Review: The Wind Rises

As I said on my 1st movie review, I had the goal to watch all of the anime movies of Studio Ghibli and I have a long list of them. Second on the list is The Wind Rises and finally, I made up my mind to make a review about it.

The Wind Rises or also known as Kaze Tachinu in Japaneses is an adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki’s manga but later on based on the novel The Wind Has Risen by Tatsuo Hori on 1937. It was one of the great films of Studio Ghibli that’s been released recently in Japan on July 20, 2013 and February 21, 2014 at America and selected cities worldwide. This was also known as the highest-grossing film in Japan on the year 2013 earning 113 million dollar on the domestic box office even after Hayao Miyazaki announced that this would be his last film to be produced since he already filed for retirement.

Even though the film brought up some controversies, critical acclaims, and political spectrums, still, it has gained a lot of awards and nominations starting with the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Best Animated Film that tied with Frozen, Audience Favorite-Animation, Best Family Film, Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year 2014.

The Wind Rises is basically the story of the man who created one of the most famous aircraft in Japanese history which is the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter. It is the director’s way to express his love on flight, his call for worldwide peace and harmony, and his “in-depth-guide” on Japan’s military rise.

Director
Hayao Miyazaki

Main Cast                                            Japanese Voice Cast

Jiro Horikoshi                                    Hideaki Anno
Naoko Satomi                                    Miori Takimoto
Kiro Honjo                                          Hidetoshi Nishijima
Kurokawa                                           Masahiko Nishimura
Castorp                                                Stephen Albert
Satomi                                                 Morio Kazama
Jiro’s mother                                      Keiko Takeshita
Kayo Horikoshi                                  Mirai Shida
Hattori                                                 Jun Kunimura
Mrs. Kurokawa                                  Shinobu Otake
Giovanni Caproni                             Nomura Mansai

Genre
Drama, Historical, Romance

Plot
The story started on the year 1918, when young Jiro Horikoshi dreamt of his Italian aviation pioneer, Giovanni Caproni, and encouraged him to continue on chasing his dream in life to build, design and fly planes and make the world a better place to live. Life as it is, it will never be easy getting that dream into reality, starting off with his nearsighted eye sight, the Great Kanto Earthquake that hit on 1923, the World War II, countless rejections of his plane models, countless failures on plane tests, and his wife’s deteriorating health. Eventually, he became an aeronautical engineer and produced his “dream plane” after multiple times of trying but left Giovanni Caproni disappointed.

Storyline
The movie’s storyline was in a continuous manner but not confusing. It’s more on the historical side so some people might not like it but it’s still good for children and adults, except for the scenes were a lot of tobaccos were smoked by the characters. The plot was so unpredictable that I lost the interest to finish it in just one viewing. It’s in the middle part of the movie that I lost the interest to finish it because maybe, I just got bored. It doesn’t have the “climax” that I wanted. I would never understand the story of the movie if I didn’t googled it but still, it’s a great movie. It’s just that when I was watching, it felt like I was stuck in the same setting of the story like there’s no plot twists or surprises.

Characters’ Acting
Jiro did not entice me enough on his acting because he seemed to be super basic or mysterious. The story didn’t tell about his family, instead just focused on himself but I never saw “him” in the movie. He was so irritatingly calm and silent, I never saw him break down or what in the movie even after the catastrophes, he was just so calm and stoic. The only time I saw him that happy was when he met his wife which gives me the impression that one woman could change a serious, apathetic, non-humor man into a romantic and sweet man. About the voices, it honestly annoyed me on how the voice of Jiro sounded like he always had colds.

Props/Effects
Since this is an anime movie, I would focus on the way they animated the movie and their graphics. It was really good though, it always has this Studio Ghibli feel and trademark in anime movies even if it was produced in 2013 already, in which the colors used, how the wind strikes the grass, the sound effects of planes, the details of shadows and whites, and many more felt really familiar if you’ve been watching other Studio Ghibli movies. Though, there’s a thing I noticed about the sounds of winds and on the scenes of the earthquake catastrophes, for me it sounded like men mimicking the sound of after-effect waves of earthquake that sounded not really good.

Cinematography
I would again focus on the animation and I think it’s great. I haven’t seen any flaws on the way they walk, sit, run or fly, especially on the part were the smoke of tobaccos were released and the wind hits the grass flawlessly. It was smooth-sailing and doesn’t seem to be rushed because as you look closely, every movement could be seen unlike other anime movies in which tiny bits of movements were skipped. Even the mouth openings were perfectly synced!

Music
Since this is a Japanese movie, expect it to have Japanese songs to be used but this one is different. Majority of the music used were composed and played through piano and violin. It was instrumental. It did had one song in the movie but it was only on the scenes were they were at a bar and they started to sing a German song. As I said I’m not a fan of oldy music with tunes like the 60s or 70s so all the background music felt like old, sad and tragic.

Verdict
Overall this movie is a still a bane for me even though it impressed me on how Studio Ghibli maintained the vintage feel and mood of the whole movie knowing that it was a 2013 film. It had clear and high resolution graphics and animations too. The storyline was unique and nothing compared to usual plots yet it bored me. It was really unpredictable which I love the most on films but unfortunately, it really disappointed me on how I expected a sharp turn or moving climax. It had an interesting entrance but at the middle I really lost the interest to finish it one sitting. I still recommend this movie to all since it projects good traits such as never giving up on how hard things are. Personally saying, I did not enjoy the movie and I have no plans on rewatching it again because it just felt like a super, long, never-ending, movie to me which doesn’t contain any surprises.

To summarize and wrap all things up that I want to say about this movie, here’s the list:

1. Studio Ghibli still did a great job about this movie especially on their efforts on the animation and they really deserved all the rewards they won for this movie.
2. The plot and storyline was really unique yet boring.
3. The movie taught me on how not to give up even after multiple failures and rejections. It also taught me that no matter how hard you try, if it’s not yet the time, it will never happen.
4. I still adore Jiro’s character even though he was the reason I got bored in the movie because of his unenergetic voice and stoic face. He was courageous enough to face all the difficulties in life and still have the stoic composure even in hard times.
5. The music is a bummer for me because I’m not a fan of oldy music and tunes.
6. This movie isn’t understandable enough for me that I even had to Google it for me to fully understand the concept of this movie. Yes, the planes were evident and were present in the movie all the time but it doesn’t give you a hint of what will happen next. Or maybe, I just didn’t understand it since I’m not a Japanese and I don’t know the history of their fighter planes that’s why I got bored.
7. About the title, up to now, I still couldn’t understand why it’s titled The Wind Rises. Someone explain to me please?

And I think that’s all of the things that I really wanted to say in this movie review. Have you watched this movie? Do you think there is something else that I missed or did I interpreted the movie wrong? Feel free to put your statements in the comment box below.

Overall rating

Storyline                              ★★☆☆☆
Acting                                   ★★☆☆☆
Props                                    ★★★★★
Effects                                  ★★★★★
Cinematography               ★★★★★
Music                                    ★★☆☆☆

References

1, 2, 3, 4 , 5

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