Latest Review – The Wind Rises [Blu-ray] [Studiocanal]

The Wind Rises [Kaze Tachinu]

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Distributor: Studiocanal

Year: 2013

Country: Japan

Genre: Animation | Biography | Drama

Running Time: 126 minutes (2:06:28)

Region Code: Region B [Locked]

Certificate: PG

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (Original Aspect Ratio)

Video: 1080p High Definition (24fps)

Codec: MPEG-4 | AVC

Image: Colour

Audio: Japanese LPCM 2.0 Mono [Main Feature] | English LPCM 2.0 Mono [Main Feature]

Language: Japanese | English

Subtitles: Optional English


It is true, there are very few filmmakers who can inspire and make the imagination soar quite as effortlessly and effectively as the great Hayao Miyazaki. Nowhere is this skill more evident than in his joyous and enthralling swansong – The Wind Rises – the fitting final work in a quite remarkable cinematic career comprising such animated masterpieces as: Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away (the first anime film ever to win an Academy Award), to name just a few!

Miyazaki’s first solo directorial feature since the 2008 animated fantasy-adventure, Ponyo (Gake no Ue no Ponyo), The Wind Rises sets its primary focus on the life of the celebrated Japanese aircraft engineer, Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), for this beautifully composed, fictionalised biopic, adapted from Miyazaki’s own manga novel of the same name (itself loosely inspired by Tatsuo Hori’s 1937 short story The Wind Has Risen).

In 1916, the young Jiro Horikoshi spends his days dreaming of soaring through the skies as a pilot in beautiful airplanes, however severe myopia from an early age renders this dream impossible. Inspired by the great Italian aeronautical engineer, ‘Gianni’ Caproni, Jiro instead sets his sight on design and skipping forward to 1923, travels to Tokyo by train to study aeronautical engineering at Tokyo Imperial University. Chronicling the following two decades in Jiro’s life, the film plays out against a rather eventful canvas encompassing such historic events as The Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 (Japan’s most devastating natural disaster in over a century), the Great Depression, economic collapse, the tuberculosis epidemic of the late 1920s/early 1930’s and years through to Japan’s entry into World War II.

Into this factual smorgasbord, Miyazaki then weaves in a few fictitious subplots to explore Jiro’s private life and generally pad out (though never unnecessarily) and add further depth to the story. His ill-fated romance with the ailing Nahoko is an entirely fictional product of Miyazaki’s imagination, as is his acquaintance with the enigmatic Hans Castorp, the central protagonist of Thomas Mann’s hugely-influential 1924 Bildungsroman, The Magic Mountain, cleverly borrowed by Miyazaki for the film.

Whereas many of his previous works have been primarily focused towards a younger target audience, The Wind Rises feels much more grown up in its overall tone, bestowed with a strong sense of realism and autobiography, tackling powerful, heavyweight issues with sensitivity and delicacy and combining this with the clean composition and intricate detail seen in the works of such Japanese masters as Ozu, Naruse and Mizoguchi.

Throughout the beauty the film delivers continuously over the course of its 126-minute running time (accompanied by a sublime score from Joe Hisaishi), Miyazaki is careful never to lose sight of the film’s deeper and more profound themes, and the images are continuously underlined with a potent examination of pacifism, humanity, morality, love and personal sacrifice.

Artists are only active for 10 years.’ or so Caproni tells Jiro during their first meeting. Self-reflective and autobiographical though the film undeniably may be, Miyazaki has proved himself one of cinema’s greatest and most influential artists in a career spanning over five decades.


Special Features:

Feature Storyboards – The storyboards for the entire movie are included in this feature and can be toggled on and off throughout

Press Conference – Full coverage of the press conference for the announcement of the completion of the film (1:27:57)

Trailers and TV Spots (0:01:42)


Release Date: 29 September, 2014

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