on June 14, 2005
Wow! I've finally got to see the uncut version of Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, the very first masterpiece by the great Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli! Sore wa Sugoi Desu Yo! (Japanese: It's so awesome and amazing!)
Everything is so awesome; the soundtrack, the voicework, the story, the action scenes, the art work, and every thing else is so perfect, and well done too. Everything has been refined to the state-of-the-art level, which is what Studio Ghibli has been famous for. What's more, the message for peace, perseverance and prosperity, along with harmony and enviornmental protection and balance, have really touched deeply in my heart right from the start.
Overall, I'd like to say "Doomo Arigato Gozaimasu" to the great Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli for their great masterpiece, and shall give them 5 out of 5 stars for outstanding performance!
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Animation, Action, Adventure)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman and Shia LaBeouf
Disney / Buena Vista | 1984 | 118 min | Rated PG | Released Mar 08, 2011
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English, English SDH, French
50GB Blu-ray Disc
The Film 5/5
When it comes to animation, my favorite director by far is Hayao Miyazaki. If you have read my Top 20 animated list, you'll see how often his name appears. Studio Ghibli has been responsible for many good films, but Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was actually released in 1984, just before the studio was founded. It remains Miyazaki's most ambitious work because of its epic scope.
Nausicaä is set approximately a thousand years in the future when pollution levels have threatened to destroy life on the planet. The land is dominated by the Toxic Jungle which is filled with poisonous plants. The jungle is protected by giant insects and other creatures.
We meet Nausicaä (Lohman) early in the film when she discovers a discarded ohm shell. Ohms are giant creatures which seems wiser than any humans they may encounter. Nausicaä recovers one of the parts of the shell and takes it home. Ohms are not always calm and their eyes grow red with rage when they are angry. Nausicaä helps save Lord Yupa (Stewart), a master swordsman, from an enraged ohm.
Yupa knows Nausicaä well and has a present for her; a small fox squirrel which she names Teto. Her first encounter with the creature shows us her true nature. She says that there is nothing to fear, but the fox-squirrel bites her. She makes no move, but simply repeats that there is nothing to fear. It stops biting and licks the wound. It's such a touching scene and gives a hint at how Nausicaä interacts with strangers later in the story. She's an easy character to love.
Nausicaä's life is peaceful. She lives in the Valley of the Winds where everyone works together in harmony farming the land. Although her father is the king, princess Nausicaä doesn't put herself above other people. She lends a hand repairing machinery or whatever else is needed. Her people love her; especially the children. For any parent thinking of showing the film to their children, Nausicaä is a good role model.
The film has quite a few battle sequences, but they are brief and involve misguided people who think their causes are just. I think Miyazaki is showing us what could happen if we continue to pollute and exploit the planet without giving any thought to the future. It's a common theme in his stories and is more prominent here than in later films.
Unlike any other animated film I have seen, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind shows us a vast world. We explore some of it and see Nausicaä discover secrets about the world and the creatures inhabiting it. She has a way with animals and insects and seeks solutions that avoid killing any kind of creature. She seems to empathize and realize how to stop seemingly wild creatures from attacking. People around her are frequently amazed by her actions.
The film shows the futility of war and the power people have to change their lives by thinking about their course of action. So much happens in the two hour running time that the film seems to move at a breakneck pace. There is always something happening, whether it's action or a discovery of some kind.
Joe Hisaishi is again responsible for the music, and it's one of the best scores he has ever produced. There's a particular scene with a piece of music using children's voices which has me in tears every time. I'm not sure why, but the music is powerful and fits the scenes perfectly.
I know I haven't revealed much of the story. That's because I want you to discover the secrets for yourself. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind reminds me of scenes in Avatar and Star Wars, but the story is arguably more powerful than both. If you have seen other titles from Hayao Miyazaki, be aware that this contains more adult themes than most. That said, it can and should be enjoyed by the whole family.
Video Quality 4.5/5
If you have seen any of Miyazaki's films, you'll know that his animation style looks nothing like modern studios such as Pixar or Dreamworks. He's an artist in the true sense of the word and the frames of the films look like watercolor paintings. It's been 27 years since the film was released, so the animation style looks a little dated. Some of the supporting characters in crowds won't move, but the overall effect is still wonderful. Disney has delivered another great transfer. Colors improve dramatically over the DVD version. Some scenes look slightly soft, but that's partly due to the animation style. This doesn't look like Up, Ratatouille or Rango, but detail is strong and any Miyazaki fan will be delighted with the result.
