Friday, February 28, 2014

Movie Review: The Wind Rises

Outside of The Walt Disney Studios, my other favorite studio is Studio Ghibli led by master animator Hayao Miyazaki. When Miyazaki announced his retirement and that The Wind Rises would be his last film, I had high expectations for his swan song. He not only soars here on his final mark on animation but he exceeded my expectations.
The Wind Rises follows the journey of Jiro Hirokoshi, who has a passion for flying. We see him flying in his dreams with his hero, the Italian airplane designer Caproni. In his dream Jiro watches a plane crash and in real life his dreams of becoming a pilot crash as he doesn't have the proper eyesight to become a pilot. So, with the help of Caproni in his dream, Jiro decides to focus on becoming an airplane builder.
Jiro then dreams of his designs soaring through the skies. His dreams and eventually real life help him solve a design problem. But Jiro lives in the 1930s and Japan is gearing up for war. His design leads to a warplane that causes thousands of deaths. But Jiro isn't concerned about the war, he wants to create the perfect plane. His focus on perfectionism is much like Miyazaki. Miyazaki created a film that doesn't use his typical magical fairies or animals and instead uses people from history with great strengths and flaws. Jiro's relationship with his boss for instance seems very confrontational at first, but when the two finally see eye-to-eye a very unlikely friendship begins that plays out in an unexpected and surprising way.
In the end, I think the relationships are the entire point of the film. That despite the odds that we should strive to do better, to do more. In the event of the massive earthquake sequence where Jiro meets his future wife, we see him acting selflessly trying to save others. Perhaps this is Miyazaki's message, to do our best even in the worst of times. To be able to stand up triumphantly despite the number of times we have fallen.

The Wind Rises in theatres now.

1 comment:

  1. In some ways, this is still a very Miyazaki-esque film. The artwork is phenomenal! The ability of the studio to draw nature is always superb. The sun shining down or through trees, the wind blowing through a field, the rain as it falls, the stream as it flows, are all so beautifully depicted. The story is also bittersweet, which, I believe, truly is a strength of Studio Ghibli. The interactions among the characters drives the movie forward and I did not think there was a slow or hurried moment in the film.