Like all of writer and director Hayao Miyazaki’s “final” films, “The Wind Rises,” his latest (and apparently last) animated masterpiece, is no exception to the greatness and dedication that this creator puts into his work.
“The Wind Rises” is a fictionalized historical piece, based on a real-life engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who was the designer of the World War II fighter plane, the Mitsubishi A5M and A6M Zero.
The premise may sound confusing but that’s just how Miyazaki rolls. The film itself flows very nicely and is quite cohesive.
With every film that Miyazaki comes out with, you watch as his creativity grows and his boundaries get pushed further. Although “The Wind Rises” does tackle a more realistic approach than what we usually see from Miyazaki, he does still manage to let his imagination run wild and create an approachable view of Japan during one of its darker periods.
That being said, this is one of Miyazaki’s most mature films and would not sit well with younger audiences. But that is what I like about it.
At the showing for this film that I had went to, the theater consisted of mostly adults, young and old, from many different walks of life. They laughed when it was time to laugh and stayed silent when the scene had turned dark and serious. They were captivated and engrossed by the film’s complexity. That was when I knew that this film, as subtle as it was from its predecessors, was on a whole different level as far as Miyazaki films go.
It is unfortunate that “The Wind Rises” is on a limited release in the U.S. This film is, in my opinion, Miyazaki’s best work by far and fully deserves its nominated spot for the Oscars category for “Best Animated Feature Film.” “Frozen” has got some tough competition.
I highly recommend this film. Though, I do recommend watching it subtitled if possible. Although the voice acting was not horrible for the English dub, the prominent use of celebrity voice is apparent. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance as the main character Jiro falls flat. The whole time I hear him speak, which is the majority of dialogue in the film, I lose a little bit of the character and keep thinking in my head about the actor portraying it.
Overall, I give this movie a 4 ½ stars out of 5