Jiro (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni (voiced by Stanley Tucci). Nearsighted from a young age and thus unable to become a pilot, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world's most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. The film chronicles much of his life, depicting key historical events including The Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic, and Japan's plunge into war. Jiro meets and falls in love with Nahoko (voiced by Emily Blunt) and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo (voiced by John Krasinski).
It has finally arrived, the day nobody really wanted to see since the first Miyazaki film was released in 1979. The Wind Rises marks the last time legendary director Hayao Miyazaki is helming a feature film as he is heading off to what one hopes will be a happy retirement and if The Wind Rises is truly his last big feature then he will have left on an enviable high that few directors finish their stories on as The Wind Rises is one of his finest pictures he has crafted since Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro.
The film follows the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of Japanese World War 2 fighter planes and his life leading up to his greatest achievements. The film gives viewers a look at the state of Japan in between world wars and how Jiro crafted his creations in a country that was suffering through some of its worst problems in centuries from earthquakes to the great depression and how each of these events turned him into the man he was supposed to be.
Unlike his various pictures that employed fantasy elements to tell their stories, The Wind Rises is strictly a drama, a richly designed and vivid view of Japan in an era that brought pain and suffering in its droves and yet under Miyazaki’s careful designs this Japan is one full of possibilities and the chance to triumph despite the terror befalling those around you. Jiro was lucky to see this side of Japan, not the one The Wind Rises hides behind bright colours and eternal optimism.
The film tells a powerful story and uses Japan’s history to its advantage while bringing out the best of Miyazaki films from the sense of wonder to the endless possibilities that the film alludes to. This is fine filmmaking, let alone fine animation and while it will be a considerable loss to the medium I’m glad I got to see one last masterpiece before he hung up his pencil
You rated this film: 5
George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Parental Guidance - general viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children