THE WIND RISES
Beauty Serving Evil
Release Date: February 21, 2014
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 126 minutes
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures/Walt Disney Company
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Executive Producer: Koji Hoshino
Producer: Toshio Suzuki
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Address Comments To:Robert Iger, President/CEO, The Walt Disney Company (Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Hollywood Pictures)
Alan Horn, Chairman, Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000; Website: www.disney.com
The movie begins with young Jiro dreaming of flying his very own little plane attached to the roof of his family’s home. The rest of the movie contains other dreams of Jiro’s about the beauty of flying and flying machines.
While Jiro dreams of airplanes, including fanciful encounters with a famous Italian engineer, the movie shows Jiro helping a teenage girl in a massive earthquake and starting work for Mitsubishi in its aircraft division. After a trip to Hitler’s Germany to pick up tips on building steel airplanes, Jiro meets the girl all grown up, and the two fall for one another. The girl inspires Jiro to keep working on his career dreams, but a tragic illness clouds their future, hopes, and dreams.
THE WIND RISES contains echoes of the destruction that World War II wrought, including the oppression of the Japan’s military government during that time. One of the most striking is when Jiro dreams of walking amid the wreckage of a bunch of burned and crashed Zero fighters (the Zero was notorious for not giving the Japanese pilot much protection). However, these are just mere echoes.
Ultimately, therefore, while one can admire some of the artistry in THE WIND RISES, the movie fails to be worthy of true commendation. Also, the story meanders a bit. Thus, the protagonist doesn’t encounter his love interest again until more than halfway through the running time. Consequently, the movie’s premise seems divided between the protagonist’s fascination with the beauty of man-made aircraft and his fascination with the girl of his dreams.
It’s clear that Miyazaki is an extremely talented animator. However, some of his movies contain too many pagan, immoral (and sometimes even occult) elements.
THE WIND RISES is beautifully animated, especially when the hero reunites with the girl, and when he dreams about the beauty of airplanes. However, the movie becomes a very strange, and rather uncomfortable, salute to the “beauty” behind a war machine designed to take away people’s liberties rather than defend them. Also, the story meanders a bit. Thus, while one can admire some of the artistry in THE WIND RISES, the movie fails to be worthy of true commendation.