The Wind Rises is the eleventh feature film from acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, and it has been said that it’ll be his final film. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe two of his best-known films will help you: Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. I’m a little out of the anime scene these days, but I always check out the latest Studio Ghibli film, so I had to see this grand finale in theatres. It also happens to be the first Miyazaki film that my theatre has gotten.
I have a confession to make, though: I’m not a fan of the director’s work. A few of his films are decent, but I’ve never been blown away. The Wind Rises, however, is a stunningly beautiful film in many different ways. I not only liked The Wind Rises, but I absolutely fell in love with it.
The film follows Jiro Horikoshi, a young boy who dreams of planes. He realizes at a young age that he will never be able to fly a plane because he wears glasses, so he does the next best thing: builds them. The film follows Jiro as he makes his way through school and into the aero field during World War II. There’s more to the film, but to go further takes away from the heart of the it. Jiro grows and ages as the film progresses, and while no real time frame is given, the audience can just feel it. Some may argue that the lack of World War II moments hurt the film, but really, the war isn’t the main point of The Wind Rises, and instead it’s just one other factor of Jiro’s life.
I was only able to see the film dubbed (as opposed to subtitled) but, honestly, it was an excellent dub. It features some of Hollywood’s best talent, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt. Not once did I realize I was listening to these actors, and I didn’t even realize who they were until the credits rolled and was surprised by each actor listed.
The animation won’t stun you if you’re looking for the next CGI “masterpiece”. However, it’s almost like a painting come to life. The wind and water is just breathtaking at times. What I really loved is that the dream sequences scream of Federico Fellini, and that zany off-kilter fun breaks away from the serious tone of rest of the film while still maintaining the key to the heart of the film.
Even the music brings the film to life, and is easily my favorite film score from the last few years. Every scene is perfectly orchestrated, fits everything that is happening, and never works against a scene. It’s just another part of a beautiful experience.
I went into The Wind Rises with low expectations. I didn’t know much about the plot except “Planes and World War II”. My dislike of the director’s previous films also helped keep my expectations low, but at the end of the day, the film moved me. It’s a beautiful story and brought a few tears to my eyes once the credits started rolling. The Wind Rises is currently in theatres as a limited release right now, so if you’re theatre isn’t getting it, I highly recommend seeking it out on Blu-ray or DVD once it hits home markets.