Yesterday, I watched Miyazaki’s newest film that’s currently showing in theaters, “The Wind Rises”. Starring Jiro, a boy who dreams of designing aircraft, the film is Miyazaki’s last creation before his retirement from directing movies. To put it mildly, I was not disappointed.
The movie opens with a quote by the French poet Paul Valéry – “The wind is rising! We must try to live.” A typical Studio Ghibli classic, the characters and scenery are beautifully illustrated and the heartfelt storyline is accompanied by the luscious orchestral music of Joe Hisaishi. The characters are very realistic and relatable, each with their own personality flaws that I gradually came to love them for. Also, the romantic development between the two main characters felt very natural and unhurried. The movie captures the sentiment of many Japanese during World War II quite well, and shows how all good things must come to an end. One particularly poignant moment had me and my friends sobbing in the theater.
The English dub of the film was much better than I expected it to be – with Joseph Gordon-Levitt voicing Jiro and Emily Blunt voicing his love interest, Naoko. There were a few awkward phrases that didn’t go over too well, but these were few and far between. All in all, the English version was pretty good, though I know that I’ll definitely watch the Japanese version sometime in the future.
One of Miyazaki’s few films without any overt fantasy elements, “The Wind Rises” still manages to have a surreal, dreamlike quality about it. Nostalgic and bittersweet, it’s made it onto my list of Miyazaki favorites, and it’s a very fulfilling finale to Miyazaki’s animating career. I would definitely recommend watching “The Wind Rises” to anyone who has enjoyed Miyazaki’s movies in the past.