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Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Blu-ray Review

Nausicaa

You can’t go wrong with Hayao Miyazaki.

Writer/director Hayao Miyazaki’s “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” is a post-apocalyptic story in which factions of humans live in habitable locations while being surrounded by the Toxic Jungle (a poisonous area that is expanding more and more) and its giant bug inhabitants. The story revolves around Princess Nausicaä who is a curious, heroic, kind, nature loving young woman. The Princess finds herself caught between warring factions, the threat of a Giant Warrior responsible for Earth’s destruction being reborn, hulking bugs known as the Ohms, and clues of nature’s salvation. Can peace be obtained? Can the Princess find a way for nature and mankind to survive together?

Upon rewatching “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” I found myself rather amazed that this was an early Miyazaki film from 1984. It certainly doesn’t feel like it. It feels like the work of an old pro. It’s ambitious, epic on scope, beautifully animated, and well scripted. There’s so much going on in this animated film as it digs into themes about pollution, war, nature, violence, and destiny. On top of that, you have an inspiring story about a strong woman who is trying to make a real difference in the world with her humility.

Script aside, one of the most appealing things about the film (to me at least) is the setting. I love the post-apocalyptic universe Miyazaki created here. The giant bugs, massive spores, flying machines, the airships and sprawling environments are breathtaking and incredibly detailed. Once again, Studio Ghibli really goes all out in creating a new universe.

As involving as “Nausicaä” does have its faults. Firstly, the story is almost too big for a single film. It feels like it could have been 2 or even 3 films. This is most apparent in the abrupt and rushed ending that feels a bit lacking. It would have been nice to see Miyazaki spend a little more time on characterization and character motivations as well. I haven’t read it myself, but perhaps the manga series fixes these issues?

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? An absolutely pristine print. You can’t ask for a better transfer.

Audio Tracks: Japanese and English 2.0 DTS-HD MA Tracks. How do they sound? The quality English track features a strong voice cast that includes Patrick Stewart and Uma Thurman. The Japanese track is equally impressive here. You can’t go wrong with either track.

Extras include a DVD copy, a booklet with photos, an essay by Toshio Suzuki and statements by Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, storyboards for the entire film, a “Behind The Microphone” featurette which contains interviews with the English voice cast, a “Creating Nausicaa” extra about the film, 43 minutes of audio interviews with Toshio Suzuki and Hideaki Anno, commentary track by Hideaki Anno and Kazuyoshi Katayama, a TV spot, 3 theatrical trailers, and a promo for “Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind.”

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October 16, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Just want to say, the film covers approximately a quarter of the story that’s in the manga. I can’t recommend reading it enough.

    Comment by Todd Simmons | October 17, 2017 | Reply


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