NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND
KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSHIKA
1984, Studio Ghibli, 116 min, Japan, Dir: Hayao Miyazaki

This first of many triumphs for Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki is set a thousand years after a nuclear holocaust has gutted the globe. After the death of her father and an attack by the hostile Tormekia, Princess Nausicaa must use her uncanny ability to communicate with the giant crustacean Ohmu to unite her people against the threat of annihilation. Based on the manga of the same name, and using Miyazaki’s distinct stylistic flare for the dreamlike and fantastical, the film also inaugurates Miyazaki’s enduring collaboration and friendship with composer Joe Hisaishi. Its visually breathtaking, truly dexterous animation is more than worthy of a repeat viewing, let alone a first.


HOOK
1991, Sony Repertory, 144 min, USA, Dir: Steven Spielberg

Robin Williams stars as grown-up Peter Pan, now a businessman glued to his cellphone and woefully lacking a sense of magic or imagination, who is forced to face his Neverland past when his children are abducted by Captain Hook (a nefarious Dustin Hoffman). Steven Spielberg’s popcorn sequel of sorts to the J.M. Barrie classic is a rip-roaring good time, heightened by immersive set design and a colorful cast of prestige supporting players, including Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, Bob Hoskins as Smee and Maggie Smith as Granny Wendy.


LADYHAWKE
1985, Warner Bros., 121 min, USA, Dir: Richard Donner

Rutger Hauer is perfectly cast as dashing knight Etienne Navarre, with Michelle Pfeiffer as his beautiful true love Lady Isabeau. Navarre is cursed to take the form of a hawk by day. When Navarre rescues a young thief named Mouse (Matthew Broderick), events are set in motion that will bring justice to the wicked and reunite the cursed lovers in this enthralling medieval epic. Great supporting work by veteran actor Leo McKern as Father Imperius the Monk, and a very young Alfred Molina. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro makes stunning use of the Italian locations, and The Alan Parsons Project-produced rock score, which some thought dated at the time, actually ages quite nicely.


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