Hayao Miyazaki’s final feature The Wind Rises is a wonderfully constructed film. The animation is marvellous and the narrative enriching.
As a young boy, Jiro Horikoshi dreams of becoming a pilot and an aircraft designer, inspired by the famed Italian aeronautical engineer Giovanni Battista Caproni. As he grows up, Jiro ideas are taken on by the Japanese military…
The Wind Rises tackles a subject that provides an interesting setting. It marks a departure from recent Studio Ghibli films in that it concentrates on a more mature and less whimsical topic. The story of Jiro is an engaging one thanks to its historical context. It is a personal story, but one that increasingly has a wider importance.
The Wind Rises weaves in historical aspects into its narrative. The pre-World War II setting offers an insight into Japan. Moreover, the film sheds light on a figure who is not widely known, yet whose designs had a significant impact.
Miyazaki’s film is very much a paean to dreaming. This is illustrated by the Caproni sequences dotted throughout the film. The Wind Rises very much reinforces the necessity for dreaming, and the outcomes this achieves. It is a lovely message.
Less successful is the film’s romance strand. Whilst it gives Jiro’s character more depth and the film more drama, it is not as engaging as the central narrative. The running time of The Wind Rises could have been trimmed down slightly, as there are a few occasions when momentum feels slack.
The animation in The Wind Rises is excellent, as most would expect from Studio Ghibli. The landscapes and backgrounds in particular demonstrate a real artistry. The soundtrack is a fitting accompaniment for the mood of the film.
The Wind Rises is a fitting final film from Hayao Miyazaki, with the parallels between Jrio’s dreaming and that of filmmaking all too clear.