursday Quote Day). For the next several Mondays, there will be “Miyazaki Mondays”. Each Monday, I will highlight a film written, produced and/or directed by famed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. I have been a fan of his work for a long time and have written articles as a contributor over at JustUsGeeks.com on his work. But I thought it’d be cool to share on here some of my thoughts on his work.
For this week’s “Miyazaki Monday”, I want to look at his first feature film as a director on his own. That film is the 1984 classic Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is about a young princess named Nausicaa who must lead the fight to save humanity while also trying to protect the world as well. It is a post-apocalyptic world that has left much of the world toxic to humans except for pockets of settlements. One of these places is the Valley of the Wind. Nausicaa lives there but also travels throughout the toxic areas to try and figure out how to heal the land. She is the one that is foretold in prophesy that would help bring harmony between the people and the land. However, she must face off against giant toxic insects as well as humans whose fighting led to such dire straights.
It was a huge success when it was released in Japan. To this day, it is still considered one of the greatest anime (Japanese animation) films of all time. The story of its subsequent releases in the States is a story in its own right. A variation of the film appeared in 1985 under the title Warriors of the Wind. That version was nothing like the original as there were over 21 minutes cut from the film. This would lead Miyazaki to have a strict policy of no cuts for future international releases.
With the success of later Miyazaki films, a new version of Nausicaa was released in the U.S. with a new English dubbing in 2005. The cast included Alison Lohman, Uma Thurman, Patrick Stewart, Mark Hamill and Shia LaBeouf. I watched this film for the first time around 2006 (thanks to Blockbuster by Mail DVD service). I liked it a lot. It reminded me of other 1980s anime with a mix of the movie Dune in the lens of other Miyazaki films. Then again, since this was the first true Miyazaki film , I guess it’s better to say it was the precedent for what was to come.
If you’re not familiar with Miyazaki’s work, this is a good film to start.
To close, I want to share this video with you. It was from 2006 when Turner Classic Movies (TCM) was featuring a month of Miyazaki films and it was cohosted by John Lasseter (head of Pixar and Disney Animation) who is a friend of Miyazaki. I hope that TCM or some other network does another one of these series again to include some of his newer movies. Here is the one for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: