Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)


The picture is not mine. Click here for the original source.

--Directed by Miyazaki Hayao
-- Screenplay by Miyazaki Hayao
-- Starring: Sumi Shimamoto, Goro Naya, Yoji Matsuda
-- Music by: Hisaishi Joe
-- Duration: 116 min.
-- Tomatometer: 80%
-- IMDB Rating: 8.1 /10
-- Chocometer: 8.7 chocolates
-- Language: Japanese

Title: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ Kaze no Tani no Naushika) (1984)

Picture is not mine. Click here for the original source
It is a post-apocalyptic movie set a thousand years after the Seven Days of Fire. The world is left with a toxic jungle where gigantic (and poisonous) insects called Ohmus roam the land. There are several kingdoms existing and one of the them is the Valley of the Wind where Nausicaa lives. She is a princess who usually ventures on the toxic jungle to communicate with the Ohmus. She is described as humble and peace-loving. Their kingdom is one of the few ones who still enjoy the benefits of fresh air free from the lethal poisons of the toxic jungle. 

The peace of their land was soon disrupted and when a huge airship manned by Tolmekians crashes nearby. It is discovered that the ship was carrying an embryo of a giant soldier used in the war before as well as the captive Princess of Pejite. The Tolmekians are a powerful race who are planning to launch a war and conquer other kingdoms to make use of their resources. They just finished destroying Pejites, thus the captive princess. 

A war between Nausicaa's people and the Tolmekians  was launched as the latter try to revive the embryo of the giant soldier to gain more power. Nausicaa, with the help of other Pejites, then struggles to fight for her kingdom and stop the Tolmekians from destroying it and the rest of the world. She tries to protect the Ohmus in the process. 

For a better summary, click here

The Verdict: 

I had high expectations about the movie hearing almost positive reviews about it from my Japanese students. It's supposed to be one of the most celebrated animations  in Japan. It was a good movie, probably not the best that I have ever seen, but surely a quality one. Did it satisfy my expectations? 85% perhaps but not entirely. The ending was quite hanging. It gives you a motherhood finality, a  feel good moment; this film, like most of its contemporaries, gives the viewer a resolution of the problem. 

Photo is not mine. Click here for the original source.
It plays on the idea that kindness, peace and love will always solve everything. Quite idealistic, to tell you frankly, seeing as in the real world, it is not the case. You cannot just face the Taliban, say for example, or the Al Qaeda with peace and love cause it will surely get you killed. :)) jokes on that. 

The brilliance of the movie, I think, is the magic that Miyazaki has produced in creating a real functioning world that makes the viewer believe that it indeed exists. It's like watching something straight out of a mirror, further proving the fact of Miyazaki's genius. He is indeed the J.K. Rowling of the movie industry. 

T'was was like watching the struggles of a real Princess exist: how she tries to maintain the virginity of her kingdom and the safety of her subjects. You are with her when she tries to ward off the evil Tolmekians from the valley of the wind and you weep with her when her father was slaughtered mercilessly (oops, sorry for the spoiler) on his sick bed. You fear for her life when she faces the gigantic Ohmus and you also hold your breath as she tries to fly with her air glider across the toxic jungle. 

Compared to the cartoon movies during that time, the movie is indeed a masterpiece with the technology they used and the imagery made. It never goes out of style. Kudos to Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli for that.It gives you the familiar (or not-so-familiar) taste of country living just by looking at the picturesque scenes. It has a slight commentary about how the people on Earth are treating the planet. Kind of an explicit attack telling the viewers that if you don't stop your harmful ways now, you will end up this way. Effective though the message conveyance is, it is too simplistic, to say the least, coz many people have tried that already but we all know that it is a losing cause; already passe

It did not explain though why the head of the Tolemekians waited for the princess at the end, the relevance of the giant warriors and why they were all destroyed at the end of the movie. It did not explain either the relevance of the travelling swordsman. The ending as I said was kind of abrupt; it takes you by surprise by leaving you hanging and confused because of unanswered questions. 

A must see movie?

Picture not mine.
Click here for the original source. 
If you are a child at heart, then yes you should. If you want to feel happy or the type of person who just wants yourself to watch films for entertainment value, then this is  the movie for you. It does not leave you thinking about  the purpose of the film; it sort of presents to you the beginning, the climax and the end in a very linear way.

It is treading on predictable because you know that no matter what happens, in the end, it will end up in a good way, just like any other fairy tale. 

If you ask me though, I'd still prefer Spirited Away any day. :)

--Good to watch on a rainy day or with your kids/friends. 
--The soundtrack is good, you should listen to it. 
--Watch the Japanese version (with the English subtitles)

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