Written September 16, 2014
Fans of Miyazaki's earlier work will be delighted to see the master is still fully on top of his game. The animation is nothing short of spectacular: what would be a throwaway transition shot in some other animator's film here becomes a study on the play of dappled sunlight. And prewar Japan is rendered in loving detail, caught in the fascinating transition from traditional to modern.
The story is gently but deftly told, interspersing scenes from the life of airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi with fantastic dream sequences in which Jiro imagines flying with various aircraft models and developing a relationship with an older Italian airplane designer whose work he admires. It's a sad tale—Jiro gets to design his airplanes, but knows they will be used for a war he is opposed to; he gets engaged to the girl he loves, but knows she is ill and won't live long—but Jiro's heroic attitude of taking the bad with the good and making the most of his opportunities gives it enduring hope as well.
Written March 08, 2014
Almost painful for us to watch this movie. The art of the animation is often beautiful but the story unfolds very, very slowly. If this movie had been 20 minutes it might have been okay for us.
Written March 08, 2014
Putting the debate over its politics aside (although I think it's a very valid and much-needed one!), I really enjoyed The Wind Rises. It feels like more of a character study than a straight narrative, so if you're not into that sort of movie, this might not appeal to you, but if you're someone who misses seeing hand-drawn animation on the big screen, definitely check it out!
I think the one issue I have is that the romance between Jiro and Naoko could have been a bit more rounded-out...as someone who's always loved Miyazaki's films for their wonderful female characters, I was kind of disappointed that Naoko wasn't particularly interesting, but I guess that's to be expected, since the focus of the film is really more on Jiro than anyone else.
Written March 19, 2014
Words cannot express just how magnificent Miyazaki's final full-length feature film was. It left me speechless and content with the work of Miyazaki. This film completes the collection that Studio Ghibli has brought into this world.
Written April 04, 2014
Finally got to see it, since it was only playing 60 miles away. Was concerned to take my 8.5 year old due to the rating, but was pleasantly surprised. If you look past the smoking and the word "damn", it was worth it. My 8.5 year old has been a Studio Ghibli fan for several years. Some of the other films she hasn't been able to watch yet, but even with a PG-13 it was great! I'm glad I took my chances!