The Boy and the Heron – ★★★★

The Boy and The Heron

Fantastically beautiful in both expected and unexpected ways. The animation in the fire scenes was remarkable and surprisingly evocative and scary. Not our favorite Miyazaki but the kids and I both really enjoyed it, though I wonder how much of it they followed in parts. My 8 year old is not exactly as familiar with World War II and metaphors for grief as most folks on Letterboxd.

Maybe seeing in the theater without distractions is why it worked better for me on first watch than some of Miyazaki’s other more fantastical, less narratively straightforward films have. Looking forward to rewatching it again to see if it rises any higher in my Ghibli rankings.

This is actually my first ever Miyazaki to see at release in theater. The third one on the big screen this year though as we saw Nausicaä and Mononoke as part of Ghibli Fest this year. Will definitely make it to a few more when the next one rolls around.

Rating: 4.0 stars

? Crossposted on Letterboxd
? Watch The Boy and the Heron in theaters

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – ★★★★

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind poster

Took the kids to watch this in the theater today as part of Studio Ghibli Fest. First time for me to ever see a Miyazaki movie on the big screen.

This was one of my least favorites when I originally was running through my Miyazaki blind spots back in 2020, but giving it my full attention now I really enjoyed it quite a bit. I was pleasantly surprised how much both my girls liked it considering how “old” it is and how relatively few laughs there are. They were probably the only 2 people under 30 in the theater today.

Nausicaä is such a fantastic character as are all the other valley residents, but boy do I hate every single Tolmekian and Pejite moron. And they remain pretty much completely irredeemable for the entire movie. (I know we’re supposed to dislike them but still.)

It is bit depressing how little progress we’ve made as a society in 40 years towards the Nausicaä’s basic themes of environmentalism, empathy, and pacifism.

It’s early so not quite as breathtakingly beautiful as some of the films that followed it, but it sure is imaginative and interesting to look at. It is also remarkable how much imagery from this have influenced (or share influences with) current Japanese video games including Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. TotK’s “depths” areas seem like a mix of Nausicaa’s forest and the gloom from Mononoke.

Buying tickets now to go see Mononoke in a month.

? View Letterboxd review
? Buy Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on Blu-ray