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When The Wind Blows (1986)

Aw what a nice family portrait. Mum, dad and shroomy
Aw what a nice family portrait. Mum, dad and shroomy.

Genre: Animated Apocalyptic Drama (UK)

Starring: John Mills (Gandhi; The Big Sleep), Peggy Ashcroft (A Passage to India; The 39 Steps)

Directed By: Jimmy T. Murakami (Heavy Metal)

Overview: A man prepares his home against impending nuclear attack with the help of government brochures. All the while, his wife concerns herself with more domestic endeavours as they wait for the bomb to drop.

Performance:

Two people, one house in the country. It's not a small feat keeping audiences entertained with so little, but the quirky way this tale unfolds is strange enough to carry us to the end, in all it's quaint British accented glory.
Rating: 8

Cinematography:

Beside having an animation style typical for the 80s, there's a nice touch in occasional rotoscoped moments. Simple detail shots like the dusty doorframe and the dirty living room after the bomb has dropped give an edge of reality that drives the point home just a little bit better.
Rating: 8

Script:

Announcer: We are now interrupting this broadcast for an official government announcement. An enemy missile attack has been launched against this country. It is estimated that the missiles will arrive in approximately three minutes. Three minutes.

Jim: God almighty, Ducks! There's only three minutes to go!
Hilda: Oh dear! I'll just get the wash in.
Jim: Come back you stupid bitch, and get in the shelter!
Hilda: There's no need to forget your manners just because there's a war on.

Consistently, this is the dynamic between husband and wife. He's all about the preparedness, and she's all about the everyday. The curtains getting paint on them, the wallpaper getting nicked by the doors used to make the shelter, these measures don't matter to the woman who just wants to keep her house in order.  She lets him do his thing, but seems to have all the obvious important questions, like "how are we supposed to close the doors when you've taken them all of their hinges?"
Rating: 9

Plot:

If you're into nuke movies as seen by the average country layman, this is certainly for you. The question of survival is approached simply while still having a deep cynical undercurrent, since the instructions Jim is using is a series of government issued pamphlets, and much like the old Duck and Cover cartoons, we suspect that everything being done might just be busy work.
Rating: 8

Mood:

The characters and their quirky conversations is what makes the film. Mind you, the movie is exclusively these two people and how they deal with a major apocalyptic event.  What I found most endearing about When The Wind Blows is the constant positive outlook Jim has throughout their ordeal.  The fact that these two truly don't understand the consequences of thermonuclear war, is, well, quaint. A live action film with people who were more serious, with a greater understanding of their predicament, well that would just make for a serious docu-drama... and that's been done.
Rating: 9

dinner
Sometimes the 'Before' picture is the better one...

Overall Rating: 84% (It Blows For Thee)
Aftertaste:

I don't know what it is about nukes that make girls queasy. I suppose no woman (correct me if I'm wrong, what an interesting revelation THAT would be) has ever ordered the launch of nuclear weapons on planet Earth, but from what I've seen personally, I think it just plain freaks them out.

Threads made one of my friends flee the house, and When The Wind Blows made Girlfriend of Squish go read a book.

It's not happy. That's why it's so cool.

Combine that with the weird child-like animation storytelling style? Well that's just awesome surreal.

A nice little find indeed.

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Where did you find this?! I've so wanted to see this film again for ages. I remember watching it shortly after it came out - it creeped me out cuz I was one of those kids who was mortally terrified of nuclear war. But I still loved WTWB. I saw it a few times in the late '80s then forgot about it for a couple of decades. Would love to get my hands on a copy for an evening.


Sadly it was an .avi a friend lent to me, so you'd have to run it off the computer, however I could see if he's willing to let it go.  You in Ottawa?


I'm Ron! (I say that with mock contempt, as if you had any possible way of knowing who Mistergone is.) 


I'd never heard of WTWB before I found this website, but I remember during the eighties all the talk and rumors of nuclear devestation. I was in my early teens and we would have emergency drills in school during which an alarm would sound and everyone would crouch under their desks. What an era that was. These practice runs terrified me as a child, but even then we as children didn't understand the finality of a nuclear detonation. When I saw The Day After as a teen I remember thinking that we would just cease to exist if it ever happened.

This cartoon makes The Day After seem upbeat, in fact The Day After has a positive spin at the end, but WTWB does not. This film brought back memories of a very unique point in history. The animation was mesmerizing and the soundtrack was equally right on. I imagine the opportunity for Roger Waters to record a song for a film like this was right up his alley.

 WTWB is not a feel-good movie, but it is timeless and the UK never ceases to impress me with their style of storytelling. Anyone considering watching this should watch it and follow it up with watching "Threads", though maybe not in the same viewing.

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