Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984, Hayao Miyazaki)

Miyazaki’s first non-series feature, and the movie that spawned Studio Ghibli. It’s a surprisingly huge-looking feature for a startup/indie flick. Watched the well-dubbed English version on day one of the Belcourt’s retrospective, a weekday matinee populated by children and die-hards. Voices I recognized: just Patrick Stewart as Lord Yupa. Voices I Did Not Recognize: Alison Drag Me To Hell Lohman as Nausicaa, Shia LaBeouf as enemy gunfighter-turned-friend Asbel, Tress MacNeille (Babs Bunny, Principal Skinner’s mom) as the blind old woman, Mark Hamill as the warlord leader of Pejite, Uma Thurman as the warlord leader of Tolmekia, and Chris Jack Skellington Sarandon as Kurotowa, Thurman’s power-hungry buffoon assistant.

Nausicaa is the uniquely smart and capable princess of the wind valley, introduced scavenging in the toxic forest and helping her uncle Yupa escape from giant marauding bugs known as Ohm. Their village is invaded by Thurman’s Tolmekians, who aim to resurrect a giant mythical warrior and annihilate other tribes. While everyone else worries about becoming the dominant human force on a dying world, Nausicaa is aiming to make peace with the insects and discover why the world’s plants have turned poisonous. In the movie’s Planet of the Apes reveal, she and Asbel learn that civilizations past fatally polluted the soil and that the plants adapted to gradually purify it. Showdown between giant warrior (not fully recomposed, it melts), hordes of undefeatable insects, and prophet Nausicaa, who brings peace to the land.