Nausicaa of the Valley of the wind takes place a thousand years after a global war, a seaside kingdom known as the Valley Of The Wind remains one of only a few areas still populated. Led by the Princess Nausicaa, the people of the Valley are engaged in a constant struggle with powerful insects, who guard a toxic jungle that is spreading across the Earth. Nausicaa, together with the people of the Valley, strive to restore the bond between humanity and the Earth. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is written and directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki.
While some of the animation is dated, Nausicaa was the first to present the director’s sense of visual beauty in all its vast splendor. To me, this is the holy grail of Miyazaki films. Looking back over the twenty-plus-years history of Ghibli, one can now see that Nausicaa is the prototype for many other Miyazaki efforts.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, Nausicaa is an ambitious movie. The artistry of the animation is often breathtaking and extremely detailed, and you have to pay close attention to the story to figure out which characters are allies and for what reasons. The story itself has plenty to sell itself with as its laid out slowly and with just the right bit of teases along the way to expand on it, but it’s also the visuals and the characters that do an amazing job here. The film really stands the test of time for its animation in that while it can’t do some of the tricks that can be done today with digital animation, the simple fact that this is all hand drawn animation and they do pull off what they do makes it all the more spectacular.
A few years back they released a two disc set on DVD that offered an uncut English Language version that features the voices of Patrick Stewart, Shia LaBeouf, and Uma Thurman. Disney’s two-disc DVD set brilliantly re-packages Miyazaki’s works for US audiences. It comes with both the English-language version and the original Japanese, as well as working storyboards, trailers, a featurette about recording the English voices and a featurette about the birth of Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. Just a fantastic offering and a great DVD that hits on all cylinders. Strong Recommendation.
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