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“The Wind Rises” – Review (POSITIVE)

March 2, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-02 at 1.02.56 PMManaged to get this one under the wire last night, just in time for the Oscars. Out of the five nominees, I’ve only seen four of them, I’ll have to watch “Enest & Celestine” some other time. However, besides the fact that “The Wind Rises” is the last film by the great Hayao Miyazaki, to put it simply this nominee is far superior than all the rest.

The Academy favorite, naturally, is Disney’s “Frozen”, and why not? Disney always seems to shoehorn other nominees (most of the time). Some of you may have read my review for “Frozen”, essentially I thought it was beautifully overrated movie. Yes, there’s a few catchy songs, and that ‘Let it Go’ number will haunt me for the rest of my days, but in the end I found it to generic for it’s own good.

Miyazaki’s final entry of his career is certainly a personal story, he’s no longer in the realm of fantasy, well not the traditional sense of the word, here Miyazaki takes us on a journey about famed Japanese engineer Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and its successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Eventually both aircraft would go on to be used by the Empire of Japan during height of World War II.

Many critics have praised the film in different respects, yet most viewers (and some critics) feel that the movie glorifies the Empire of Japan’s outlook of the War. Naturally you’re going to see that, because, to be perfectly frank this is a movie about another country during that era, and yes they were our enemies.

Screen shot 2014-03-02 at 1.03.06 PMThe focus is more on Jiro’s journey, his passion for airplanes, and his dreams. This is a man who’s poor vision since boyhood always left him in fear that he would never fly, the only he can soar the heavens is in his dreams.  The marvel in this film comes from the daring dreams Jiro endures, and that in itself is why cinephiles love Miyazaki’s work so much. It’s not the masterpiece I think many fans of his were hoping for, but it’s certainly the most cathartic and enduring one in his arsenal of films.

We’re left with a character facing troubling dilemmas involving his personal obligations to himself, and of course…to country. It’s a story I think any country that’s gone to war can identify with. I didn’t find the movie disrespectful of the past, but brings up interesting points of view that most live action dramas wouldn’t normally cross. It’s sad to wave goodbye to Miyazaki’s work, but the beauty of it all is we can still watch his films again and again.

GRADE: B+

Aaron Shore, is a contributing blogger for the film sites of Hudak on Hollywood & Midnight Reviews.

You can follow Aaron on Twitter @DoubleAAProd

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