Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Wind Rises

Movie Name: The Wind Rises
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, Mae Whitman, Werner Herzog, Jennifer Grey, William H. Macy, Darren Criss
Genre: Animation, Biography, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9

"The Wind Rises" was announced as the last film of director Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement shortly after the film came out. The film follows the true story of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes. We accompany the life of Jiro since his poor childhood, through his education in Tokyo, and  the hardship that followed a devastating earthquake in 1923. Jiro is an idealistic and a dreamer, a man who is deeply immersed in his passion for flying and creating airplanes. He falls in love with a young woman who sadly has a terminal illness, but both struggle to maintain their relationship.
Hayao Miyazaki has always been a unique film-maker - his films have always immersed the viewer in the relationship between Man and Nature. There has always been a magical and surreal element to his stories, but they have always been rooted in the concerns of how Man relates to his environment, and how careless and dangerous the ambition of humanity can doom their own destiny. My personal first encounter with Hayao Miyazaki's work, was with one of first projects,  the series "Future Boy Conan". That iconic show, already set forth all of his themes, that kept showing up throughout his more recent and well known endeavors, namely "Castle in the Sky", "Princess Mononoke", "Spirited Away" and "Howl's Moving Castle". "The Wind Rises" is, of all of his features, the one that is more anchored in reality, but it is nonetheless a poetic vision of someones' desire and ambition to fly, and how that dream can be corrupted and tainted for uses that are destructive and belligerent. The film is visually stunning, as is the case with all of the director's features. A beautiful film not to be missed.