The Wind Rises
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
A lifelong love of flight inspires Japanese aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, whose storied career includes the creation of the A-6M World War II fighter plane.
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★★★★½ review by Matt Singer on Letterboxd
"Humanity dreams of flight, but the dream is cursed. Aircraft are destined to become tools for slaughter and destruction."
I'm not a Miyazai expert. I still haven't seen several of his early films, and I've been pretty mixed on most of his recent stuff. But I thought this was an absolute masterpiece about how the perfection we seek to achieve in life is only really attainable in dreams -- or, on rare occasions, in art.
★★★★½ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd
Like Kubrick, Welles, Ford, Malick, and many other capital-G Great directors, you'd be hard pressed to come to an agreement on Miyazaki's finest film. They're all so aching with feeling - a universal past laced with eventual adulthood and the unbearable beauty of fantasy - but each singular in voice and tone. Everyone has a favorite, and in the case of The Wind Rises, the highest compliment that I could give it is that, one day, it could be MY Miyazaki; a film swept up by elemental pleasures and a haunting depiction of the passage of time that borders on the ethereal. It dances with the wind, building an evocative and gentle romance, which is almost Sirkian, around a complex study of the dreams we have and where they lead. Its lyrical pleasures climb towards a final scene, a piece engrained in the panethon of whispered love, to which we should bow to.
★★★★★ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd
(or "Jiro Dreams of Mitsubishi")... unspeakably beautiful & bittersweet. Miyazaki may have saved the best for last.
major looooolz to any critic who thinks the film brushes over the destructive ends to which the planes Jiro created are used.
full review tk.
★★★★ review by Evan on Letterboxd
If this is in fact Miyazaki's last film, he certainly went out on a high note. While I don't find The Wind Rises to be one of his best films, it is still very good. If you've never experienced on of his films before, I truly feel sorry for you. Hayao Miyazaki is the best animated director of all time. An absolute mastermind!
★★★½ review by CinemaClown on Letterboxd
From the mastermind behind anime classics like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke & Spirited Away, The Wind Rises is possibly the final feature film in the glorious film career of the greatest animator of all time whose contribution to this medium has been so profound, influential & immense that the world of cinema, art & culture will forever be indebted to his works.
Set in pre-World War II Japan, The Wind Rises is a fictional biography of Jiro Horikoshi; the chief engineer of many fighter planes that were used by the Japanese militia during the war. The plot covers his rise from an ambitious dreamer to one of the most innovative designers of airplanes, and through his life story also covers many events that had significant effects on Japanese infrastructure.
Written & directed by Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises is his eleventh & final feature-length film and although it may not be as magical as his most memorable works, it's undoubtedly his most emotional film to date. Appealing more to adults than children, The Wind Rises exquisitely showcases the entire futility of war & how some of the most beautiful creations by mankind was used for their very own destruction.
One of Miyazaki's rare films to not feature a female protagonist, The Wind Rises still brims with most of his trademarks and is a delightful nod to aviation, ambition & dream pursuits. The hand-drawn animation is absolutely jaw-dropping to look at for it is extremely detailed, seamlessly rendered & highly realistic in its depiction. Camerawork is brilliantly carried out as well while the editing lets the plot breathe & progress at its own set pace.
It's not really difficult to see why The Wind Rises may alienate few Miyazaki fans for it lacks that childlike sense of wonder that has defined every single one of his works, thus making them appeal equally to viewers of all ages. The tone here is much serious, the elements of fantasy as well as pleasant attempts at humour is sorely missing & the narrative as a whole is sentimental, heartbreaking & even emotionally scarring to a considerable extent.
On an overall scale, The Wind Rises is another quality addition to a legendary film career that arguably has no equals. This is one rare filmmaker who never actually made a bad film for every single work by him has been a truly magical ride that left me dazzled, entertained & satisfied. His swan song is more or less bittersweet in taste but it is nonetheless fitting for the legend who, in a career spanning half a century, showed us the vast potential of what creative imagination can accomplish & for that alone, he deserves to end his journey on his own terms. And he does!
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