THE WIND RISES
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
NOVEMBER 30, 2014
Marked to be Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, “The Wind Rises” delivers an animated feast of colors beyond any of his previous films including “Spirited Away” (2002) and “Howls Moving Castle” (2005). Delving more into the human condition rather than any imaginary worlds, as most of his previous films do, this also ends up being Miyazaki’s most straightforward film yet. Telling the story of a young boy named Jiro Horikoshi, who dreams of building airplanes, he eventually grows into a man who grapples with building planes for military purposes. Struggling with his designs as well as the newfound love for a young woman named Nahoko Satomi, who has a terminal illness, Jiro ends up being one of Miyazaki’s most fleshed-out characters to date. Miyazaki does not completely abandon his supernatural flair, however, with Jiro visiting with a long-dead famous plane engineer in several dream sequences throughout the film.
Spanning decades and including some historical accuracy, “The Wind Rises” weaves in major events like the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, actual airplane designs from Mitsubishi from 1927-1932, and even Japan’s involvement in World War II. All of these events progress the storyline, becoming the driving force for emotional connections with the characters. Whether its Jiro’s continued conflicted nature over what planes he is building and what they are being used for, or how these events affect young Nahoko and cause her to remember Jiro throughout her life. With one of the most honest and memorable love stories between to characters, it will be said that Miyazaki’s writing held on strong for his entire characters, going out on one of his most intricate and expertly designed screenplays. Had the competition not been so stiff at the Academy Awards in 2014, with “Frozen” being the obvious frontrunner and eventually going on to win the Oscar, Miyazaki’s final film would have absolutely been next in line. Instead, it becomes the capstone to one of the most prolific careers in animation since Walt Disney. Inspiring, heartwarming and heartbreaking, if nothing else, “The Wind Rises” is stunning to look at.
November 8, 2013
Mike Jones (English)
(for some disturbing images and smoking)