Japanese animation giant Hayao Miyazaki (SPIRITED AWAY, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE) tackles traditional science fiction in an environmentalist-themed film that anticipates his later PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997).
One thousand years after the collapse of industrialized society, mankind is imperiled by poisonous clouds and enormous insects. Young princess Nausicaa (voice of Alison Lohman) beacon of hope for her people, having established a modicum of ecological detente by respecting other creatures, like the
giant Ohmus. Lord Yupa (Patrick Stewart), who has seen many communities devastated, is relieved he can still visit the Valley of the Wind where Nausicaa still lives with her father, King Jihl (Mark Silverman). No one has much faith in the prediction of soothsayer Obaba (Tress MacNeille), who foretells Earth’s renewal by a savior garbed in blue, and Jihl's kingdom is under siege by the slash-and-burn Tolmekkian tribe, led by Princess Kushana (Uma Thurman). The Tolmekkians intend to torch the toxic forest that abuts Jihl's land and resurrect the 1000 year-old Giant Mechanical Warrior in order to slay both monstrous bugs and human opponents. Kushana has no respect for other species and is determined to put mankind back at the top of the food chain, carving out her own niche as supreme ruler in the process. Kushana hastens King Jihl's demise and power passes to Nausicaa, who prudently bides her time. Knowing that mutant creatures outnumber the human race, Nausicaa realizes that setting the forest ablaze will only uproot and enrage them. She allies herself with gallant Asbel (Shia LeBoeuf) of the Pejite tribe and defies Kushana by saving the life of a baby Ohmu. But even Nausicaa may not be able to restore the delicate balance of post-Apocalyptic survival if Kushana revs up her gargantuan robotic warrior.
While the imagery is eye-popping and the voice cast strong, the English adaptation -- by the usually reliable Cindy David Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt – feels perfunctory, robbing NAUSICAA of the complexity that characterizes Miyazaki's later films.
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- Released: 1984
- Rating: G
- Review: Japanese animation giant Hayao Miyazaki (SPIRITED AWAY, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE) tackles traditional science fiction in an environmentalist-themed film that anticipates his later PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997). One thousand years after the collapse of industrial… (more)