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> Production > Studio Ghibli

The Wind Rises Review

Date: Wednesday 5th March 2014 [3:03] | Posted By: Joe

While Hayao Miyazaki's latest offering The Wind Rises awaits it's special UK preview on Wednesday 23rd April 2014, it is currently being shown in the US and Australia. We were lucky enough to catch a screening in English recently.

Here's our review of the film.
Full Story
Hayao Miyazaki's latest (and possibly final) feature film is not without controversy. The Wind Rises charts a fictionalised biography of Jiro Horikoshi an aviation engineer responsible for designing fighter planes. The movie is based on Miyazaki's manga.

The Wind Rises

As is tradition with Otaku News reviews, we'll keep it spoiler free, or as spoiler free as possible.

The film charts the early days of Jiro and his struggles to design beautiful and functional airplanes in a country without resources or experience. All he wants to do is design beautiful aircraft. During the movie we're reminded of the duality of designing machines of war.

The first act intermingles dreams and reality in a wonderful way that Miyazaki makes look effortless. The dream sequences are used to explain Jiro's motivation and influences. In his dreams we meet Italian engineer Caproni and are introduced to aircraft designs of the era.

The Wind Rises

It's no secret that Miyazaki is a massive aviation fan and this has been a common element of his previous films. In this film we've got Italian aircraft, biplanes, fighter planes, dream-like impossible planes and monstrous blimps. The attention to detail of a Ghibli production really shines through. Individual pistons on engines bob up and down. Each rivet is rendered in detail. Engines judder realistically. During some of the engineering sequences we see each strut rendered in the wing. It's as if the blue print for each plan has been carefully animated by hand. Engineering and aviation fans will love this film.

The film has many layers to it. It touches on the turbulent times between World War I and World War II. There's the whole element of making something beautiful that is also a weapon, plus a bit of romance and some background stories about Japan being in poverty. There's also a thread about artists and designers only having 10 years of greatness. Unfortunately none of these are really explored in much depth, making the movie feel a little unsatisfying.

Music wise Ghibli stalwart Joe Hisaishi was responsible for the score and hits all the right notes as you'd expect.

The Wind Rises

The movie must really be seen on the big screen to be enjoyed fully. The textures and detailing in the artwork that have made Studio Ghibli legendary punch through on a full sized cinema screen.

I watched the English dubbed version at the cinema. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a sterling job as Jiro. The dub is excellently done, and it's clear the voice actors have been hired for their vocal talent instead of any celebrity status.

The Wind Rises

In conclusion the movie is good. The story is interesting and the characters are compelling, but it's a bit disjointed at times, as so much is going on. It's just not on the same level as the movies that made Miyazaki great. It's a good movie, but not an excellent one. It lacks that certain something extra that Miyazaki does so well.

Otaku News

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