The action sequences are as suspenseful as any in the director's career; the most impressive scenes, though, may be the slower ones, which consider how humanity might evolve after driving itself to near extinction.
A beautiful film. Rich, compelling, well-written, and emotionally powerful, yet also funny and lighthearted at just the right times. The animation is incredible, the soundtrack is great, the characters are fantastic, it has great themes and executes them beautifully... and there's a sense of magic and beauty that permeates throughout the whole thing. A masterpiece.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind breathes life into its animation and characters. A cleverly crafted world that deals with serious and heartbreaking issues in a surprisingly epic, thematic, and unabashed way. Miyazaki's environmental masterpiece showcases the power, brilliance, and affection of its protagonist.
This movie is nearly flawless and enchanting. I was compelled to rate it when I saw some dumbass say the feminism made him hate it and give it a bad review. Incels are gonna ruin everything with a female heroine when it comes to reviews. It really is a 10/10 so you should watch this. I’m upset I didn’t watch it years ago.
After his much acclaimed directorial debut The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979, Hayao Miyazaki, who would go on to co-found the widely loved Studio Ghibli, began working on the manga for a project that in 1984 would be adapted into an animated feature entitled Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The story would be set in a dystopian future, in which a toxic jungle slowly envelopes all that remains of our world, and yet still mankind’s innate lust for power nullifies any hope of survival. Here it’s pretty difficult to miss the message Miyazaki is trying to convey. Throughout the film we are constantly reminded that nature ought to be preserved rather than destroyed. As we later discover, the entire existence of the toxic jungle is but a result of pollution, further emphasising the need for us to end the rapid decline of our planet’s environment. Maybe now it’s easier to dismiss Miyazaki’s ideas as platitudinous, but it’s important to remember that this film came out in 1984. Miyazaki was over thirty years ahead of his time, as the themes he displays are only more relevant in our day and age with the ominous threat of global warming becoming increasingly prominent. Miyazaki’s main vessel for bringing these ideas to light is none other than the protagonist herself, Nausicaä. Miyazaki, ever the feminist, has always been brilliant at writing strong female characters in his films, regardless of the significance of their role. San in Princess Mononoke is a great example, Chihiro in Spirited Away is another, but ultimately Nausicaä is perhaps my favourite protagonist of any Ghibli film. She perfectly captures the idealistic naivety and childlike innocence that is so common amongst Miyazaki’s main characters, however she’s also extremely competent, and never at any point feels like a burden or relies too much on support from her peers. This blend works wonders for Nausicaä’s effect on the audience. Her naivety and innocent nature makes it difficult not to sympathise with her as a character, and as a result when she feels any kind of strong emotion, said emotion is shared effortlessly with the viewer. Furthermore, at several points she even acts as the voice of Miyazaki himself. When she sees death, destruction and the disregard for nature, she is deeply troubled, and thus the audience feels the same way. On top of that, her determination and resilience are a nice change of pace from the annoying stereotypes that have been associated with female leads in the past, and ultimately make her less of a two dimensional character. Of course Nausicaä isn’t the only great character in the movie. Lord Yupa is one likeable and badass individual, Asbel is a lovable rogue, Kurotawa is a wretched and contemptible weasel and so on. There is a great variety of of characters, all of whom are welcomed additions to the cast, and none of which feel at all bland or particularly unmemorable. One of my favourite aspects of the genre is undoubtedly the endless opportunity for world building. I’m in love with the different aesthetics artists are able to create through colour, designs, music and much more. It should go without saying at this point that Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, like all fictional worlds conceived by Miyazaki, is an absolute wonder and a joy to behold. The awe-inspiring landscapes, the intriguing wildlife, and the beautiful score by Joe Hisaishi all attribute to the alluring atmosphere that I just can’t get enough of. Hell, the world building was so great that it seems to have inspired half of the fantasy/sci-fi movies that have come afterwards. The wild terrain of Pandora and connecting of consciousnesses in Avatar borrows heavily from the Toxic Jungle and the Ohms. The sequence of Gandalf’s arrival in the Shire bears striking resemblance to Lord Yupa’s return to the valley. The force awakens even took several scenes shot for shot, and copy&pasted the characters of Nausicaä, Asbel and Kushana into Rey, Finn and Phasma (Nice one JJ). Miyazaki even reused many of his gimmicks and ideas for his future films - compare the blast from the giant monster’s mouth to the weapon used by the robots of Castle in the sky, or the surreal lightning effects from both movies.
It is undeniable how strong an influence some of Miyazaki’s work has had on modern cinema, but then why oh why does he receive so little credit? I suppose that is a question for another time. To conclude, Nausicaä of the Valley of the wind is a phenomenal film, and due to its strong cast of characters, relevant themes, incredible world building and unquestionable influence, it is both my second favourite Miyazaki movie, and one of my favourite films in general. It might not necessarily be for everyone, but I strongly recommend you check it out regardless.