Sunday, June 7, 2015

Netflix Mail Day Movie Review: "The Wind Rises" (2013)

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Movie"The Wind Rises"//"Kaze tachinu"
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Ever since he was young, Jirô Horikoshi (Joseph Gorden-Levitt) loved airplanes, but due to bad eyesight, he was unable become a pilot. He decided if he could not fly them, he would build them and become one of the best aeronautic engineers in Japan. Jirô then becomes the top designer of planes for the Japanese military leading into WWII.  

This film falls into an uncommon genre of animated biopics. It follows the life of Jirô Horikoshi, one of Japan's premier planes designers, and his life leading up to and during WWII. He is the man who designed the Zero fighter plane, which was used during the war including the attack on Pearl Harbor. This film doesn't focus on the war at all and the entire conflict is not explored in any depth. But this is not a film about a war this is a film about a airplane designer. It explores Horikoshi as a person, as well as his love for planes and his gift for engineering. We experience his inspiration through dream sequences where he converses with his idol, Italian engineer Giovanni Caproni, and has visions of what could be. While we love most movies made by Hayao Miyazaki, unfortunately, this one was a bit of a letdown. Much of the film is comprised of Jirô deigning, testing and looking at planes, which sounds like it could have been interesting, but ultimately, it was pretty boring to watch repeated over and over again. Filmmakers eventually go into Horikoshi's romantic relationship with Nahoko Satomi and her struggles with tuberculosis, and this is where they really try to show you Horikoshi, the man, apart from his obsession with planes. This film, as with all of Miyazaki's films, are quite beautiful in their execution, sound and language. The subject matter might not be all that compelling, but Miyazaki has a way with words that makes you pay attention, whether or not you're enraptured by the words. Sadly, it simply isn't all that interesting to back up its wonderful animation and poetic parlance. We tend to enjoy his more joyful, fantastical stories rather than his mature, historical ones, which is a shame since Miyazaki seems to have laid his heart on the line to tell this story. Though there is a adult and humanistic element to it, the lingering WWII storyline can get a bit tedious and feels slow and frankly, a bit dull.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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