(A photo of Hayao Miyazaki is shown, before showing clips from several of the Studio Ghibli films)
Doug (vo): If you were to ask a random person on the street who Hayao Miyazaki was, chances are they wouldn't know. But, if you were to ask a movie buff, anyone online, or pretty much any person from Japan, everyone would tell you that he is the animation champion of the world. Only in the past 10-15 years has he finally started to get credit in America, allowing our audiences to see tons and tons of his genius work. But it turns out, he's not the only one turning out Miyazaki material. His animation company, Studio Ghibli, has also been turning out timeless classic after timeless classic, again, only starting to get recognition in America in the past 10-15 years. And, who do we have to thank for all this imagination being shown to us?
(The Disney logo is shown, as well as photos of John Lasseter and Miyazaki, before resuming showing clips from the Studio Ghibli films)
Doug (vo): That's right, the big D. Or more specifically, John Lasseter, who's friends with Hayao Miyazaki and promised to get as much of his work to our audiences as possible. The result was the majority of the studio's films being re-released and re-dubbed in America. But they didn't just half-ass it, they went out of their way to get the best talent possible, the best sound people, the best translators, and, of course, the best actors. It only figures that Disney, another great leader in animation imagination, would be the people to introduce us to not only such wonderful artwork, but such fantastic stories. So, this Disneycember, every single day of the month, I am gonna be looking at one of the films from Miyazaki or Miyazaki's studio. The one catch is that it has to have been re-released by Disney and re-dubbed by them, because, hey, it is Disneycember. Now there's only one problem with that: there's not enough films to fill out the entire month. So, what am I gonna do?
(Clips from other Disney movies, animation and live-action, are shown)
Doug (vo): I'm gonna go back to all the films that people requested but I never got around to. That's right, The Nightmare Before Christmases, the Dick Tracys. Hell, I'll even go over the ones I did a v-log of already, but people seem to want to see the Disneycember version of it. And, hey, some time has gone by, maybe some of the opinions have changed. So, every other day, it's a Studio Ghibli film, and the other half of the days, it's gonna be one of the Disney classics. But hell, even that's not enough! I want so much Disney down your throat that you'll swear we've been (Clip of Disney Makers logo) bought out by them or something!
(Clips from the intro of the hit Disney TV show, Gravity Falls, are shown)
Doug (vo): So, I'm gonna give into peer pressure and also do a v-log series on one I've been getting a lot of requests to do for a while. That's right, both my brother and I are going to be doing a v-log series of Gravity Falls, right along with Disneycember every single day of the month.
(More clips of the Ghibli films are shown)
Doug (vo): It'll be the most ambitious Disneycember yet. You'll be vomiting rainbows a week after watching them. There's a lot of imagination, a lot of great characters, a lot of great stories, hell, there's just a lot of greatness to get through! So, sit back, everybody: this is Disneycember: The Studio Ghibli, Overlooked Classics, and Gravity Falls edition!
(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)
Doug (vo): Let's start with a film that wasn't technically Studio Ghibli when it came out, but they still marketed it under the name and Disney picked it up anyway, so I think it counts, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, a film surely not to be ignored. This was only director Miyazaki's second film, and already, it was a gigantic epic.
Doug (vo): The story centers around a princess...yeah, get used to seeing those. I think Ghibli might be the only studio that actually uses princesses more than Disney...who lives in an apocalyptic future. Actually, one of the nicer apocalyptic futures. Very green, lots of mountains, nice scenery, well, at least in this part of the world. Other parts of the world, there's nothing but war a-brewin'. Everyone's attacking everyone, trying to find old monsters and creatures to destroy one another. When those warring countries find the Valley of the Wind, they see an opportunity to use their land and their resources to their advantage. Nausicaä, after discovering the death of her father, peacefully tries to find a way to save everybody and not cause anymore bloodshed. Along the way, she comes across a boy who's on the other side, and asks her to join his quest. But she doesn't wanna be on anyone's side, she just wants war to leave and no more people to die. No more people, or bugs. Yes, in this futuristic world, there's also giant monsters that look like bugs, hell, even the planes kind of look like bugs, which is kinda cool when you think about it. You assume all birds are gone in this world so their planes wouldn't really look like birds like ours, instead, they would look like insects. Kind of a neat note. But nevertheless, Nausicaä doesn't want anything living to perish. So she goes back and forth between every single side imaginable trying to find the peaceful route.
