Acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki is unfortunately retiring from directing. His swan song, The Wind Rises, is a fantastic send off. With excellent characters, great dialogue, and gorgeous animation, The Wind Rises is one of his finest works. The story might not be told all too well, but don’t let that stop you from seeing one of 2014’s (well, technically 2013) best films.
The Wind Rises takes place in the 1920’s and follows Jiro, whose had a dream of building airplanes ever since he was a little boy. That dream takes him from Japan to Germany where planes are needed for war.
Not the most exciting story I know, and that’s certainly a fault with the movie. While this is a character-driven story all the way through (and you most certainly care about these characters), not a whole lot happens in the movie which makes for some slow scenes. Also, with World War II on the horizon and the film taking place in Japan and Germany, incorporating that into the film would’ve made for some great drama and kind of felt like a missed opportunity.
The story in the film is not bad though and it’s the excellent characters who take the credit. Hayao Miyazaki has created some incredible and memorable characters too. You really care for Jiro, who is an extremely relatable character. He has a slew of problems in the film, but the movie never made it feel “too much”, which is a real testament considering what happens to the guy. The supporting characters are also great. You got the best friend, the crazy boss, the love interest, and more. All your standard characters, but given life and fantastic dialogue.
Speaking of which, the dialogue in this film is truly great. Even with the slow scenes, I was just happy listening to Jiro talking to his friend or ordering some sponge cake. Not to mention some of the laughs I got, especially from “the crazy boss” (played by the incredible Martin Short). The English voice actors do a great job. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, and more give some solid performances although it’s Martin Short who steals the show.
Finally, the animation in the movie is truly gorgeous. None of that 3D CGI crap here, just stunning and colorful traditional animation. A rarity in today’s times.
Hayao Miyazaki is responsible for some of the greatest
anime animated movies of all time and it’s nice to see his sendoff is this fantastic film. The animation is purdy, the characters lovable and relatable, and the dialogue so well-written. The story could’ve used some work, but don’t let that keep you away from one of Miyazaki’s finest features.