Hayao Miyazaki has been weaving dreams for years now and with every film he just gets one better. His body of work may not be as big as some other directors but his work is path breaking in terms of content and sheer beauty. Before the release of The Wind Rises, he candidly stated that this would be his last film. This may not be the first time that he has made such a statement and every time his art has had the better of him and he has come back to helm another film. For the sake of all his fans including me and all those people who appreciate beauty and good cinema, I just hope and pray that he does make another film.
The Wind Rises is by far the most humane film that he has made and it seems that he made a conscious effort to keep the story grounded in reality and axed out most of his supernatural and thematic elements which we identify Miyazaki films with. Having said that, what The Wind Rises lacks in Miyazaki content is made up for by the enormous amount of heart that it shows and the sheer beauty of its content and animation. This is one film whose every frame can serve as wallpapers for your computer screen or saved as a beautiful portrait to be hung on that wall at your home. Such is the beauty of the film that you can’t help but fall in love with it.
Jirô Horikoshi is born with terrible eyesight and he knows that he cannot become a pilot. However during a dream he comes face to face with Caproni, the fabled aircraft designer from Italy. The two strike a chord in a shared dream and Jirô finds his calling. He sets out on a path to become an aeronautical engineer but meets with repeated failures. He dreams of nothing but planes that would define him but is unable to execute his ideas until he crosses path with a beautiful girl named Naoko whom he saved during the great quake of Japan. Soon the two fall in love. Naoko’s arrival in Jirô’s life sets him on a path of greatness as he is now able to design and envision planes that not only define his knowledge and firm grasp of technology but also his wide eyed dreams.
The Wind Rises serves as a biographical epic for Jirô Horikoshi who designed Japanese planes during World War 2. The film might not be anywhere close to the real life of the genius as there are far too many liberties taken but that doesn’t affect your viewing experience for a second. There is just so much beauty that you will be lost in the tale. It also goes beyond mentioning that the liberties that are taken increase the dramatic value of the film and thereby increase the affectivity of the film. The sudden illness of Naoko, the chemistry between her and Jiro and also some of the situational comedies are unforgettable.
The films animation is the trademark Miyazaki style 2D graphic rendering with practical hand drawn pictures which are so dreamy and beautiful that I do not have enough words to praise. The film’s palate is a vibrant mix of all the colors imaginable but none as dominant as the greens and blue. This is the kind of film in which you want to sit in the first row of the theater and let the imagery wash through your eyes every time the screen refreshes. No matter how dreamy the images may be, the characters strangely are able to emote through the 2D drawings more than many character artists. The romantic scenes make your heart go wild while the drama leaves you astounded. Everytime you see the couple together your heart goes out for their love.
The soothing music of the film is another huge plus. The tracks just appear at the right places and time to raise your heartbeat and then vanish into thin air but they keep lurking in your memory for long. As is the case with all Miyazaki films, this one is no different in terms of musical finesse. The editing of the film is pitch perfect. Some sequences generate a greater impact simply because of the way in which they are edited. Miyazaki has once again undone himself and created a piece of art which has successfully transcended age, language, caste and other semantic barriers to prove to be a picture of beauty for every eye. My mother who despises animated films has watched this film twice with me already and she doesn’t seem to be getting bored. That’s proof enough of the films spellbinding content and beauty.