29
Mar
14

The Wind Rises

Jiro and Naoko.

Hayao Miyazaki’s final film (until he un-retires again), The Wind Rises, is an excellent capstone to his already legendary career. The movie is decidedly less fantastical than the rest of his work, but just as emotionally moving as anything else.
The Wind Rises tells the story of Jiro Hirokoshi, a Japanese man who loves aviation. He has poor eyesight and is told he can never fly a plane, so he decides to do the next best thing: design airplanes. The film follows him from a young boy into his middle years as he toils to develop a new kind of airplane. The storytelling, while fictionalized, is quite riveting. You understand Jiro’s eagerness to build an aircraft, and you feel his successes and failures through each attempt.

The subplot of the movie is Jiro’s romance with his future wife, Naoko Satomi. She is introduced early in the film, then forgotten for about an hour, then finally returns again for the last half of the running time. Their romance is told in true Miyazaki style, whimsical and heartfelt, with an undercurrent of tragedy. As it turns out, Naoko has tuberculosis, and her time is limited. She and Jiro accelerate their relationship, and each supports the other as they struggle against their own personal adversities. The love story told here is not the cliche Hollywood bullshit you see in any other movie. It feels organic, and is punctuated with a bittersweet ending.

Jiro’s dream.

The acting is quite good. I have seen the American release, so I can only comment on the dub. The cast turns in fantastic performances as Disney hired tons of great actors to populate Miyazaki’s world. Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, and Martin Short imbue charm and liveliness into their respective characters. The only somewhat weak link is Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays Jiro. He turns in a very subdued, almost muted performance. Apparently, this was the same in the Japanese version, and it may have been Miyazaki’s intent for Jiro to be a quiet, almost melancholy person. If that was the intention, then Gordon-Levitt did a good job with the portrayal. He isn’t bad by any means, but I felt he was lacking something.
The animation, as always, was outstanding. Miyazaki’s world comes to life vibrantly and fluidly just as it always does. It was interesting to see the real world drawn in Miyazaki’s trademark style. Usually, he builds fantasy worlds, so seeing reality through his lenses was a treat. The historical backdrop (set against the years leading up to World War II) provided for an interesting story.
There are a few fantasy-like scenes, which occur during Jiro’s dreams. It seems that Miyazaki couldn’t stay away from having a little fun here and there. And who can blame him? The guy’s a genius, and he’s allowed to play if he wants to.
Overall, The Wind Rises was an excellent movie. If it really is Miyazaki’s last, then it was a good way for him to go out. The real world setting, the somber tone marked with moments of levity and fantasy, and the incredible animation show how mature a filmmaker Miyazaki is. He has had a great career over the decades, and he now has one more masterpiece under his belt.
Verdict: Awesome

Jiro’s plane.

 

 

 

 

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8 Responses to “The Wind Rises”


  1. 3 Fuero
    April 2, 2014 at 3:42 am

    Great review, I’m looking forward to seeing this movie. Oh and Brick, I’m waiting for your review about Evangelion Q, I expect nothing less than a hilarious rant from you!

    • April 5, 2014 at 8:14 am

      The first time I watched Q, I was speechless. I have to watch it again to formulate a proper review. I’m glad you liked my take on The Wind Rises, I’m sure you’ll like it.

      • 5 Fuero
        April 13, 2014 at 7:17 am

        To be speechless would be the intended effect, I suppose. I liked it for what it tried to do, but in hindsight a little less action and a little more character interaction would have been nice. Ditching 10 minutes of Wunder-launching-technobabble and using that for more character or story-driven scenes would have done the trick, I guess.
        But that’s what happens when an Otaku gets his hands on too much money.

      • 6 Chee
        April 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm

        Q was like watching End of Evangelion all over again. And the internet butthurt was just as delicious.

        (alsoIagreethatthismoviewasbrettygood)


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