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Tuesday

"Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" movie review

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is one of the movies we considered worth buying on DVD. Being a film by Hayao Miyazaki, of Studio Ghibli fame, it has good credentials. Turns out, he wrote the manga series upon which this movie is based, but wikipedia can tell you all about that.

Having not read the manga, I can only talk about the movie, and only about the American version. One of this version's charms is having Patrick Stewart doing the voice of master swordsman Lord Yupa. ("That's Lord Yupa," one bad-guy tells his henchmen. "Kill him and you'll be famous forever." "Yay!" the cry, running forward into battle, and that's the end of them. No, this is not actually a spoiler.) One of the other good things about this movie is that, despite the violence, it's reasonable family viewing. It has a PG (Parental Guidance Rcommended for persons under 15 years).

Actually, despite the violence it's quite a gentle story. Nausicaa is a princess in the Valley of the Winds. The winds always blow and provide the people of the valley with the energy to survive in their world, the far future Earth. In their distant past Earth's environment was all but destroyed by the wars of man. Now all that's left is a toxic jungle and huge insects that threaten the remaining human settlements if they come too close.

Nausicaa seems to have a strange ability to communicate with living things, even insects. Her people love her. In some ways she's too good to be true. Then again, if she had to stop and struggle with every little encounter that came her way the film would get very, very long. So she's wonderful, she's good at flying her glider and she's a fairly good swordsman, and even the insects are not immune to her charm. She risks her life to do what she thinks is right, putting herself directly in the line of fire in a way that makes her attackers consider whether they really want to do this. When she wants to stop an insect from hurling itself into an acid sea, she physically blocks it and doesn't stop even when she herself is pushed into the acid.

There's war, prophecy, romance, adventure. Personally, I found the music a bit irritating at times, and there are some questions, like how did Nausicaa create her secret garden, digging it out without anyone noticing, but perhaps that's explained in the manga books.  So if you are looking for anime that the family can watch without feeling like their brains are being pulped in a  processor, this one, like so many Studio Ghibli films, that I can recommend.

Cheers