Film Review: The Wind Rises

Updated on June 7, 2017

This film is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, who was a plane designer and engineer prior to and during World War Two. The film follows Jiro's life. It begins when he grows up dreaming about the beauty and power of planes and having dream interactions with an Italian plane designer named Mr. Caproni.

The film follows Jiro mainly as an adult later, detailing the years when he went to school, how he met his wife, her struggle with sickness, and how he struggled to create better planes, at a time when Japanese planes were hopelessly behind other countries'. He travels to Germany, dealing with the disdain German engineers have for his "backward" country. He works hard when he returns, showing a knack for innovation and real determination to drive his country forward so it will be taken more seriously.

It's a bittersweet film, about how life gives us ups and downs (literally, in the case of plane engineering) and we have to make sacrifices. It makes a strong case for not letting go of one's dreams. It's about how the human spirit persists in the face of defeat.

Title:
The Wind Rises
Director:
Hayao Miyazaki
Studio:
Ghibli
Year:
2013
Run Time:
126 min.
Source Material:
Manga and Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki
Genre(s):
Historical Fiction, Drama

Review:

As is to be expected of Hayao Miyazaki, this movie is Oscar-quality. The film is like a sad, skillfully played violin solo, a fine work of art that makes us think deeply and feel deeply. One thing you'll notice is, outside of the dream sequences, The Wind Rises has fewer fantasy elements than almost any other Studio Ghibli work. There's also much more of a focus on humans, whereas many other Ghibli movies involve Shinto spirits or talking animals. So, it lacks what some people might like about Ghibli, but it ends up making a more serious, adult-feeling film, because it lacks wacky fantastical beings.

This was well received by critics on both sides of the Pacific, but it was a bit controversial as it celebrated the work of a man who made war planes. I had to admit, it was a little uncomfortable for me as an American thinking, "but in our movies, the bad guys fly those, and the good guys shoot them down". But you have to realize that history is subtle, nuanced, and doesn't really have "good guys" and "bad guys" as much as it simply has winners and losers. And they made Jiro very troubled by the idea of his planes being used for war. What he originally wanted to do was make planes for passenger travel. He saw planes as beautiful and inspiring dreams, not as devices for war. But of course, life gave him no choice in the matter. It was either make planes for war, or not at all.

This is probably the most Miyazaki movie of all. Instead of putting planes or flight into another story and subtly alluding to his own past (his father was an aeronautical engineer during WWII), he instead is telling his own story, and his father's story, and the story of planes, naked of any metaphorical substitutions. You can tell that Miyazaki wanted to tell this story for a long time. At his most personal and authentic, you see him really shine.

It's often difficult to make a feature-length movie narrative out of real events. Real history is continuous, without clear beginnings and endings. Focusing on a specific person's life, and specific events, like World War Two, give us landmarks in time that help writers create a story. The ending of course, is bittersweet. If you know history, you know Japan ends up defeated. Almost every one of the planes Jiro worked tirelessly to design crashed, either by being shot down or, later in the war, by the frantically desperate tactic of kamikaze suicide attacks. His life's work a sad ruin, Jiro still finds hope in the end of the war for a better future. I think that makes the ending uplifting, to think that someone could suffer so much and still end with a positive spirit.

Rating for The Wind Rises: 9/10

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)