Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
- 1h 57m
Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.
In this early full length film he really got to spread his wings. There are fantastic aerial sequences like the jet-glider evading the flying snakes, which (this predates computed 3D, and aerial sequences are present in most of his work) are just a tour-de-force of imagination and geometry. And yet this is a world that feels very organic, not geometric, with a cast of characters drawn in a unique cross between hobo, samurai, and pirate - totally blending in to an imaginary post apocalyptic world where humans scratch out a precarious life in villages hidden in the few green valleys left in a world of desert, where the only remaining resources are wind, sunlight, and humans.
But it is also a world of enormous dangers, including airborne bandits and the strange, mutated creatures that have evolved to control the barren and scarred earth. When our heroine's valley home is attacked by raiders, she embarks on an adventure against them that will lead her, and some unlikely allies found along the way, to an eventual confrontation combining warring armies of bandits, ancient machines of infernal destruction, and the implacable, mysterious, threatening beasts which roam the badlands. The pace is swashbuckling - if this were a book, it would be one you could not stop reading.
It has the feel of the original comic books, but plays out wonderfully on the screen - you don't need to know the comics. The style is very unique. Even though it is very stylized (no photorealism here), you immediately get the feeling of the world and the characters. The story works for children of all ages (mine both first saw this before they were 6, and have memorized it long since), and combined with the wonderful visuals it is a treat for adults too. As a genre I would classify it as soft (no attempt at scientific correctness) sci-fi rather than fantasy, though some might think it more a work of fantasy. It is fascinating partly because its roots in style and action are unexpected for a western viewer. Japanese manga and stories had evolved in their own way, and although this is early Miyazake, it is already a product of that mature and distinct art form.
As always with Miyazake - if you haven't seen his work, well you haven't seen anything like it, and it is time you did.
- Apr 15, 2003