Collecting props is a terrific way to remind us of the worlds and stories we have loved and lived from movies and other media. And while it’s great to put up a movie artifact for display, it’s even better if the object functions more than just an ornament that would take up space on a tabletop.
I watched Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky the other weekend and was particularly interested in the giant robots in the movie. In the story, the robots were created by an ancient race with advanced technology, the Laputians.
At first–the robot’s design seems simple and straightforward–even boring. Then the design makes a lot of sense later. The decorative-looking spikes on the arms turn out to be struts where membrane-like wings unfurl to give the robot the ability to fly. The segmented limbs turns out to be a modular feature that allows the robot to fold its limbs onto its torso, making it easy to deploy when dropped like a bomb from the air! The Laputian robot has no conscience. It only has functions that it will perform until it breaks down, whether its protecting the Laputian royalty, tending to the garden and the animals there, or following orders as an instrument of war.
As fearsome as they could be, the automata in Castle In The Sky seem to be able to convey a sense of humanity that their makers once had. They’re also remind us of the concept of duty; there’s irony at how the same machines built to tear apart giant warships and extinguish lives in minutes can also be commanded to protect birds nests or pick flowers.
I looked up collectibles related to the Castle In The Sky robots and found a terrific example of how a prop can turn into a functional, everyday object–like in this plant pot shaped like a Laputian robot head, for example:
I found this product not only beautiful and detail-accurate, but well thought up. You see, in Castle In The Sky, some robots inactive for hundreds of years have fallen apart in the garden, with most of its parts taken over by moss and wild growth.
The plant pot translates the movie artifact quite beautifully in both function and meaning. Apart from being able to copy movie props into collectible replicas, I would like to be able to integrate sensible functionality into the design, in the same spirit the Laputians designed their brilliant machines.
What movie items would you want made into everyday objects?