HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Wind Rises
HTS Overall Score:88
Hayoa Miyazaki is man obsessed with flying. If you notice throughout all of his movies there is always SOMETHING related to flight, or airplanes. Look at “Nausicaa”, “Spirited Away”, “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, “Howl’s Moving Castle”, the list goes on, but the one thread you see throughout all those films is the inclusion of some sort of aircraft. I’ve seen the pattern in them for years, but “The Wind Rises” is the culmination of the man’s adoration of lifting off of the earth in some kind of man made machine. I said in “Kiki’s Delivery Service” that it was his most grounded work to date, but I have to redact that statement after viewing “The Wind Rises”, as the man uses some of his famed fantasy world building elements throughout the movie, but in fact the tale is very much a modified historical drama. A hauntingly beautiful drama, one that will tug at every one of your heart strings, but a drama nonetheless.
Miyazaki chronicles the life of one Jiro Horikoshi, otherwise known as one of Japan’s most famous aeronautical engineers. The very man who invented the Japanese “zero” fighters, which were so instrumental weapons of war in the Japanese air force during WWII. We first meet Jiro as a young boy, unable to become a pilot because of his nearsightedness, but still in love with the idea of flight. Deciding to become an aeronautical engineer his path is one of numbers and countless hours behind a desk. While boring to many of us, Jiro loved the process of design, of creation, like a painter is of his art. Countless years, countless nights of no sleep fuel the man’s desire to create the perfect air craft, the air craft that he will perfect into Japan’s deadliest weapon of world domination in the years to come.
You see the duality of the situation here. Jiro sees it as well, knowing that his art, his life’s work is both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. An inventor can create his work, but can’t be held completely responsible for its use. Jiro knows that his life’s work is not just going to be used so that mankind can spread their wings and soar high. He knows that his creation will be perverted into a weapon of war that will not only defend his nation, but cause the death of thousands of innocent lives. He sees the signs, he sees Japan edging closer and closer to the Second World War, and it saddens him. Miyazake seems to be implying that the art itself is nobler than how people use it, and that an artist should be focusing on his work, not with how it will be used. However, at the same time he dances around with the moral compass, asking questions that dig straight into the heart of responsibility for your work, showing both sides of the coin during the picture. This leaves the final decision up to the viewer, laying out the arguments and asking them to decide which is more noble.
The second aspect of this film is tale of love and loss. During his years at the university, Jiro had saved a young woman by the name of Naoko, from a great earthquake in Tokyo. Years later, during his design stage he meets her once more, where their fates intertwine even more deeply. Falling in love the young couple seems to have the world by the tail, only to realize just how fragile life is. Naoko has contracted Tuberculosis years ago and now it is taking its toll on her. Hoping to get better, she enrolls at a sanatorium, where her diseases actually becomes worse. Checking out of the hospital she and Jiro decide to spend what little time they have left with each other. In a private ceremony the couple become one and Naoko spends her last few months on earth with the man she loves.
Probably the most heartrending portion of the movie is watching these two lovers accept their fate. My wife was bawling her eyes out during the last few moments and proclaimed through sobs “They aren’t supposed to die in a Miyazaki film”! I was near tears myself, as Miyazaki very delicately, but very solemnly shows us to relish what love we have here on earth. Some of us spend decades with a person we love, and others have life play them a different hand. Each one is important, and each life is touched a different way, but the love is still the same. As the credits rolled I spent some time contemplating the tapestry I had just watched being woven on screen, and I have to say that this is the most through provoking and real Miyazaki film to date. Sure we see some of the fantasy elements, like Jiro’s dream conversations with an old Italian engineer, but “The Wind Rises” is as much an outpouring of Miyazaki’s soul on screen as it is a work of imagination.
Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and smoking
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=33553[/img]I’m happy to say that “The Wind Rises” is easily the best looking of the three Miyazaki films being released this week. Miyazaki style animation is unique, even in the Anime community and his hand drawn imagery mixed with some digital tinkering looks absolutely flawless on screen. The shades of blue, green and even brown saturate the screen with soft pastels and deep primaries, giving reign to a complex picture that just reeks of quality at every turn. There isn’t a single jagged line, or missed brush stroke anywhere that I can see and the disc itself is devoid of any digital artifacting. I really looked too, as banding and aliasing can be very apparent if you know what you’re looking for. Nothing, nada, not even a glimpse did I catch of any digital or compression issues. Black levels are superb, contrasts are perfect and the fine detail is amazing to behold. Quite simply, this is a picture perfect (pun intended) image that deserves all of the gushing I’m doing.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=33561[/img]Being that “The Wind Rises” is a 2013 film, one would expect the standard surround sound presentation, but Miyazaki has instead decided to opt for a 1.0 mono track in DTS-HD MA lossless (both Japanese and the English Dub). I had to raise my eyebrow and wonder why, but Miyazaki himself has come forward and said that he wanted to go back to the days of his older 1.0 and 2.0 roots. Dialogue is pleasing and clean as can be, with some solid effects noises in the front of the sound stage. The track itself is a VERY unique experience that blends a very Italian flavored musical score with very organic sounding effects base. Every effect created in the film was done by a human, meaning that a human mouth imitated and created every single nonmusical effect in the film (which could explain the 1.0 mono track as it is much easier to hide that fact that it’s human vocal effects in a 1.0 track vs. an expanded surround track.). As such the sounds are almost organic and earthy in nature, which plays at your ears in a way that makes your mind almost separate the film from reality. Combined with the beautiful hand drawn animation that Miyazaki is famous for and you have a reality based film that feels almost ethereal in nature.
• Original Japanese Trailers and TV Spots
• Announcement of the Completion of the Film
“The Wind Rises” is Miyazaki’s most personal work to date, blending in his traditional fantasy world building with a historical drama that traces over the life of one of Japan’s greatest engineers in history. He touches on the subject of love and loss, art vs. reality, and digs deep into his own convictions and outlook on life. The physical art and the virtual art created with this movie turns “The Wind Rises” into a Miyazaki film like no other. It’s both engaging and terrifying, creative and laid back. The disc itself is just about flawless in its presentation on Blu-ray and for someone who loves Miyazaki films as much as I do, this is a no brainer. Highly recommended for fans of his work, and newbies alike.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
Written By: Hayao Miyazaki
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 1.0, Japanese DTS-HD MA 1.0,
Studio: Disney/Studio Chibli
Runtime: 126 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: November 18th 2014
Buy The Wind Rises Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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