Saturday, March 1 2014, 06:48 PM MST
Movie Review: The Wind Rises
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt
Genre: Animated, Biography, Drama
Recommended To: Fans of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli as well as history buffs and those simply looking for an intelligent animated film for older audiences.
Synopsis: The life of Jiro Horikoshi, the boy who would become the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.
Review: The Wind Rises is a gorgeous film with an interesting story. I always enjoy a good biography, particularly when it gives me insight to a culture or era that is far removed from my own and this film qualifies in both areas. The story of Jiro Horikoshi was completely unfamiliar to me in that I had never heard it, but it was familiar in that as a child I too had dreams of being a pilot (albeit my imagination had me flying an X-Wing). It is in some ways a foil to the film October Sky, which is also a sentimental favorite of mine. The film also reminds me of Tora! Tora! Tora! in the sense that I’m being shown a different perspective on World War II. Some might consider these to be strange thoughts, particularly considering this is an animated film, but that is the power of Miyazaki. He makes films that excite the mind. Often this is because his films are filled with a wild sense of fantasy, and while The Wind Rises does feature some wonderful dream sequences, this film is more grounded in a heightened reality like Isao Takahata’s brilliant Grave of the Fireflies (one of the finest anti-war films ever made) as Jiro goes in search of the great beauty of flight despite being rejected as a pilot because he is nearsighted. I see myself in him; a stranger from another time and place. That’s great and insightful filmmaking.
-Ryan Michael Painter