Sunday, February 13th, 2005
The latest batch of Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli DVD releases weren’t supposed to be out until February 22, but Queen Video somehow had them available for rent already so I finally got to see Miyazaki’s first film, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Winds. I am flabbergasted that this film is over 20 years old. While the animation isn’t as lush or intricate as, say, Spirited Away, it’s still lovely to see onscreen bears the unmistakable mark of its creator.
The story and themes are also vintage Miyazaki – the blend of fantasy and science fiction, the heroic young girl protagonist, the pastoral yet post-apocalyptic setting, the environmental themes. I think the narrative is somewhat simpler than his later work, not as ambitious or confusing (I admit, I get confused by some of his stuff), but is in no way lacking for it. The simplicity is actually a large part of Nausicaa’s charm.
Usually I watch these North American editions in the original Japanese with subtitles, but this time I wanted to hear it with the English voice talent (Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman). Surely heresy to some, but I think they did a pretty good job of it. There’s still a second DVD of bonus materials that I hope I will get the chance to go through before I have to return it to the shop, but considering I’m sort of hip-deep in stimulus right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t.
I can’t wait until the next Miyazaki film, Howl’s Moving Castle, gets a North American release on or around June 17.
Given the extent and quality of pure pop music coming out of Sweden lately, I’ve been known to declare, often without prompting and at inopportune times, that Sweden is the new Scotland (“How do you plead to these charges?” “Sweden is the new Scotland, your honour”). But how does one keep up with the goings-on in that strange and foreign land of blondes, massages and affordable furniture? With Hello! Surprise!, a guide to Swedish pop music. Hallelujah. They’ve got news, bios, links, mp3s, the whole whiz-bang. God bless the Swedes. From LHB.
np – Shivaree / Who’s Got Trouble?