"The Wind Rises" Movie Review: 3 1/2 Stars
by Michael Phillips
Here's a beautiful apparent contradiction: a gentle, supple picture about the man who designed the Zero fighter plane.
"The Wind Rises" is being marketed as the "farewell masterpiece" of Japanese writer-director
There's a fascinating push/pull in Miyazaki's latest.
The film's portrait of engineer
If this is indeed Miyazaki's farewell, it's a fine one. "The Wind Rises" makes no apologies for what the Zero wrought, like any other war machine, churned out by any other country's factories. Rather, it makes the dream of flight itself a vehicle for bittersweet enchantment.
Certain scenes in "The Wind Rises" reaffirm Miyazaki's brilliance, and I don't use the b-word lightly. When young Jiro, traveling by train, becomes a witness to the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the film's startling depiction of the earthquake is just serious enough to carry weight, yet unexpected enough to carry a touch of the supernatural. The sound the ground makes as it bucks and heaves is like an ancient dragon awakening.
Throughout the film Jiro communes in dreams with his hero, Italian aircraft designer
Visions of bombed cities in flames emerge naturally out of the action in "The Wind Rises," not in a documentary fashion but in Jiro's mind as he copes with premonitions of things to come. He knows what his creations will be used for in wartime. Caproni advises him at one point: "Artists are only creative for 10 years ... we engineers are no different. Live your 10 years to the full." Miyazaki knows full well it's possible to sustain a varied creative life longer than a decade. But "The Wind Rises," haunted in its glancing way by man's inhumanity to man, believes in beauty and puts that belief into practice, without guile.
I saw the Japanese-language version; most U.S. theaters showing "The Wind Rises" will be presenting the English-dubbed edition featuring the voices of
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense some disturbing images and smoking) Running time: 2:06.
"The Wind Rises" Movie Trailer
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