The Bottom Line
The movie that launched Studio Ghibli, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is an ambitious adventure film that ultimately doesn’t rank as one of famed animation director Hayao Miyazaki’s more memorable efforts. The filmmaker initially does an impressive job of establishing the movie’s post-apocalyptic world – if nothing else, the film is gorgeously, captivatingly animated – but he eventually weighs the proceedings down with a storyline that’s just too long and too convoluted for its own good.
- Beautiful hand-drawn animation
- An epic storyline with environmentally-friendly overtones
- Hours worth of supplemental materials
- Storyline is difficult to comfortably follow
- Lack of compelling supporting characters
- Some bonus features aren’t in high definition
- Featuring the voices of Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman, Shia LaBeouf, Mark Hamill, and Edward James Olmos
- Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
- Rated PG for violence
- Blu-ray Release Date: March 8, 2011
Guide Review – ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ Blu-ray Review
Set 1000 years after an apocalyptic war, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind follows a plucky princess named Nausicaä as she leads her community’s ongoing battle against a vicious scourge of oversized insects. The insects aren’t Nausicaä’s only problem, however, as much of the film details her efforts at coping with the arrival of a war-like group of humans known as the Tolmekians.
The Bonus Features
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind marks the second of Miyazaki’s movies to arrive on Blu-ray, following 2008’s Ponyo, and the film boasts as flawless and crystal-clear a transfer as one might’ve hoped. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment also packs this two-disc set with a number of bonus features, with the most impressive item here an option to watch the entire film via storyboards. Though it’s hard to imagine anyone sitting down and viewing the whole movie through these crude storyboards, this is certainly an interesting feature that provides an eye-opening glance at the inception of one of Miyazaki’s films.
In terms of more traditional behind-the-scenes featurettes, the set comes armed with a 28-minute documentary entitled The Birth Story of Studio Ghibli – which, as promised by its title, explores the origins of Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli and how Miyazaki came to be involved. Up next is an eight minute piece called Behind the Microphone, which looks at the process of recording the movie’s English-language dialogue (and includes a very young-looking Shia LaBeouf recording his lines). Finally, Behind the Studio: Creating Nausicaä allows Miyazaki himself to talk about the origins of the film and his exploits in bringing his own manga to life. The set also comes with an interactive map, several trailers and commercials for the movie, and a copy of the film on DVD.