Thursday, January 16, 2014

'The Wind Rises' Review

'The Wind Rises,' a film by Hayao Miyazaki
Oscar nominations were announced today, and one of the selections for animated films was The Wind Rises, directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

I caught a screening of the film at AFI Fest 2013 in November, without CC, and I've thought a lot about the movie ever since.

If you've ever seen a Miyazaki film (CC loves the ones she's seen -- Ponyo and Howl's Moving Castle), you know how the Japanese director captures sounds and scenes so beautifully. In fact, the sound of wind moving through blades of grass is something of a signature for him. It's almost as if you're right there and you need to brush away a few windblown strands of hair from your face. He's that good.

So I was excited to catch The Wind Rises at the festival. The film, which reportedly will be his last before retirement, takes on a subject close to his heart -- aviation.

The story centers on real-life aerospace designer Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the prototype for the Zero WWII fighter. It's about his talent, ambition, as well as him falling in love.

While it's not a film for small children -- the English-language version coming out in February is rated PG-13, which is why I didn't write about it earlier -- it is a gorgeous film for teens and above.

What's particularly complicated is its journey through World War II Japan, Japan's uneasy ties with Nazi Germany, and the looming sense of the inevitable -- knowing that Japan will eventually attack the U.S.

That and its length (just over 2 hours) is why we'll have to wait several years for this one.

But it is a gorgeous glimpse of Japan in the 1940s and earlier. And a perfect name as well -- because not only do planes and dreams take flight, but also that beautiful wind, which you don't even have to see to believe.

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