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The Wind Rises (2013)

aka The Wind Rises

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: · Japanese, French, German, Italian

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More Isn't Always Better

Miyazaki's works have always dazzled and fascinated me, even when I haven't held them in the highest regard; with such beautiful animations and sprite-like ideas and characters, it's hard not to be sucked in to such an mystic, colorful world. That being said, while Ghibli Studios presents some of the best artistry in the industry, the concepts and stories, while imaginative, aren't always the most sound; while pieces like My Neighbor Totoro are overly child-like with some hidden meanings that can only really be delved into with outside information, which is innately problematic from pure viewing perspective, The Wind Rises suffers from perhaps the opposite, trying to cram a variety of meanings and multiple story lines spliced and diced into some form of narrative.

The Wind Rises is historical fiction, regaling the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who went on to bring one of the most brilliant airplane designs to the Japanese during World War II. However, much in Miyazaki fashion, this process...(more)

Miyazaki's works have always dazzled and fascinated me, even when I haven't held them in the highest regard; with such beautiful animations and sprite-like ideas and characters, it's hard not to be sucked in to such an mystic, colorful world. That being said, while Ghibli Studios presents some of the best artistry in the industry, the concepts and stories, while imaginative, aren't always the most sound; while pieces like My Neighbor Totoro are overly child-like with some hidden meanings that can only really be delved into with outside information, which is innately problematic from pure viewing perspective, The Wind Rises suffers from perhaps the opposite, trying to cram a variety of meanings and multiple story lines spliced and diced into some form of narrative.

The Wind Rises is historical fiction, regaling the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who went on to bring one of the most brilliant airplane designs to the Japanese during World War II. However, much in Miyazaki fashion, this process is presented through overly fantastical dream sequences and historical events made to seem almost unreal, such as the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, sprinkled through the path of his rising career as an aeronautical designer. The strongest example of this is when Caproni, an Italian aircraft designer that Jiro studies when a young student, comes to visit Jiro in his dreams, the two claiming that they share a dream, both literally and figuratively. But don't be fooled by the fact that this other character seems to have a big role, as, in actuality, he only shows up a few times. This film is Jiro's story through and through, with all of the other characters made only to accentuate that, either providing insights about him or providing motivation or perhaps giving him a job. This makes the world appear less interesting, at least for me, as this brings across the idea that this world isn't so much full of interesting characters (though there are one or two we meet briefly), but instead houses a bunch of props for Jiro to lean on.

This isn't helped by the fact of the world itself already retaining an aura of the mundane, even with Team Ghibli's creative use of color and images. For historical fiction, the only things that are made up, to the best of my knowledge, are some of the more absurd airplane designs (which only appear a couple of times pretty early on) and the romance, but we'll get back to that later. It feels like this piece should have been made by another company, as the art style never seems to fit the tone or ideas being presented. And the tone as it is is all over the place, with the introductory scene setting up an entirely different genre of film while swapping out three or four others over the course of the piece. And this could be amounted to the reality of how lives are, not one stagnant tone but a cacophony, but this doesn't necessarily make a good movie.

The biggest issue, however, comes from the romance shoved into the piece. Based off an old fictional legend, the female love interest is forced to make appearances for a few moments at the start of the film before disappearing for a good hour, but ultimately taking up a chunk of the story in the latter half. Instead of forwarding the story at all, it seems to drag it out, pulling attention away from our somewhat bland character, who is too focused on his work to properly emote much beyond the occasional smile, to an even less interesting individual. I'd rather not go into detail about the specifics of what happens in their relationship or the source material, but it's clearly meant for the audience to see Jiro as human and capable of compassion. And, while it succeeds to do this marginally, it also takes up a lot of time that could be better spent.

Now, while I've ragged on this movie a bit, it isn't bad; it may be overly metaphorical, constantly stopping to mention the film title in dialogue or try and ask the audience one question or another not too subtly, and it may try to bite off more than it can chew, yes. But, beyond the romance, it seems to faithfully retell the story of a conflicted individual, both in how he viewed himself and how the world views him today. It's a curious story that can hook you in, especially if you're easily invested in history or gorgeous art. For me, however, the little niggling things grew to bother me too much to say I'd want to watch it again. But I highly recommend checking it out at some point, if for no other reason than to have that conversation about how they viewed it. It's a strange, experimental piece, but what more could we expect from Miyazaki's supposedly last film? (less)

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Starts well, evoking the protagonist's dreams of flight, and the impressionistic earthquake sequence is very impressive, with the vocal sound effects providing an unusual dreamlike quality.
Then in the second half it loses pace and the dull romantic subplot becomes a distraction. Dialogue is weak and the characters remain merely sketched in, with less depth or shading than the images. A shame that this was Miyazaki's final film.

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This was a truly beautiful movie. Very different from Miyazaki's typical style. I loved every moment of it. It is so very rare that I can just sit back and enjoy a movie with out analyzing it, and this movie did that for me. EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH IT

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Cast:

No_movie_poster Jirô Horikoshi
No_movie_poster Hattori
Small Kayo Horikoshi
No_movie_poster Naoko Satomi
Small Honjô
No_movie_poster Kurokawa
No_movie_poster Kurokawa's Wife
No_movie_poster Caproni
No_movie_poster Jirô's Mother
No_movie_poster Kastrup
No_movie_poster Satomi

Crew:

Small Hayao Miyazaki Director
No_movie_poster Toshio Suzuki Production
Small Hayao Miyazaki Writer
No_movie_poster Takeshi Seyama Editing

Plot:

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2014-02-28 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2013-09-05 : South Korea

Theatrical : 2013-07-20 : Japan

Theatrical : 2013-09-18 : Taiwan

Theatrical : 2013-11-08 : Los Angeles

Theatrical : 2013-11-08 : New York City

Theatrical : 2013-12-19 : Hong Kong

Theatrical : 2014-01-22 : France

Theatrical : 2014-02-21 : Brazil

Theatrical : 2013-02-21 : Canada

Theatrical : 2014-02-21 : United States of America

2013-09-01 : Venice

2013-09-11 : Toronto

2013-09-20 : Donostia / San Sebastián

2013-09-28 : New York City

2013-10-10 : Hawaii

2013-10-11 : Sitges

2013-10-11 : São Paulo

2013-11-08 : United States of America