Reviewed: When The Wind Blows (1986)

when_the_wind_blows_DVD-coverOnce upon a time when I was a wee lad looking for comics in my local library, I found a particularly depressing one by Raymond Briggs – an English cartoonist who told the thought-provoking story of two old people experiencing the potential fallout (literal) of nuclear war in England. This book was made into an animated film featuring music by David Bowie and Roger Waters.

Many years later, the film found its way onto the shelf at the video store I work at and I was finally able to get around to watching it. As with many other decent films adapting comic books, this is incredibly faithful to the source material.

The animation is simplistic yet effective. Using a collage of traditional animation, stop-motion and live action – these elements all blend together in a flawless fashion, the likes of which you’ll have to see to believe. So much so that when I first noticed the stop-motion element I sat there for a second thinking – how the hell did they do that?

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Directed by Jimmy T Murakami with a script adapted by Briggs himself, this is the story of retiree couple Jim (John Mills) and Hilda (Peggy Ashcroft) as they prepare their home for a nuclear attack by way of a government-issued pamphlet. The steps taken are ludicrous yet I suspect that they are genuine in the same way the US had “Duck & Cover”.

The sleeve of this DVD on the Australian release has a rating warning as follows – PG May contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting.

If confusion is something that as a parent, you want your children to avoid – yes, stay away from this film. Mind you, I think they should have the same warning on the cover of Pixar’s Cars – a concept that I will never get my head around.

Just because it’s animated doesn’t mean it’s a children’s film. Like Animal Farm, Watership Down or Urotsukidöji I – Legend of the Overfiend, be aware that your kids might have a question or two about its content. But come on adults; don’t fear your kids having questions about things. I read this book at a very young age and it didn’t affect me (What? Cynicism and anxiety are healthy. Leave me alone).

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