Jirô Horikoshi: Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling, The wind is passing through.
Review by Elliott
This movie marks the end of Hayao Miyazaki’s directing career, at least of full length animated films. If you don’t recognize his name, you may be familiar with some of his works such as Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, or Spirited Away. For years he has worked with Studio Ghibli to create beautiful anime movies and Disney has helped to bring those great films here to the states. As of late, I’ve been delving into the world of anime so I have been interested in seeing this movie. However, I’d forgotten about it until the other day when my brother-n-law recommended it to me. Unlike Miyazaki’s other movie’s I’ve seen, this one has very little action and zero fantasy. It trades those in for historical fiction and drama. It is beautiful and thought provoking and held by many as his masterpiece.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jirô Horikoshi (voice)
John Krasinski as Honjô (voice)
Emily Blunt as Nahoko Satomi (voice)
Martin Short as Kurokawa (voice)
Stanley Tucci as Caproni (voice)
Mandy Patinkin as Hattori (voice)
Mae Whitman as Kayo Horikoshi / Kinu (voice)
Elijah Wood as Sone (voice)
- The protagonist Jirô Horikoshi is a fictional character made from a mix of the actual lives of Tatsuo Hori, the author of the short story of the same name, and Jirô Horikoshi, the designer of the Zero fighter aircraft. The title comes from Hori’s translation of a quote from Paul Valéry‘s poem “Le cimetière marin”.
- Concerned that surround sound in movie theaters distracted the audience from paying attention to what was happening on the screen, Miyazaki ordered the film to have a monaural sound mix.
- Human voices are largely used as sound effects, such as engine roars and earthquake sound.
- After the first screening of the film, director Miyazaki said it was the first time he ever cried during the screening of his own movie.
Plot (Summary from IMDB)
Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni. 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. The film chronicles much of his life, depicting key historical events, including the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s plunge into war. Jiro meets and falls in love with Nahoko, and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo.
On several occasions we see Jiro’s moral character come out. One such instance is during the Earthquake of 1923 . We see his selflessness and willingness to help complete strangers without motive and without wanting anything in return. In the earthquake a girls ankle is broken and he helps by making a splint and finding her family. This is just one of several instances we see his selflessness. Life is busy and sometime I get so focused on myself that I forget that I need to be thinking of and helping others. This brings to mind a verse I often think of which reminds me of my duty to help others if I am able.
1 John 3:17 – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
During a dream, Jiro has a conversation with Caproni, who asks him, “Which would you choose: a world with pyramids or a world without?” The point of this saying is that great and wonderful things often come from difficulty, pain, and suffering. Jiro wants to design beautiful airplanes, but he knows that they will be used for war. Caproni leaves it that, not offering up his own conclusions, but letting Jiro and the audience decide for themselves.
I see some spiritual parallels with this idea. Often times during our lives we face challenges physical, emotional, and spiritual. At the time of the difficulty we just want out, we want it to be over and everything to be easy and normal. However, it’s often times through these struggles that we mature and grow. We become better people. Without those challenges we would more than likely become stagnate. One of my favorite books of the bible talks about this exact thing. Beautiful and wonderful things can come from our trials we just have to grow through them and put our faith in God.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
So is this a good movie? It most certainly is, however it isn’t for everyone. Despite being animated, this is far from being a kids movie. Not because of any inappropriate content, but because the flow of the story and themes are for a more mature mind. If you tend to check your brain in at the door when you watch a movie then you’re not going to like this. With that said, I liked the movie and felt that I needed to watch it again, so that I could understand all the points the director was trying to make. Some movies get you pumped up and excited, this was not one of those. Instead it puts you into a quiet, thoughtful and contemplative mood. Although this movie has an all-star cast, I hardly noticed. Not because they did a poor job, but because I was lost in the excellent animation and the characters that were being brought to life. They did that good a job! The music was fitting for the tone of the movie, although it sounded like they used the same song multiple times with little variances each time based on the tone of the scene. From reading other review many people liked this. If you enjoy anime or appreciate art or a good story by a master director then you will like The Wind Rises. It is one of, if not the most beautifully animated movies I’ve ever seen. Despite the soberness of the event, my favorite scene is of the earthquake. How they animate the earthquake and the devastation it causes is amazing. I really enjoyed the movie and plan on watching it a couple more times, so that I can catch more of the subtle plot points. So much more could be said, but I hope if nothing else I’ve piqued your interest. Thanks for reading.