8 years later I re-visited it. Age has not changed my taste, the violence stills shocks (but it was meant to), the film seems to drag a little (it is the second longest animated feature at 132 minutes), but I understand and appreciate it better now. ” - Pedosh
If there's one portion of this film that highlights Yonebayashi's potential watch Arrietty's first foray into borrowing with her father. Perfectly pitched it starts with trepidation and excitement, to delight and fun, to shock and tears (which we share).
This film goes along so well until one scene turns the dynamic in such a way that it feels rushed and out of place. The film finishes around 20 minutes later and too soon for my liking (though it's touching). A little bit more darkness and danger and this film it could have been something special. ” - Pedosh
We pick up with Jiro during a fantastic intro sequence. We learn that Jiro would love to fly planes but that his poor eyesight means he never will. Inspired by reading a book about an Italian plane engineer – Caproni (as well as having several dream visitations from him) he decides to design planes instead. This is Jiro’s sole and only ambition. There is an earthquake, a depression, a tuberculosis outbreak and a world war but none of these big events seem to impact upon Jiro’s life. It is not until the final third of the film where something significant happens but it either feels rushed or a footnote that required more detail.
The Wind Rises may well alienate (but not necessarily disappoint) Miyazaki fans because of its subject matter and its overall lack of fantasy. It is a linear story that doesn’t offer much in the way of adventure and feels somewhat disjointed considering its straightforward nature. There is a romance that feels too fast (a love at first sight), references to war that required more weight, a central character who is largely one dimensional, and the introduction of a German character whose presence seems only to foretell that Germany and Japan will ‘blow up’. But then this isn’t a war film and periphery characters aren’t our focus. Knowing this does not make the film more enjoyable but it adds a weight of integrity once you realise. We are clearly meant to follow Jiro as single mindedly as he pursues his dream of building planes. It’s about the pursuit of passion and happiness. It’s for us to admire the wholesomeness of it and, as the film alludes to, ‘Live’.
As with the majority of Ghibli, but especially Miyazaki films, animation is one of the central pulling factors and the breathtaking opening sequence is a personal highlight but there are delightful moments and touches throughout. There is light humour to be had too (in what ends up being a fairly tragic story). It’s not his best film but it is his most personal. For this reason it feels the most poignant and I found it engaging on a level beyond pure entertainment. It is also definitely an anti war film and it’s important that this is recognised. The film does run for longer than the momentum warrants and ‘The Wind Rises’ metaphor is quite heavily signposted although it’s up for grabs what you interpret this to mean. We won’t see the like of Miyazaki again and that’s so sad in a world that’s smothered itself in CGI. But I would personally like to raise a glass to dreams, life, love, passion, happiness and Miyazaki. ” - Pedosh