I was one of those kids who found a single movie and stuck with it, watching it whenever possible. For me, that movie was Studio Ghibli’s 1986 classic Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
Aided by Hayao Miyazaki’s unique art style and directing, which is touched upon in a previous article by Janet Cowden, the film inspired a sense of magic and determination in me, as well as a never-ending desire to be a nefarious, sky-sailing pirate with bushy pink hair.
I wanted to see more of Ghibli’s movies. But as I was born in 1996, my only exposure to Studio Ghibli’s films were through VHS or DVD, and many of them were released between 1980 and the mid-2000s. It never even crossed my mind that I might get to watch them in a theatre.
Enter Studio Ghibli Fest 2017.
Hosted by the film distribution company GKIDS and Fathom Events, Studio Ghibli Fest 2017 is a six-month event during which one of Studio Ghibli’s six most famous films is shown in select theaters for the course of two-three days per month.
I had the opportunity to see Castle in the Sky at Tinseltown in OKC, surrounded by perhaps three dozen other people who were just as excited as I was. The feature was preceded by three shorts, courtesy of GKIDS, all of which were very entertaining and only added to the anticipation radiating throughout the theater.
Once it began, it was like the movie had taken on a whole new life, as the theater provides a very different experience than a fuzzy VCR. It had been remastered to better suit the silver screen, the music surrounded us from all sides, and I’m fairly certain many scenes were included that I’d never seen (or perhaps just never noticed) before.
GKIDS and Fathom Events put together a marvelous experience during which I was able to see one of my favorite movies like I’d never seen it before. And there’s more to come! The series is now half over. That leaves Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle to run the last weeks of September, October, and November. Each film can be seen in either the original Japanese with English subtitles or the English dub, though the date and time of showings will vary based upon which is chosen.
For those who are interested, tickets for one of the three remaining movies can be bought either through Fathom Events ahead of time or in person at one of the select theaters participating in Ghibli Fest. Tickets are not the cheapest, running about $15 each when you factor in tax and convenience fees, but if you have the time and money, I believe that the opportunity to see one of these classic movies in theaters shouldn’t be passed up. Personally, I don’t plan on missing many more.
See you at the movies!