The Wind Rises Review


Hayao Miyazaki’s final film.

“The Wind Rises” is Hayao Miyazaki’s final directorial film.  The movie is about Jiro Horikoshi, the real life designer of Mitsubishi A5M and the Mitsubishi A6M Zero; aircraft used by the Empire of Japan during World War II.  The movie is very different from the rest of Miyazaki film, and it doesn’t have the same symbolism we’re familiar with.  While the movie is not bad, it does put off fans who are familiar with Miyazaki’s typical styles.

The movie captures the life of Jiro Horikoshi (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and his desire to design airplanes like his idol Giovanni Battista Caproni.  Sometime when he’s sleeping, Jiro will dream Caproni encouraging him to achieve his dream.  Jiro studies hard and goes to good universty.  At the end, he manages a position in Japan’s biggest airplane manufacturers.  This is where Jiro struggles with his decision of designing airplanes.  Jiro knows when he designed will eventually become weapons that kill thousands of people, and he doesn’t know what to do.  But like Caproni said,”do you prefer a world with pyramids, or with no pyramids?

There are many people that supported Jiro in his life.  His best friend Honjô (John Krasinski), his boss, Kurokawa (Martin Short), and the company’s owner, Hattori (Mandy Patinkin).  While this are all the important characters in Jiro’s life, none of them are as important as his love interest Nahoko (Emily Blunt), a girl he keeps on running into throughout his life.  The character is fictional, and not a part of the original biography.  However, it doesn’t stop her from being the moral conflicts in Jiro’s life.

It’s controversial to talk about the life of the person who’s responsible for thousands of people’s death.  The addition of Nahoko allows us to see Jiro’s humane side.  They first met on the train during a massive earthquake at Tokyo.  Jiro does whatever he can to save Nahoko and the her servant.  After they begin a relationship, Jiro even travels hundreds of miles just to visit a sick Nahoko.  The whole thing it’s for us, the viewers, to see Jiro’s good side, but I’m not buying it.  If he really loves Nahoko, he would not smoke before her.  Anyway, her sickness turns this movie into A Walk to Remember.  But at the end, she doesn’t make an impact to Jiro’s life atll.  He achieves his dreams anyway, and indirectly caused the death of thousands.  She just simply left him right before her death.  It’s almost like she doesn’t even exist in the first place, and it becomes a small obstacle to where Jiro will go anyway.


The movie lacks some of the themes typically found in Miyazaki films.  There isn’t have a strong female leads, and it’s lacked of mystical elements he usually has.  I know it’s because this is a biography film, but it’s just not right.  This is Miyazaki’s final directorial film, and I would like to see more of his usual elements in the film.  The only thing that’s there is the idea of man vs. natural, but even that isn’t a strong point in this movie.

Also, JGL is not a very good voice actor.  I’m a big fan of the actor, but I can’t help it and feel like he’s reading his dialogues.  There’s hardly any emotion in the acting, and it feels really awkward listening to it.  I’m guessing it’s because JGL is a an actor that express emotions through facial acting, and it’s not something you can see through voice acting.

The movie also suffers the slow pace most Japanese movies does.  The only thing really great about the movie is the cinematic.  Miyazaki paints us a beautiful picture that captures the strongest moments in Jiro Horikoshi’s career.  While it might not be the best movie done by Miyazaki, it definitely marks an important note in his career.

I would rather live in a world with pyramids anyway.



Categories: Movie Reviews

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