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‘The Wind Rises’ another beautiful film from Studio Ghibli

By Francine Brokaw community Columnist - | Nov 28, 2014

“The Wind Rises” is an emotional and riveting story filled with history, beautiful images, and an amazing musical score.

It’s the latest from Studio Ghibli, who brought us many beloved animated films, including “My Neighbor Totoro” (2010), “From Up on Poppy Hill” (2011), “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989), “Spirited Away” (2002), “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004), “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” (1984), “Castle in the Sky” (1986), “Tales from Earthsea” (2006), and my favorite, “Ponyo” (2008). Every one of these animated films has been inspiring on some level, and all of them are beautifully produced.

“The Wind Rises” is a beautifully animated look at Jiro Horikoshi, the man responsible for designing the Japanese fighter planes used in World War II. From the time he was a young boy, Jiro (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), dreamed of designing beautiful airplanes. He wondered if he could, since he was not capable of flying them due to his poor eyesight. But he found his love of airplanes propelled him (no pun intended) to the top of the list of Japanese engineers who were put to work designing the country’s fighter and bomber fleets.

The movie follows many historical events and interjects Jiro’s story into them. The Great Kanto Earthquake (1929) is depicted as the time when Jiro accidentally meets a young girl, Nahoko (voiced by Emily Blunt) who would later become his wife.

The Depression is a big part of the story, as Jiro goes to work making planes that cost millions and will be used for destruction, while many people are out of work and starving.

Another historical event, the tuberculosis epidemic, plays a large part of the story as Nahoko is infected with the deadly disease.

Throughout the film, as Jiro’s career skyrockets, his relationship with Nahoko endures, and the world is desktroying itself, there are many scenes depicting Jiro’s love and compassion. Even though his beautiful airplanes become tools for destruction, there are many wonderful aspects to this film. Jiro’s inspiration is critical but he must wait for technology to catch up with his ideas, but that does happen.

This movie was produced in Japan, in Japanese, with Japanese actors, however this version has been meticulously dubbed into English with Gordon-Levitt, Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mae Whitman, Mandy Patinkin, Jennifer Gray, William H. Macy, and others. “The Wind Rises” is mesmerizing, interesting, emotional, a little sad, but also quite worth watching. Once I got into it, I couldn’t turn it off. It is truly an engaging movie.

The bonus features include interviews with the people responsible for turning this Japanese film into a movie for Americans. As they say, it’s weird, wonderful and well observed, when it comes to telling the story of Jiro Horikoshi. His inventions go from wondrous to destructive. Another bonus is a storyboard version of the film, which is an interesting feature for movie buffs.

“The Wind Rises” was nominated for an Oscar and played in many film festivals. It’s visually stunning with a superb soundtrack. The film is rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and smoking. Personally, I wouldn’t show it to anyone under 13 due to the tragic events depicted. Hitler and his SS are discussed however the actual horrors of WWII are not seen onscreen. The combo pack includes a Blu-ray and a DVD.


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