For starters, it seems apparent that this title isn't really an official Ghibli title. However, it is the title that begins to pave the way for Ghibli's overall success, by bringing animation into a more serious and dramatic tone with some pretty amazing storytelling.
Nausicaä' takes place some thousand years into the future. Things are post-apocalyptic, following nuclear war known as the "Seven Days of Fire", and a Toxic Jungle, full of toxic plants has been taken over by giant insects. These giant insects are of interest to Princess Nausicaä (Sumi Shimamoto/Alison Lohman), as she explores this jungle, and attempts to communicate with the creatures, and get to know a little more about them.
Meanwhile, the people of Tolmekia, get their hands on a gigantic bioweapon known as a Giant Warrior (a.k.a God Warrior) - one of the weapons that ultimately caused the Seven Days of Fire. They eventually plan to mature it and use it to lay waste to the toxic jungle, which, in turn, has Nausicaa fighting for the rights of these creatures, having established a bit of a peace with them, herself.
In truth, this can be a bit of a tough one to review, as there's just so much going on in it. Speaking for myself, I have to admit that it would take multiple viewings to fully understand everything in full detail. It's the kind of movie where if you turn away for a few seconds, you might miss something important. That said, what I did follow, I enjoyed. One may very well compare this to something along the line of 'Avatar' or 'Dances with Wolves' but here's the thing; this predates just about any movie I can think of with such similar plot points.
Of course, to say the animation is really quite beautiful would be kind of a moot point, as the same thing applies to just about anything from this studio. We had some great animation going on in North America for the time, to be sure, but these Ghibli flims take us to strange, new worlds, and crank the imagination up to eleven.
So, I kinda wish I had something better to offer for a review, but the good news is that I have always kind of appreciated this kind of story. Different movies execute it in different ways, but hell, I'm just gonna say it, THIS is the most imaginative way I've seen it done. I mean, sure, 'Avatar' was cool and all, but I actually find it kinda weak without the aspect of the amazing 3D effects. Let's face facts, almost 10 years later, the 3D was REALLY what made that movie so amazing. As I said before; this predates it - by about 25 years.
More to appreciate about this movie is some of its characters. Nausicaä, herself, is most definitely a strong female protagonist, both in kick-assery and in overall personality. Lord Yupa (Goro Naya/Patrick Stewart), may not be around much, but he's pretty damn kick-ass himself with his swordsmanship, and his wisdom. But a most interesting addition is princess Kushana (Yoshiko Sakakibara/Uma Thurman). She's the main antagonist of the film, but she's much like Thanos, or Vulture (from 'Spidey: Homecoming') in that we can see both sides of her coin. She's not just evil for the sake of evil. She wants the toxic jungle destroyed so that humanity can develop.
It's definitely something I'll be revisiting in the near future, in order to get a bit more out of it. But I am happy to say that I've taken a genuine interest in this collection. I look forward to seeing a lot of the titles I've heard so much about, along with revisiting some I've seen only one, a couple of years ago.
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As anime is an all-around untapped resource for my viewing pleasure, I have decided to explore the Ghibli titles, one-by-one. It seemed good a place to start as any. I'll be focusing on these titles throughout the month of August.