Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Wind Rises

I just got back from watching The Wind Rises, the new film by Hayao Miyazaki.  I've been excited to see this since I heard he had a movie coming out.  Of course, that's dangerous; you might end up anticipating it too much, so it ends up disappointing.  But while this isn't the best film I've seen by Miyazaki, I did enjoy it.  Indeed, technically the film is a masterpiece of storytelling; it even avoids the weak endings of the otherwise perfect Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke.

The film, if you don't know, is about Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Japanese Zero WWII fighter.  Unsurprisingly, given Miyazaki's anti-war philosophy, the film does not glorify war.  The tale is of Jiro's quest to design a Japanese aircraft on a par with the rest of the world.  Jiro himself is portrayed as a man who revels in the beauty of flying machines, who would prefer peaceful aviation, though without turning him into a pacifist.  The dichotomy of designing these things that will be used to kill for whatever reason is not ignored, either.

Ultimately, the biggest weakness in this film for me was the emotional content.  There are scenes in Spirited Away, for example, that still hit me after multiple watches.  I don't think the same would be true here, at least not to the same extent.  The love story between Jiro and his sick wife, Naoko, lacks finesse and feels a bit trite in places.

Despite that, I definitely liked the film and would recommend it to pretty much anyone.  The small flaws are just that, small, and as a whole the story is masterfully told.

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