Movie Review - The Wind Rises

I am not a fan of Hayao Miyazaki. I haven't seen all his movies, but Miyazaki delivers his most boring film in terms of story and imagination. Despite the film being about a Japanese aviation designer, this movie barely flies. It is less of a flight of fancy than a lot of previous works. It's probably because this movie is more of a biopic, using the technique of animation, which does allow for some fantastical moments or interesting, dream-like or hallucinatory moments, but it's more straight-forward in its depiction of this one man's life. Yes, the man designed planes that went on to aid Japan in World War II, but other than that, this man did not lead an exciting life or any more great a life than any one else. It's all rather dull.

The man is Jiro Horikoshi. He loves planes. He daydreams about flying in them, but he doesn't become a pilot or join the air force. He's mostly at a desk drawing blueprints or sketches. He is there to see his designs come to life, but Jiro mainly stays on the ground and watches other people fly them or crash them. He does fly paper airplanes, but that's about it.

At the same time, it all feels too bright and happy. There aren't too many scenes that take place at night for example. This is probably true for most of Miyazaki's works, but it's not about literal darkness. Given the subject matter, it all feels a little too cheery. Its tone is too bright. The politics of World War II are kept at a distance like the Holocaust and Hitler or Emperor Hirohito, even though there is a direct line between Jiro and the war.

The film instead pivots  toward this romance between Jiro and Nahoko. It's cheesy, sappy and sentimental. It too was ultimately boring and I'm not sure what their relationship meant in the long run or the short run or even at all. Aside from a few images, I didn't get too much creativity, not a lot of things that stick in my mind or were particularly outstanding.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and smoking.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 6 mins.


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