Welcome to The Best Movies I’ve Never Seen! This is the part of the blog where I work my way through 100 films I’ve never seen that are generally considered to be great. You’re invited to watch along with me if you can find a copy or find it streaming. So grab some popcorn and let’s get started!
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Quick synopsis… After a devastating world war, the Valley of the Wind is one of the last places untouched by the toxic aftermath. Nausicaa fights to restore balance between humans and nature as others seek the destructive power that once ravaged the Earth.
- Last week, I falsely claimed that this would be my first Studio Ghibli movie.
- I was wrong because this movie was actually made before Studio Ghibli was founded.
- However, several years ago, it was released on DVD as part of a Studio Ghibli collection.
- So maybe that means I didn’t lie after all…
- This film is available on HBO Max, which is how I’ll be streaming it.
- Though I’m not sure if it’s the original Japanese version with English subtitles or if it’s the English dubbed version that Disney put out in 2005.
- I kind of hope it’s in English, just because the voice cast is awesome (featuring the likes of Patrick Stewart, Mark Hamill, Chris Sarandon, etc.).
- That’s not to say the original Japanese voice cast wasn’t awesome.
- I’m just not familiar with Japanese voice actors…
- Maybe if I’d gotten into anime in my youth…
- Got it… English dubbed…
- Whatever humanity did a thousand years ago seems to have turned the world against us.
- Nausicaa is princess of the Valley of the Wind and she has an ability to communicate with animals and overgrown toxic insects that live in the toxic jungles.
- While out exploring, she saves Lord Yupa from a rampaging Ohm, a ginormous trilobite-like creature.
- Lord Yupa returns to the Valley with Nausicaa, where they discuss a prophecy that predicts a savior clothed in blue who would one day descend onto a golden field.
- Late that night, an airship from the kingdom of Tolmekia crashes in the Valley when it is overtaken by insects.
- Nausicaa finds Princess Lastelle of Pejite, who is apparently the only survivor of the crash.
- With her dying breath, she begs Nausicaa to make sure the cargo is destroyed.
- Another enormous insect emerges from the crashed ship and Nausicaa is able to charm it into returning to its jungle before it can call more insects to attack the Valley.
- Lord Yupa discovers that the cargo in the crashed ship is a dormant giant warrior from the Seven Days of Fire from 1,000 years ago.
- He’d heard that the creature was unearthed beneath Pejite and deduces that the militaristic Tolmekians must have desperately wanted it for themselves.
- Soon after, the Valley is invaded by Tolmekian warriors who assassinate the king.
- The Tolmekian princess, Kushana, addresses the residents of the Valley, claiming they’re their in peace, trying to unite the surrounding kingdoms.
- But she wants to use the giant warrior to secure Tolmekian rule and destroy the toxic jungles.
- Lord Yupa discovers Nausicaa’s secret underground chamber which turns out to be a garden.
- Nausicaa has figured out that the jungle plants are only toxic because they grow in toxic soil.
- The plants that she has grown here grow in clean water and soil.
- Princess Kushana takes Nausicaa and five hostages with her when she leaves for Pejite.
- On the way, however, the Tolmekian airships are attacked by aircraft from Pejite.
- Nausicaa, Kushana, and the rest of the hostages crash in the toxic jungle, which upsets several Ohms.
- But, as usual, Nausicaa is able to calm the giant bugs down.
- Nausicaa then follows the insects to find the Pejite pilot, who also crashed in the jungle.
- She manages to save him just before he can be eaten by a giant bug, but her glider is damaged and they crash into quicksand.
- After sinking through the quicksand, they find themselves in a place where the air and water are clean.
- Nausicaa figures out that the plants in the toxic jungle above are purifying the polluted topsoil, producing clean water and soil beneath.
- The Pejite pilot introduces himself as Asbel, thanking Nausicaa for saving him.
- Oh, and he’s Princess Lastelle’s twin brother.
- Back in the Valley, the hostages return with Kushana as their prisoner.
- She advises Lord Yupa to drive the Tolmekians out and keep the giant warrior to repel any other kingdoms who would come to lay claim to the monster.
- Meanwhile, it’s been discovered that toxic spores from the earlier crashed airship have infected a forest inside the Valley.
- Nausicaa and Asbel return to Pejite to find that it has been completely destroyed.
- The people of Pejite have already executed a plan to lure insects into the Valley in order to get the giant warrior back.
- They’re willing to sacrifice the people of the Valley in order to wipe out the Tolmekians that are there.
- Asbel tries to help Nausicaa get away so she can warn her people, but he’s soon knocked out.
- Later, Asbel and his mother help Nausicaa get to her glider so she can escape.
- The people of the Valley hide out in the remains of an ancient ship by an acid lake while the Tolmekians threaten to attack.
- Kushana wants to wait to see if Nausicaa returns before she orders her people to attack.
- The Valley people are disturbed when the wind stops blowing.
- Nearing the acid lake, Nausicaa discovers that thousands of Ohms are stampeding toward the Valley.
- The people from Pejite are using a wounded baby Ohm to lure all the others toward the Valley.
- Kushana decides to release the giant warrior prematurely to stand against the Ohm stampede.
- Nausicaa is able to free the baby Ohm, gaining its trust.
- Back at the edge of the lake, the giant is revealed, but it’s been hatched too soon and it falls apart.
- Nausicaa and the baby Ohm try to stop the stampede, but get run over when the adult Ohms are still blind with rage.
- Nausicaa succeeds in quieting the Ohms’ rage, but at the cost of her life.
- But the Ohms are able to use their golden tentacles to revive and heal her.
- In her blue dress, among a sea of golden tentacles, she has become the prophesied savior.
- During the credits, we see that the Ohm and Tolmekians all leave the Valley, while the people of Pejite stay to help rebuild.
- And somewhere underground, a non-toxic tree has sprouted.
- Having now seen Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, it currently ranks at 448 out of 2,245 movies on my personal Flickchart list.
I thought this film was beautifully animated. Which I’m sure will be my opinion of every Studio Ghibli film on this list, judging by clips I’ve seen throughout the years. And I found the world that this story built to be fascinating. Have you seen Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind? If so, what did you think? Let me know down in the comments. Then come back next
year week for the Mel Brooks classic, Blazing Saddles, which I find hard to believe I’ve never seen. I’m pretty sure my dad thought that movie was hilarious, but he never introduced me to it. Guess I’ll find out for myself soon enough.