Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 2nd, 2005
Over a thousand years in the future, human civilization has largely collapsed. Most of theplanet is consumed by the Sea of Decay, a forest of toxic spores and giant insects. Only a fewhuman outposts remain. The most idyllic of these is the Valley of the Wind, where the peoplehave learned not to be locked in combat with nature. Nausicaa, the princess of the valley, isparticularly in tune with the insects. The peace in the valley is shattered when it is dragged intothe bitter…and futile war of two military factions, each of whom believes that they can somehowfight back the Sea of Decay. Nausicaa must fight to prevent the destruction of her people.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Nausicaa shows that Miyakaki’senvironmental interests, an undercurrent in Spirited Away and foregrounded inPrincess Mononoke are of long-standing. Epic in its scale, startlingly beautiful in itsimagery, and honestly moving, this announced the arrival of Miyakaki’s Studio Ghibli as a forceto be reckoned with.
THX imprimatur notwithstanding, this 2.0 soundtrack sounds like mono to me. In any case,there are no surround aspects at all. Still, the sound is certainly clear and crisp, and there is nobuzz or other form of distortion. Though the English voice acting is solid, the Japanese originalis definitely preferable. The background sound effects are sometimes a bit quiet in comparison tothe dialogue.
The picture is excellent. Most transfers of animated work are, but there are exceptions nowand then, and this, fortunately, isn’t one of them. The image is sharp, the print is in perfectconditions, and the only grain visible shows every sign of being a deliberate effect.
Disc 1 has two featurettes. One, “Behind the Microphone” is the usual bit of pointless puff,here concentrating on the English voice actors. The other, “The Birth of Studio Ghibli” is farmore interesting, giving us the history of Miyazaki’s career from the early days to well beyondNausicaa. This is a Japanese feature, with dubbed English voice-over. Also here are theoriginal Japanese trailer and TV spots. Disc 2 has the storyboards set to the audio of the entiremovie. Is anyone THAT interested in storyboards? The menus are fully animated andscored.
Yet another terrific piece of work from Miyazaki, without a doubt one of the grand mastersof the animated film.
Special Features List
- “Behind the Microphone” Featurette
- “The BIrth of Studio Ghibli” Featurette
- Japanese Trailers and TV Spots
- Complete Storyboards