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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSHIKA / NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1984)

With teen-fronted dystopian tales thick on the ground, this early anime feature from Hayao Miyazaki may have lost some of its cutting edge, but at least it’s now available in its original cut. A butchered release from ‘85 titled WARRIORS OF THE WIND lost a couple reels, reconfigured the story line and sidelined Princess Nausicaä to supporting character on its poster (see below). That said, this tale of a poisoned planet slowly killing its remaining inhabitants as they pointlessly wage war against each other, isn't quite top-tier Miyazaki.

It has that over-stuffed/too fecund quality seen in some of his most acclaimed, if not best pics. Not that you’ll mind during the stunningly drawn & designed nighttime action scenes of stars, battles & mass movement, all gorgeous as ever. But the characters aren’t as fully rounded, either in form or character, as they’d soon be, with the generic-looking Princess Nausicaä something of a goody-goody Christ figure sans accompanying sacrifice. Friend to all, she sees goodness behind every evil motive & adversary, saving the planet by earning merit badges.

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