Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (Japan 1984)

Rating: ****
Review Date: 2/22/05
Alternate Title: Warriors Of The Wind
Written And Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece tale of ecological terror and the girl who can save the world from destruction. Excellent stuff. Well written and superbly animated, this is a great film for audiences of all ages. It's also a treat for girls with guns fans and anyone who appreciates the respectful rendering of strong female characters. Definitely see the original uncut Japanese version if you can, as it contains several critical scenes and plot devices that make the whole film come together, as opposed to the castrated domestic version that was released as "Warriors Of The Wind" back in 1986.

Notes on the domestic DVD release: It only took twenty-one years, seven of which were spent languishing in a Walt Disney vault, for "Nausicaä" to finally reach American soil. Fortunately, Disney has delivered the goods, with an excellent DVD package that features a good clean transfer of the entire uncut film, a good translation, and lots of bonus materials. I haven't listened to the English dub, but knowing Disney, I'm sure it's of the highest quality (although I wouldn't be surprised if they dumbed down the dialog a bit). While I'm thrilled to finally have a legitimate copy of the film so I can retire the numerous worn out fan subs, imports, and bootlegs that I've collected over the years, it's not without a fair amount of bitterness. What continues to gnaw at me is why the hell did it take Disney so long to release this film after acquiring the distribution rights to it back in 1998? It makes no sense to sit on such a gold mine that has diminishing returns the longer you hold it back. Anime fans only have so much patience before they look elsewhere or just don't care anymore, and anyone who wanted this film surely has a copy of it by now, one way or another. What chills me to the bone is that the only logical explanations for such behavior all point to pure villainy, much in the same way that other American distributors have disrespected and buried nearly every other Asian blockbuster to hit our shores. They treat these films as a threat to their own product, with disdain and disgust, giving them hideous makeovers and then quietly sweeping them under the carpet. Fortunately, fans and critics alike have been making enough noise that some of the studios are finally starting to pay attention and beginning to realize that audiences aren't as dumb as they want them to be. Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, but at least I got it off my chest. For now.