Audio Quality 4/5
The film comes with three audio mixes. Disney failed to provide a lossless Japanese option for Ponyo, but purists will be happy to see the Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track included this time. Other versions include English and French: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Although a 5.1 mix would have been welcome, I'm not disappointed by the options on offer. Dialogue is clear throughout, while battle scenes pack a considerable punch. Ambient sounds such as wind in the valley come across well, as does Joe Hisaishi's score.
Special Features 3/5
The additional features are split between the BD and the DVD.
As with other Miyazaki films, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind includes the option to view the entire film with the original Japanese storyboards. It's interesting to see how Miyazaki's original sketches developed.
Enter the Lands of Ghibli gives the viewer the option to click on characters from some of the other films. There's not a huge amount of content, but it's nice to see.
Behind the Studio: Creating Nausicaä (12 minutes, HD) - A brief feature which includes thoughts from Miyazaki.
The Birth Story of Studio Ghibli (28 minutes, SD) - A TV documentary from Japan talking about Studio Ghibli's origins.
Behind the Microphone (8 minutes, SD) - The American cast is shown recording some of the scenes and talking about the film.
Original Japanese Trailers and TV Spots (8 minutes, SD)
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind includes a lot of themes and elements that we have come to expect in a Hayao Miyazaki movie, but it's more epic in scope. Like Avatar, this makes me feel like I am stepping onto another world. Unlike Avatar, the dialogue isn't dumb in any way. I like Nausicaä as a character because her intentions are always good. She sees the best in everyone and is a positive force. The whole experience makes the film one I love to revisit and it's always rated among my favorite animated titles. Disney's Blu-ray presentation does the film justice and is highly recommended as a story that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Overall score 4.5/5
on December 9, 2011
I had this movie in DVD format... with no french language on it and I decided to upgrade it to BLu-Ray, especially because the studio decided to put the French language track on the blu-ray. Well I was not disspointed! The movie is magnificient and it's a must own for all the Miyasaki-Ghibli fans!
on April 14, 2014
Miyazaki is part of the top four greatest animators of all time (Walt Disney, Frédéric Back and Norman McLaren being the three others). This movie, his second full-length feature (Castle of Cagliostro being is first), is proof of how immense his talent is.
The storyline is great, the voice acting is marvelous (especially in French and Japanese — you have to hear Nausicaa's scream when her wounded feet enters a lake full of acid, it's the best pain scream I heard in cinema to this day) and the animation is magnificent. Keep in mind it was made in 1983-84, before the advent of computer-assisted animation, so it isn't as smooth as more recent productions, but it's still amazing to behold.
The music is a mix of classical score and synth music, which was quite popular back in the 80's, and is perfectly suited to the movie.
Most important, Nausicaa's character, the driving force behind this movie, is just amazing. Her courage, intelligence, kindness will touch you (unless you're cynical and feel nothing for nobody but yourself), as will her quest to save the world.
A must-have for animation fans.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a true classic of animation. It had the same importance to Studio Ghibli that Snow White had to Disney. Both of them were the templates on which the future of their companies would be built. Which is actually quite fitting since Hayao Miyazaki, the co-founder of Studio Ghibli is considered to be the Walt Disney of Japan.
Here in this movie made back in 1984 are all the hallmarks of Studio Ghibli that would be incorporated into all their future productions. Everything from the fluid animation of the plucky heroine, the gentle understated story telling through to the music and the high quality animation; time after time I noticed something that would later appear slightly expanded in their newer productions. But this is where they first pulled it all together. Nausicaa is an absolute must for all lovers of Hayao Miyazaki or of japanese animation!
As for the movie itself, this one is a little more darker and more serious than his lighter works like Totoro or Kiki's Delivery Service. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which mankind is on the verge of extinction; it's tone is closer to his seminal masterwork, Princess Mononoke. (Considered one of the greatest animated films of all time!) However, unlike Mononoke, I think any kid who can handle The Terminator or Transformers shouldn't have any problem with Nausicaa. Probably even younger if mommy's there to hold them. It does make a great family film.
As for the bluray itself; this is definitely the way to go. A film of this importance deserves to be seen at it's very best and Disney delivers bringing out everything that was in the original and that's an amazing amount for an animated film. As for the audio (English, French, Japanese), it is essentially the same for both BD and dvd as the movie was originally made without surround sound and there's only so much you can do with a simple stereo track. However the crisp 1080P video will more than make up for the audio.
