The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises

Is it good? Yeah, it is. I think I liked it more than the last 2 Ghibli movies I’ve seen, From Up on Poppy Hill and The Secret World of Arrietty.

Why? Well, let’s think what the film is. It’s a 2 hours biopic of someone more or less normal, not a film about heroes or drama or surprises or mysteries or an epic story. And the 2 hours passed flying in a moment, that’s the mark that it’s truly good. It’s almost perfectly paced and directed, I would say that’s its main virtue.
It gets to be entertaining and interesting movie about a aeronautical engineer, and it does thanks to all the passion about the main character’s dreams that the movie transmit to the viewer. It’s a film done with lots of passion about someone’s passion.
Of course it’s all idealized to represent Miyazaki’s own visions of dreams, reality sure was more prosaic. In a way it’s less a true biography of the designer Jiro Horikoshi and more an inspiration so Miyazaki could build his own part historical part fictional movie.

It also helps it’s a fucking beautiful movie, visually speaking. Background, foreground, mechanical animation, characters, animation in general, it’s pure big budget Ghibli visual fest. A must watch for animation fans.

The conflict between the ideal dream and the beauty of planes and just the beauty of someone pursuing his dreams and the reality of war and machines used in it, and the sadness at the end (“not even one came back”) is present in the film, but it doesn’t dominate it, it’s more a subdued theme that pops from time to time.

final part

The romance is nice and sad and it gives you feels, but in a way it feels a concession to make the film commercial, giving the elements of love and tearful drama for making the story more universal. He just had fall in love with a girl with tuberculosis, sigh. :( But as nice and sad it’s, I feel it clashes a bit with the rest of the movie, as it’s a personal story, and the movie is mostly a larger than life story about dreams and passion and inherent inner conflict in humankind for the love of war devices even for people that don’t love war.

PD : about the voice acted sounds, one of the most polemic parts of the film. Yeah, they sound bad.
In a way, it serves to reinforce the reality: that the machines in Miyazaki films are idealized, romanticized version of the real thing, not real machines. Real machines are noisy, loud, cold, annoying. In the film the engines booping and roaring and tossing up sounds fake but they seem more like a real living being (precisely, because they are done by humans!), they seem to breathe and a have heart that beats, they have a warm rhythm in them, not a whiny superfast rhythm like in real life. We can suppose Miyazaki searched that in a film where machines are so important. My theory is once they decided for it, the rest of real sound effects surely clashed with the fake ones in a jarring way, so some additional sound effects like pieces of a plane crashing on the ground or the earthquake also were done with voices.

I love Miyazki’s films, well except for Up On Poppy Hill, which I found rather boring. I’ll be waiting for this one to come to our local library.

I don’t think that was a Miyazaki film. One of my life milestones was meeting Miyazaki walking down a river path and talking to him for a few moments.

I’m not a huge fan of Miyazaki (I’ve only seen a handful of his movies, most of which I enjoyed, but I wouldn’t put him on part with Pixar’s golden era), and although I didn’t exactly dislike this, I was basically bored throughout much of it.

You are right to say the romance feels forced in by the studio. Whether it was doesn’t matter—it doesn’t work for the movie.

It probably didn’t help that it took me almost half the movie before I realized this was an idealized biography.

For my money, I’d stick with Porco Rosso.

Correct, From Up On Poppy Hill was directed by his son and he was a writer on it. I remembered that after I posted. Porco Rosso was delightful. Loved the plane.

As far as the romance goes, it didn’t feel tacked on to me (and really, I think Miazaki is in a position where he doesn’t need to make concessions) but another aspect of what he sacrificed for his dreams. It’s not overtly moralistic about it, but the end,
ending details, obv

which intercuts his beautiful dream launching with his wife striding off to die after expending what’s left of her health on seeing him through the project, and the field of burnt out zeroes

is damning about the cost of his dreams.

Answering Sören

I think it also points to how beauty is ephemeral.

The Zero fighter ended in a pile of rubble, and his love story was intense but short lived. I don’t think it’s damning or condemning having dreams because their high cost, more trying to express that dreams are worth pursuing even with their costs. His beautiful plane was turned in the end in a war machine, which ended with lives of both their pilots and enemies, but the journey of the dream (from the slender plane in his head to the final prototype) was beautiful to see. The same happens with the love story. They both knew it that it would end in that way, since the moment she confessed she was sick with tuberculosis and Jiro still said he still wanted to marry her; because it’s worth having a one year happy marriage even if the sad end will be there at the end, than not having a love story in the first place because they knew if would have an expiration date. She knew she was going to die sooner rather than later, so she chose to spend him near him even if it was a brief time than far away without him.


Keeping it fairly general, but what the hell

[spoiler]Firstly, the journey from idea to finished product is beautiful, and it would have to be for Jiro to be sympathetic at all. Because the plane isn’t turned into a war machine at the end, it is one from the very start. The military is the one place where he can build his machines. From the very beginning, he’s complicit.

As for the relationship and her spending time with him at the end, they aren’t really together, enjoying their brief time. Rather, she serves the function that was articulated by his colleague earlier in the movie: “A man needs a family so he can spend all his time at work.” She’s a support structure so he can get the project done. Not because he doesn’t love her or anything, but she’s not as important as his dream.

And yes, the dream is very beautiful. But that end is incredibly bitter.

Coming from Miyazaki at the end of his career, it feels borderline self-flagellating.[/spoiler]