The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about Miyazaki’s last film “The Wind Rises” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer. Don’t forget to take a shot at the “best ever” challenge in the comments!
The other day my 10 year old son walks in and says, “So Dad do you ever watch American movies anymore?” Apparently not son, apparently not.
“The Wind Rises” is apparently the final movie from famed Japanese animator and director Hayao Miyazaki the man behind movies like Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Ponyo, and many other movies that look amazing on the screen and then fly completely over my head. This one is about a young man who falls in love with designing airplanes and how that affects his ultimate choices in life. So, Can “The Wind Rises” connect with me when so many of the others didn’t? Well, we shall see. Let’s start with the good stuff.
“The Wind Rises” is absolutely gorgeous. This animation is incredible, beautiful, and wonderfully fluid. It’s the kind of stuff you need available if anyone thinks hand drawn animation is a thing of the past. There are moments that are as visually captivating and creative as anything I saw this year. Just gorgeous gorgeous stuff. I also loved that in a story about a young boy wanting to be a plane designer that so many of the sound effects sounded like they were done vocally, as if children playing with toys, though I can see how some might find this distracting, I found it to be a beautiful reminder of the spirit of the movie. Plus, the engineering stuff seemed genuinely intriguing, and I almost felt like I learned something from the intricately drawn blueprints. I mean, not like, I’ll be building a metal bomber in my back yard or anything… but I kinda feel like I could if I wanted to. Honestly though, Miyazaki’s stuff, as beautiful as it, is is often lost on me even though I appreciate him as an artist. But I have to say, The Wind Rises managed to feel a bit more grounded than his other films, and also … a bit more boring.
Yeah, unfortunately I still didn’t quite connect with this story. I mean I get it, but I just couldn’t get into it. The story is very loose and as much as that gives a particular emotion it also creates distance between me and the movies major contact points. These films play in many ways like a lullaby, beautiful and soothing even as darkness lurks underneath. It’s just that lullabies also often result in making me sleepy, and that’s unfortunately too often the case here. I understand and respect why many find this kind of filmmaking to be beautiful but it’s just too ponderous and abstract for me. But hey, it’s Miyazaki. you kinda know what you’re in for.
Overall “The Wind Rises” is a fitting swan song for Miyazaki. It’s a stunning feat of animation that tells a broad, and sometimes sleepy, story. If you’re a fan of his work you will likely find it a fitting curtain call, for me it is with utmost respect that l go with a B.
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