A true classic and masterpiece of early animation. I give it 5 stars.
on March 12, 2005
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is probably one of my favourite movies of all time and I am incredibly delighted that it has finally seen the light of day uncut in North America. The horribly altered Warriors of the Wind (an early dub of the film back in the '80's) had rekindled an interest in Japanese animation in me that picked up where Battle of the Planets left off and I have been a fan of director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's output ever since.
Miyazaki's later films (all of which are great)certainly look better than Nausicaa (such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away) and there's no debating that, but considering this was only his second job as director for a theatrical film and it was made in something like 3 months (his later films have taken more than a year) it still holds up pretty well. It is starting to show its age of course, 20 years after it was originally released, but Miyazaki's story telling still stands tall.
I have mixed feelings about the new dub, which to my ears is the worst sounding of the Disney releases of Miyazaki's films. It is an improvement over the Warriors of the Wind dub where Nausicaa sounded like Rocky the Squirrel (and it is an urban myth that it was the same voice actor as Rocky), but it does suffer from a lot of Explaino™ (a comic book method of explaining the plot details to viewers things that would be immediately obvious to the characters themselves). However, a lot of that is present in the Japanese script, so it can't be solely blamed on Disney. Most of the actors are fine in their roles (where else can you get the Captain of the Enterprise and the (new) Cmdr. Adama together in one sci-fi related film?). However, Alison Lohman has a tough job in trying to convey the intricacies to Nausicaa'a character and while it's not bad, just doesn't convey it as well as her Japanese counterpart.
Commenting on some of the other reviews I have read for this film, there seems to be a lot misinformation out there. The music in Nausicaa is unchanged - it's exactly the same as the original Japanese release (the CD is available on Tokuma 35ATC-3 and is great as well). The script is faithful to the original and for the most part is the same as most fan translations I've seen and my limited Japanese language ability can tell. The complaints about the slow pacing in parts are valid, but this type of introspection is common in most Japanese cinema, from the classics of Kurosawa and Ozu, to even other weel known animations such as Ghost in the Shell. It's a cultural quirk that makes Japanese movies unique from their US counterparts and I for one don't have a problem with it. A lot of these scenes were cut in Warriors in the Wind, and while it made for a tighter, action packed film, it removed a lot of details in what motivates Nausicaa to do what she does. Without character, there's no heart.
Also, there are a lot of people who compare the film to the manga (comic) version by Miyazaki. The film was created about 10 years before the serialization of the manga was completed, so obviously there are going to be huge differences between the two. Only about 2 volumes of the 7-volume work were completed at that time. Comparing the two is like apples and oranges. The scope of the film is by necessity limited, but that doesn't make the end result better (or worse) than its source material. The manga is a sprawling epic and is much darker and mature than the film would lead one to believe however. It's well worth checking out as well. It's highly unlikely that the entire story will ever be animated and with Princess Mononoke more or less a sequel in spirit (since it touches on the same themes as Nausicaa -- the film and manga) I think Miyazaki may have said all that he wants about the subject.
on March 3, 2005
Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind was originally released under the title "Warriors Of The Wind", which was an old english dub released onto our shores about 20 years ago. There were those of us who enjoyed the old dub (Myself as a kid), while others thought it ruined Hayao Miyazaki's beautiful title. Now, after 20 years, the UNCUT version is now available on DVD, with a new english dub cast (Listened to the dub myself, very well done), and japanese with subtitle format.
The animation, even after all this time, is masterfully restored, and I didn't see any signs of grains or animation errors or glitches on the DVD. Even today, the animation stands out from other Computer Generated anime titles. There is so much detail put into this movie, you can't help but feel you're watching what some anime should titles should be.
The story makes more sense and flows better in this uncut edition, as we see details that were missed in the old dub release.
The music also remains very well intact, and I still remember it vividly in my mind.
Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind is a TRUE anime at heart. This is Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, and should NOT be missed by ANY fan of japanese anime, those who like a good story, or those who would love to rekindle old memories. Get this, you WON'T regret it.
on May 29, 2004
I've seen the R2 version, and was blown away. Sure, we're talking a 20 year old animation here, but the story and characters are marvellous. We may not have state of the art CG dodads flying at us, but the quality, and the creators involved are first rate all the way.
The R2 disc featured comments by Kazuyoshi Katayama, a production assistant, later responsible for "The Big O", "Appleseed", and "Argento-soma." It also features the legendary Hideaki Anno. A Key Animator, who designed the Giant Robots for Miyazaki. Anno is, of course, famous for directing "Nadia, Secret of Blue Water", "Wings of Honneamise" and his claim to fame, "Neon Genesis Evangelion."
