Release Date
8 November 2013
Hayao Mayazaki
Hayao Mayazaki
Mike Jones (english version)
Rated PG-13
126 minutes

08four-stars— 4 out of 5 stars

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 new found 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 effect 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, heart warming and heart breaking, if nothing else, “The Wind Rises” is absolutely stunning to look at.


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