Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
Review by Suzanne Houghton
A post-Holocaust ecofantasy featuring a young princess, Nausicaa, as a keeper of one of the last holdouts of humanity. Despite the rather sobering setting, this is mostly a very positive film, with a powerful message about what we are doing to our world. A few oaths in stressful moments, some minor violence and a scary looking biological weapon called a God Soldier that may frighten very young or sensitive children.
Review by Charles Peklenk
This movie is available on laserdisc from Japan and in fan-subtitled versions worldwide.
Nausicaa is a princess from the Valley of Wind who seeks to understand the mysteries of the poisonous forests that encroach on civilization in this epic work set in the future. Warriors from another territory have a solution to the problem of the expanding forest and its population of giant insects, and the Valley of Wind is unwillingly dragged into their plans. Though forced to leave the valley, Nausicaa hopes to thwart their military solution, but matters escalate until only the most desperate actions can save the valley from total destruction.
Nausicaa is considered by many to be among the best animated films ever made. It features realistic characterization and reflects some the unfairness of life and war without wallowing in the bitterness and hatred. There is lots of action, but never at the expense of the story. While Disney leans on murder and dark characters that revel in their own evil to engage its viewers, Miyazaki understands that people generally act from what they see as good motives. Such is the case in this movie. Likewise, while good characters are just good in other feature films, Nausicaa acts as a real person and must deal with her limitations and the meaning and value of her life in this movie. There is a respectable environmental message that does not crowd out the story, as well as a common Japanese theme--the warning against using ultimate weapons.
A note to parents: Not recommended for small or easily frightened children. Several scary scenes of war and some of violent hand-to-hand combat, but no bloody carnage, except for some animal cruelty. A few mild 4-letter words appear in subtitled translations.
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