Monday, November 11, 2013

AFI Fest 2013: The Wind Rises Review Miyazaki Crashes Beautifully

The Wind Rises wall exhibit at the Egyptian
The Wind Rises, by legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki, told the tale of a young man's love of aeronautics and flight or an old man's love as Miyazaki might have been expressing his love of animation and his retirement through the film. Rises is telling of his slow down in life with dream sequences and couple-in-love moments within the film about accomplishing what we can with the time we have and how short one's love can be.

Trying to build a modern plane in a backwards Japan, Jiro Horikoshi's life unfolds to us leaving out how he would be tried for war crimes. Jiro's infatuation with a young girl comes out as  Lolita Complex. The film would be boring to children. All these facts to draw away that it's a beautiful movie with gorgeous hand drawn animation.

After seeing it you could just talk about the depictions of people's faces when they showed emotion or how eyes bulged out or the wind pushed through scenes. A short man's walk cycle had his hair flip in way to make you smile. The film's subject matter is much too boring to ever be loved or be as magical as other Ghibli films and with such a great animator of the film it crashes to be too much about one man's life that it might as well have been done as high school play.

The subject matter and story set on the fictional telling of the man who developed Japanese World War II planes leaves out huge chunks of how bad the war was and leaves in a somewhat bizarre infatuation with a young girl.

Even though the film takes place over the end of World War I and the start of World War II nothing involves Jiro directly, though he is building and developing war planes against America and it's allies. He has no hatred for the Allies, he just wants to build planes. He's still guilty no matter how much he is indifferent to the war.

The film follows Jiro creating and studying flight, dreaming of the way to see his creations fly and not break apart. From time to time we see vivid showings of planes breaking apart. The visuals on how planes soar to the intricate diagrams on how they function with cut-aways and see-through scenes are stunning.

For a child though these scenes would drag on, many scenes are just Jiro planning out a plane design at a desk, not the amazing fantasy moments of Miyazaki's other films.

When this is dubbed later for a February release don't bring kids. At two hours long and minimal fantasy allowed only in dreams they'll be fast asleep.

With kids sadly in mind, it's hard not to be a perplexed by the love story in the film between Jiro and Naoko. In their first meeting, Naoko is much younger then Jiro. Jiro acts like a white knight rescuing one of Naoko's servants who seemed to be Jiro's love interest at the time. He carried the servant who looked to be the same age as him on his back to Naoko's estate after she hurt one of her legs in a train accident. Years later, when Naoko is a women, Jiro shares he fell in love with her the first time they met, when she looked about ten and he was going to college.

Naoko has tuberculosis and slowly they realize they only have so much time together left, like Jiro only has so much time to make war planes that will be used to bomb Allied countries. He's not thinking about that though, remember he just wants to make planes.

Their loving moments are so sad and dramatic it's hard not to feel for the war criminal.

An odd film to go out on for Miyazaki, looking deeply into it it's a story that let him show off his love of flight one more time; saying good-bye to his fans; a blindness of Japan accepting blame on what they did during the war . Hypnotically entertaining, well-crafted animation wasted on a story that director made for himself selfishly and oddly having the voice of his plane maker be the creator of Evangelion and a little Lolita Complex. An animated documentary that's pure fiction.