The music is by Joe Hisaishi, and it has touches that bring to mind things he does later in "Castle in the Sky", "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away." The music was done under tight budget constraints, so they seem to have used a lot of synthesizers. But hey, it's the 80's, so it's understandable. Overall, a must have DVD by one of the great artists of our time, with a veritable who's who of anime supporting him. "Nausicaa" is a wonderful look at Hayao Miyazaki's genius, so obvious in this, his first original film. I would also suggest the Graphic Novels. It took Miyazaki 12 years complete the tale he touches on in "Nausicaa". His true masterpiece.
on May 28, 2004
I have been an animation fan all of my life. I've seen almost every Disney animated flick every countless times. I've studied hte work of Chuck Jones and marveled at the best of Don Bluth.
I have been a fan of japanese animation in partuclar for about 5 years now. I have seen countless animated films and studied them in depth. I own almost every Studio Ghibli film ever made (including Whisper of the Heart, the Cat Returns, Ocean Waves, and Castle of Cagliostro). I am here to tell you that Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is without a doubt the greatest animated film I have ever seen in my life...
First of all, this is the first film that the animation genius Miyazaki ever attempted through his own studio. It is also a greatly condensed story, being adapted from a manga that it's creator wrote which was quite lengthly. That being said, this movie is PERFECT.
The animation may be old, but it rivals, and sometiems ever demolishes, animation released in the theaters today. The action sequences (and particularly the flight sequences) are truly amazing to behold. The sound effects are marvelous. The music is mind-blowing. The pacing is perfect, the voice-acting beyond perfect. The quality of the artwork continues to astound. But that's not why this is the greatest animated film ever.
At it's heart this is s complex story of man vs. nature and man vs. man. How many times have we been over the topic of how man's meddling is threatening to destroy the world, and how perhaps one day the world will fight back? In the world created in this film, the world has been destroyed by what can only be desribed as a total catastrophe (of man's doing). In response, plants and giant bugs are taking over the whole world and inhabiting vast patches fo wasteland. Various countries are fighting endless wars with each other in a quest to survive. A new danger arises though, as one of the ancient weapons which destroyed the world is found. The nations all claim they want to use it to destroy the bugs that would destroy humanity (not to destroy each other, as each nation claims it's rivals would).
Toss into this mix an oasis from the harshness of the desert wastelands where everyone lives in peace and harmony...and a young girl may hold the secret to ending the eternal battle between man and nature.
The story in Nausicaa is incredibly stong, and the plot is quite deep. What really holds this movie together though, is Nausicaa herself. This young girl is the single greatest anime character ever to grace film. The key lies in something Miyazaki himself once said. A man who is the protagonist would destroy his enemies and defeat them. But the real world is not like that. In the real world, empathy and understanding is the only thing that can save us. And so rather than fight everyone to the death, Nausicaa takes on the far more dangerous goal of making everyone stop fighting before they annihilate everything worth saving. The Japanese are very in touch with the theme of the futility of war (having experienced its effects first-hand), and this film is a perfect example of the pinnacle of where that philosophy can take us.
Miyazaki has changed in his views over time, and this film is not what he considers his best work. I find this to be the ultimate irony. The man doesn't even realize the magnitude of what he has created...
I said it before and I'll say it again. This is the greatest animated film of all time. It covers the full range of emotion, from friendship and understanding to death and destruction and the chance of forgiveness and renewal. I can often tell whether I will enjoy a movie by it's beginning. This movie has the best beginning of any movie I have ever seen. I always know if I will continue to love a movie when it ends, and this movie has the best ending of any movie I have ever seen...
on April 23, 2004
Released in Japan in 1984, Nausicaä explores many of the themes later visited in Princess Mononoke, and proved highly influential to modern day anime, from plot elements to even the mecha design (the "Evas" from the series Neon Genesis Evangelion, considered by many to be the best anime released to date). This film is certainly no mecha anime; the young princess Nausicaä finds herself torn between her people, mankind, and nature, the brutal, ascendant force on earth after the fall of man. Is humanity doomed to extinction, or is the equilibrium that Nausicaä espouses the ultimate answer? Nausicaä herself is a blend of Greek heroine and nature-loving adolescent, and strongly foils the other, Machiavelian characters. Though in a post apocalyptic future, Nausicaä feels little like Mad Max and more like primordial civilization as seen in Princess Mononoke. Hayao Miyazaki goes into even more depth and creates an even more epic tale in the manga (graphic novel) Nausicaä, so if you cannot wait, look it up. An incredible story, it is unfortunate that Disney has not decided upon a full theatrical release...