Doug (vo): For only a second film, it's one hell of an ambitious project. It tries to throw so much at you and for the most part, it pays off pretty well. You very easily understand the conflict of every single character, and every single character does have a conflict. It's a lot of fun just seeing them work off each other, trying to figure out strategies, what to do next, everything is always in a huge rush. Something like that can usually be a little too busy and distracting, but the characters are strong enough to pull it through.
[The film's main character is shown in several clips]
Doug (vo): At first, I thought it was kinda weird that Nausicaä would flip-flop back and forth between sort of this crying, sad, emotional person to this sudden sword-wielding badass that always seems to have a plan. But when you see what it's all building up to in the end, yeah, actually, it does kinda make sense. It's kinda like a peaceful person who knows how to fight but never really wants to fight because she doesn't wanna see anyone hurt. So when she does have to do it or her rage gets the best of her, she feels an incredible amount of guilt. With that said, I love the fact that she always has a plan, I mean, always! Our ship is going down? You go this way, I'll go that way, I'll jump up here and do this thing! Kingdom being overthrown? I'll go this way, you go this way, we'll rendezvous after we do the huge, big, gigantic thing! She isn't just kicking a little bit of ass and that's it, she always has a strategy, and she comes up with them so fast. She's a lot of fun to watch.
[The film's other characters are shown]
Doug (vo): She also has a real good supporting cast. Voice actors like Patrick Stewart and Shia LaBeouf really add a lot of credibility. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, "Shia LaBeouf had credibility?" Well, yeah. Say what you will about his personal life and the Transformers movies, but I don't think he's that bad an actor, and I think he finds just the right mix in this role, angry and vengeful, but still looking for the right thing to do. If I did have a problem with this film, though, I would actually say that as good as the characters are, I could've used just a little bit more of them. That is to say, if a story like this really wanted to have the biggest impact, it probably should've been two movies. I mean it when I say they throw a lot at you and it is constantly on the move. That's not to say they don't have their slower moments to just be characters, they do and they're done well. But for the giant climax this film is trying to build up at the end, I felt I really wanted to know these people a touch more.
[The villain of the movie is shown]
Doug (vo): For example, the villain, played by Uma Thurman, and her second-in-command seem to have this kind of playful banter, where they almost hope the other would die, but they also kind of respect the strategy of the other. A part of me really wanted to know more about that. But, it's a big animated epic and you can only fit it into two hours, so a lot of that stuff has to be cut. And I'm sure there was more stuff, this is based on a manga. I get the feeling they went into even more detail about these people. It's not that the film needs to be longer, it already feels like a decent length. I just felt like I really wanted to be on these characters' side more than what I was, which is to say I didn't want to see them perish, but I didn't feel the entire weight of the film the way I think it wanted me to feel it. Maybe one or two less scenes of traveling and shouting orders replaced with a little bit more of natural talking would've done it. But that really is a bit of a nitpick.
Doug (vo): It's still very large in scale and very impressive to look at, and I wanna know what it's all going to amount to. Had they been able to explore a little bit more, I think this could've been on par with, say, the Lord of the Rings movies, but as is, it's still pretty damn impressive. It's so cool seeing where all these Miyazaki tropes start. The technology, the monsters, the love of nature, his thumbprint is all over it. And it's even more impressive when you think no computers were used on it either. I mean, look at this, this looks like something that could be animated today. Great backgrounds, great environment, great atmosphere, great characters, great story, what else can you say? Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is just great. Go take a rent and see for yourself.
[The final scene, showing Nausicaä dancing on the tentacles of the Ohmu, is shown]