The Wind Rises review (Blu-ray)

Studio Ghibli co-founder and animator Miyazaki has threatened to retire before, but this time it looks like he means it. Deciding to end his reign with a more personal film seems a fitting tribute to a man who has done so much for hand-drawn animation in the years since Disney decided to bin it for CGI films.

The Wind Rises focuses on the true story of Jiro Horikoshi, the man responsible for designing the greatest Japanese fighter planes during World War II. The film chronicles his life as he works to emulate his hero, Italian aeronautical designer Caproni, alongside enjoying his blossoming relationship with Nahoko, the woman of his dreams.

As with all Studio Ghibli films, The Wind Rises looks beautiful. It’s easy to get lost in the magnificent background animation, with its decorative colours and wide sweeping vistas. The dream sequences are slightly abstract, yet create a jumping off point for each new venture Jiro is about to embark on. The wind blows constantly in this film and Miyazaki’s team must have studied the drawing lines of wind as this looks as real as can be when blowing through clothes and hair. Close-up human expressions and movement are rendered with stunning accuracy, and even Disney would struggle to get this close to actual human expressions. This exquisite animation is unrivalled in the world today.

The Wind Rises isn’t as easy viewing as many of Ghilbi’s previous films. This is very much a niche film that may not appeal to the wider audience. But understanding the parameters they are dealing with, the artists at Ghibli have still made it as open as possible. There are elements of Porco Rosso ingrained in the fabric of the picture, yet entirely set within the human realms this time.

Jiro is a character who is instantly likeable and you wish him all the best in his life. They don’t feel the need to give him a funny or moody angle as it would stray the film too far from the autobiographical angle. Instead we are seeing a straight-up, hard-working human being that has just as many life issues as anyone else. The first hour of the film does have a very slow pace to it as it does not rush to establish a story, rather allowing it to come onto the screen at its own pace. However, it does pick up in the second hour where the engineering and test flights are riveting viewing, alongside a love story that tugs at the heart-strings with each passing minute.

Don’t expect to be watching the new Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle; this is a more thought-provoking and emotional piece from Studio Ghibli that we haven’t seen since Princess Mononoke. It’s a highly personal film to Miyazaki where mature themes and real life issues combine to make a movie that is as light as a feather, but as deep as an ocean.

EXTRAS ★★★★★½ Text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in hereText to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in hereText to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please tick the box to prove you're a human and help us stop spam.

Comments

No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments