BLU-RAY REVIEW: Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind Combo Pack
Miyazaki's first animated adventure in Hi-Def...
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Continuing the trend that began last year, yet another one of director Hayao Miyazaki’s phenomenal animated features is re-released to home video, this time on High-Definition Blu-Ray. Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, or Kaze no Tani no Naushika, is widely considered the first film by Studio Ghibli, but was actually released in 1984, a year before the studio was founded. The film features an amazing English voice cast including Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman, Chris Sarandon, Edward James Olmos, Mark Hamill, Frank Welker, Jodi Benson, and Shia LaBeouf. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment gives Miyazaki’s definitive film the reception it deserves with a host of exciting special features and incredible quality on the Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind 2-Disc Combo Pack.
The post-apocalyptic film follows the adventures of Nausicaa, the young princess of the valley of the wind, who is shown to be brave, intelligent, and resourceful as she and her people deal with the everyday trials of living in a world where humanity is struggling for survival in one of the last infection-free pieces of land in a world ravaged by giant insect-infested, poisonous forests referred to a “Toxic Jungles.” Her people are endangered when a war-mongering kingdom invades their land to recover a Giant Warrior, a powerful being dug up from the earth and a remnant of the “Seven Days of Fire”, the war that destroyed the land 1,000 years prior. The kingdom hopes to use the Warrior to destroy the Toxic Jungles and take back the earth, but their presence not only leads to many deaths, but infection by poisonous spores and a plot by a rival kingdom to drive a legion of enraged insects to ravage their valley. It’s up to Nausicaa and her friends to find a way to stop the Giant Warrior and the angry insects and hopefully save her people and the world from more violence and destruction.
The film is amazing in 1080p High-Definition presentation that the Blu-Ray version of the film offers, especially when compared to the original DVD release. The picture has been cleaned up and much of the film grain has been taken out. The soundtrack, including the music of composer Joe Hisaishi is seems to have been given a good polish as well and really adds to the overall presentation.
The special features are spread across both the DVD disc and the Blu-Ray and feature items carried over from the original 2-Disc DVD release and brand new features exclusive to the set. The DVD includes Behind the Microphone, a featurette showcasing voice talent from the film, The Birth Story of Studio Ghibli, and the original Japanese trailers and tv spots. Included on the Blu-Ray disc is the Original Japanese Storyboards from the older release, the Behind the Studio: Creating Nausicaa featurette, and The Enter the Lands section featuring a large interactive map with locations inspired by all the worlds from the various Miyazaki films, which also includes a Studio Ghibli Trivia Challenge.
Disney has done it again by providing fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s work a presentation that is worthy of this extraordinary classic animated film. It’s nice to see the level of commitment spent on original Disney films applied to a non-Disney production. The quality in this Blu-Ray release makes it a must-have for anime and Miyazaki fans of all ages. The Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind 2-Disc Combo Pack is available now from Walt Disney Home Entertainment and is rated PG for Violence.
Review by Michael Klein