Miyazaki's latest is undoubtedly one of the top 3 animated feature films of this year.
Ever since he was a young boy in Japan, Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian airplane designer Caproni. Growing up with an obsession for engineering, Jiro joins a Japanese aviation company and becomes one of the world’s most radical and accomplished airplane designers. He spends decades attempting to design the fastest and most elegant plane in Japan. However, he is horrified to learn that millions of his planes are sent off as tools of battle in World War 2.
The new Oscar-nominated Miyazaki animation film details much of Jiro’s life, and Japanese historical events, such as the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, and Japan’s struggle during the 2nd world war. The film describes the struggles of a passionate inventor and his efforts to guide a country stuck in the past into a new technological age. The film also shows his personal life, including helping others during the earthquake, his lasting bond with his friend, and how he fell in love with a girl he met long ago.
“The Wind Rises” is undoubtedly one of the top 3 animated feature films of this year. The clean, 2D feel is refreshing after a whole year of 3D movies. Miyazaki’s last film is the most realistic film he’s ever directed, with every detail believable and true to life, except for Jiro’s magical childhood dreams. As the Italian engineer Caproni once told Jiro, “planes are cursed dreams.” Jiro finally understands what his words mean when he realizes that his planes cause the deaths of millions. Nevertheless, he continues to design beautiful machines because he believes it is his destiny.
I think the film will appeal mostly to teenagers and adults because of the serious, mature nature of the story, although preteens who are into warfare and aviation may also find it intriguing.
I give “The Wind Rises” four starfish. It is not Miyazaki’s best work, but it is still a wonderful film with a powerful message that resonates with me: Beauty can be found even in the darkest of times.
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