Cels - Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Here is an especially nice production cell from Studio Ghibli's first feature, 1986's Laputa: Castle in the Sky. This is one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie, Pazu's morning ritual of feeding his birds. It's such an unexpected moment, especially in an action-adventure film. We almost never get to see these type of characters in a normal-day situation, where they live out ordinary routines.
I'm thinking of those scenes where Indiana Jones is just a college professor, slightly bumbling about the campus. It's a great way to humanize the action hero, and identify with him as a person. Otherwise, you're left with endless action setpieces, and your hero is reduced to the level of a machine. And then he decides to run for governor, and...well, you can see how that turns out.
Being able to see the sharp, clear colors and paints on these animation cells, I'm reminded just how compromised picture quality on DVD truly is. Animation especially suffers; instead of solid colors, you see a grainy, dusty pattern on everything. Then you look at animation films on Blu-Ray and are astonished. The difference is breathtaking.
I can't wait to see the Studio Ghibli films in high-definition. Here's hoping 2010 is the year it happens, and they release everything at once. I say flood the gates.