Movie Review: ‘The Wind Rises’ soars in artistic merit

Elsy Barcelo

Originally released in July 2013, Hayao Miyazaki’s animated historical fantasy, “The Wind Rises,” has hit theaters once again.

The Wind Rises
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Released in selected theaters on Feb. 21 and all theaters on Feb. 28, the animated movie sets place in a provincial town in Japan. The movie is solely based on Jiro Horikoshi (voiced by Zach Callison as a boy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an adult) who sets his future based on a sequence of dreams about flying planes, then into building planes since his dreams of becoming a pilot fall short due to his bad eyesight.

Along the way he meets a traveler by the name of Naoko Satomi (Emily Blunt) who appears and disappears throughout the film as well as his best friend Honjo (John Krasinski).

Miyazaki left viewers breathless with his movie “Ponyo” in 2008, but he has claimed that “The Wind Rises” will be his last film. Known for the released collections of movies through Studio Ghibli including the classics “Princess Mononoke,” “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away,” all of which have won awards in several categories.

“The Wind Rises” may join Miyazaki’s list of awarded films since it has been nominated for best animated feature in the 86th Annual Oscars.

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“The Wind Rises” explores a more realistic element unknown in most of director Miyazaki’s work. Photo from

In contrast with most of Miyazaki’s films, there are no fictional creatures such as the soot spirits and dragon like in “Spirited Away.” The story of World War II fighter plane designer couldn’t get any more realistic. Obsessed with the idea of humans flying planes, Jiro forgets that the planes he’s building is for killing others with dreams of their own. Miyazaki is also known for the subtle details and thoughts of the characters’ personalities as well as the development of scenery throughout his films, and with “The Wind Rises” he has gone above and beyond with that.

Visually, “The Wind Rises” is purely sensual, from the fluffed cloudscapes and lush, grassy countryside of Jiro’s childhood to the monochrome old factories he visits in prewar Germany as a young man. Although the movie progress and Jiro is thought to be losing his innocence due to World War II “The Wind Rises” contains every ounce of his innocence, even as Jiro’s dreams and talents are being used beyond his control.