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The Wind Rises (2014) bad movie
Japan, 127 min, Rated PG (ON) G (QC)
Reviewed 03/14, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca
www.ofrb.gov.on.ca | www.rcq.gouv.qc.ca

Hayao Miyazaki - Director/Screenplay


"Jiro (voice of Joseph Gordon-Levitt) dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni (voice of Stanley Tucci). Nearsighted from a young age and unable to be a pilot, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers, earning the respect of prominent industry greats, including Hattori (voice of Mandy Patinkin) and Kurokawa (voice of Martin Short). The film chronicles much of Jiro’s life, depicting key historical events, including the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s plunge into war." - thewindrisesmovie.tumblr.com


The promising life's struggle of innovative Japanese aeronautical engineer Dr. Jiro Horikoshi - designer of the Imperial Navy's famed A6M Zero fighter plane - inspires this fictionalized animated effort from Studio Ghibli co-founder, director/screenwriter Hayao Miyazaki, where young Horikoshi's first job at Mitsubishi's aircraft factory in Nagoya soon pits his boyhood dream of building beautiful airplanes against his country's push for long-range bombers and superior fighter planes before the Pacific War during WWII. Originally released in Japanese as Kaze tachinu in 2013, the English-dubbed version of The Wind Rises features the voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, and Stanley Tucci, as Jiro Horikoshi, his eventual love interest Nahoko Satomi, Horikoshi's ornery supervisor Kurokawa, and Jiro's long-time hero, Giovanni Battista Caproni, respectively.

Most anime buffs are likely familiar with renowned Japanese animation director/screenwriter Hayao Miyazaki's work in Mononoke-hime (1997), Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001), and Hauru no ugoku shiro (2004). Here in the West, those films are known as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle. The Wind Rises and Miyazaki's last two feature-length animated films mentioned garnered Oscar nominations, with Spirited Away becoming the first anime movie to win an Academy Award, for Best Animated Feature. As for The Wind Rises, it's reportedly adapted from Miyazaki's 2009 Japanese manga comic book series, Kaze tachinu.

Possibly the most stunning aspect of this movie is how surprisingly underwhelming it is from beginning to closing credits. It's unclear whether of not Dr. Jiro Horikoshi (1903-1982) is generally considered a legendary hero in his native Japan, or a particularly exceptional figure by international aviation historians. He probably is. And, The Wind Rises may very well be the billionth time his life has been adapted for the screen over the years, but this stylized depiction of Horikoshi's years as a trailblazing young aeronautical engineer before and during WWII desperately fails to inspire any tangible reason for a paying audience to feel it needed to be made at all. His obsession over refining reduced wind drag through the perfection of flush rivets is kind of a buzz kill, frankly. Sure, The Wind Rises is clearly a mature, cinematic labour of love from director/screenwriter Miyazaki. Hardly a kids flick, his screenplay definitely takes great pains to present Horikoshi as a sympathetically doomed dreamer whose personal and professional successes were bittersweet. It's also worth mentioning that the attention paid to often-peripheral detail seen throughout is definitely a novel treat for watchful anime lovers. As well, the film's regular flights of whimsy featuring Jiro's dreamland moments with his Italian hero, Giovanni Battista Caproni, are fun. However, it's not enough. The picture is a tough one to relate to. (Read more)

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