Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Imagine The Lorax as a concept album by Yes - and you get something of the flavor of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (or Kaze no tani no Naushika). It is one of Hayao Miyazaki's earlier films, an environmentalist tract that, in some ways, prefigures his 1997 Princess Mononke. Nausicaä is a princess forced to fight to defend her people in a future world devastated by years of industrial pollution. Pockets of the planet's population survive but all are threatened by a toxic forest teeming with monster insects. Until the rather abrupt ending, Nausicaä has a much more straightforward narrative arc than other Miyazaki movies like Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle. Oh, and my kids really liked it too.

1 comment:

John said...

This is a magnificent film, and incredibly influential in the fantasy/sci-fi realm. Miyazaki's attention to the tiny details of human motion and the sublime quality of his nature depictions are on full display here. Other Miyazaki trends can also be seen: strong female character? Check. Environmental theme? Check.

There were times when I wish the Yes soundtrack could have been dumped and replaced with Air (circa Moon Safari) instead, but the score actually gives the film a funky retro feel.

This is a 5 star, must-see film for any fan of animation and/or fantasy. Among Miyazaki's oevre, it is surpassed only by Princess Mononoke.