Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

I used to re-stock the shelves when I worked at Hollywood Video, and wandering up and down narrowly tailored aisles like “action” or “romance” really underscored how arbitrary those categories were. You’d get a movie like Romancing the Stone, which is an action romance, and think: this is not quite one or the other, but you’d have to shelve it on whatever the corporate office had decided it was.

But even though there is something arbitrary about the categories we use for movies, there is something to be said for categorizing a movie if you are trying to make sense of it: you need to have some sense of what the movie was trying to do before you decide whether or not it was successful. And this is the sort of movie that doesn’t make sense to me because it doesn’t fit neatly into any real categories.

The story is about a post apocalyptic world where warfare and pollution have almost completely ruined the Earth and so it seems a bit too heavy for children. It also doesn’t quite seem like it’s for adults, either, because everything seems slightly simplified and the pacing is that of a kid’s movie. It has some nice science fiction trappings that might appeal to nerds or anime fans, but it also doesn’t flesh those ideas out enough to make them unique. It felt like a movie that wasn’t designed to appeal to anybody in specific.

But perhaps I’m judging it too harshly. Kids have less of a sense of what categories are, so they might not get a sense of how odd a kids movie this is, and if they can hang out with the bleakness of the setting they might not find it to be too scary. But that’s kind of a big if: it would take a very specific type of child not to be scared of a villain who has had her arm chewed off by a gigantic worm trying to stab our plucky heroine with a sword.

Regardless of whether or not this movie is for kids, it wasn’t for me, though.

Winner: The Cat

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind