Hopefully I'm allowed to double post if nobody has said anything since yesterday.
This movie was beautiful and it really hit home to me. I love airplanes very much, particularly commercial airplanes. While many people simply see them as multi-billion dollar flying buses, I still, to this day, marvel at the sheer fact that these massive metallic machines can take off into the sky like birds. It was a wonderful reminder that even machines built for destruction were created by somebody who loved what they MAKING, not for who they were making it FOR. Really, my only problem with the movie was its sudden time skips. While I didn't need to be spoon-fed information, I think a little '2 years later' text or re-introducing Jiro as he gets older would've made these translations less sudden.
Now, as we know, this film has been nominated for an Oscar. To be honest, I hope this film DOESN'T win. Frozen can take all the awards and spam our airwaves with 'Let It Go' as much as they want, but the truth is, The Wind Rises is better than it in all shapes and forms. And it doesn't need magic, singing, princesses or awards to prove it. I know some people have been having a hard time seeing this movie, because despite being released everywhere, this movie is still an art house film, and I honestly think this kind of works. This movie felt somewhat like a hipster film, with material that only so many people can appreciate. There were two children who came to the theatre I went to and throughout the movie, they could barely sit still. Now, while it may not be wise to judge the entire child audience based on the observations of two kids, I think it drives home the point that this film wasn't made for them, it wasn't made for audiences that like films following the motion of cinema. It had virtually no conflicts, no climaxes, no bad guys, no final battles, no happily ever afters, it just had life happening at the pace that life TRULY moves, which is rather slowly. We didn't get a movie about a Mr.Nobody becoming a somebody, taking down the bad guy over a pit of lava, and getting the girl at the end in a span of 2 hours, we got a movie about a dreamer who experiences a slice of his life and ends with him just continuing it. It doesn't make much sense how Anna can learn that love at first sight is a load of baloney, go on a quest to save her sister, temporarily die because of it, and get a boyfriend all while being 18-19 years old. That being said, this cliche formula works well in movies and it certainly did for Frozen. They can take that stupid golden paperweight along with the rest of their awards and tell it to the world. The Wind Rises is just like Miyazaki himself, peace-loving and humble, not asking for a trillion dollars in box office revenues, no Hollywood articles, no big celebrity voice actors' names being plastered on billboards, no Broadway shows, no merchandise and NO gloating. This movie exists because people wanted to make something that they loved, not for money and recognition. And even if some otherworldly force puts The Wind Rises name in that envelope tonight at the Oscars, I'll be more than pleased to not see Miyazaki there to accept it. This movie is perfect just the way it is, out of the spotlight, yet still highly praised, out of the grubby fingers of the media.
I'm working through a whole lot of thoughts about this. What I'll say for now is that I definitely think that anyone interested in Miyazaki as a creator should see it, because it encapsulates much of what's come up time and again throughout his career. As a dramatization of this inventor's life and his drive to create and a somber commentary on the times in which he lived, I think it works very well.
I know a few out there believe the film brushes off or even somehow excuses militarism. I think this is a fundamental misreading of the film that's looking too hard for overt proselytizing and thus missing a number of points that communicate with more subtlety than that, which turn out to be no less meaningful in the end. This film is different from and dramatically more than a willfully blind and carefree celebration of a plane.
Having just gotten back for watching it, I can see why this must have been the film he "had" to make as his final message towards the audience (especially the young adults of Japan) now. It presents Jiro Horikoshi as an artist, and dwells a great deal on the implications of what he spent his life making. The horrors of the war are mostly peripheral to the narrative, but it's definitely a presence throughout. It's easy to understand why he shed tears for the first time in his life over his own film, it was a huge challenge and he accomplished it without much if any compromise.
Anyone who's a fan of his work needs see it. For it really is a masterpiece.
Saw it this morning and loved it. So vivid and beautiful. A few parts dragged a little too long for me, but the ending really brought everything together. I must admit that I am a little sad he ended his movie career on a rather depressing note, but perhaps it is fitting since we are losing such a great talent. Perhaps he'l reconsider in a year or so and end on something a bit more fantastical. I'll probably comment a bit more on the film later, when I've had a bit more time to process.
To be more clear, and this is what I personally believe, I think only death can get Miyazaki to "retire" and stop directing features at this point. I fully believe he'll direct his next manga into a feature at some point.
There were conflicting reports, but from it sounded like he recanted on his sixth or so "retirement" announcements. Just saying, he's done it six times already. I think when he says "retire" it's just his way of saying, "I need a break, but I'll be back at it eventually once I've had a rest."
Here's one interesting stray thought from the review, since I haven't seen the movie. Every American animated feature film, which by default is aimed at children, has some variation on the theme of "be yourself" and "chase your dreams and make them reality." The Wind Rises seems to borrow the same theme, but drops it into a time of war and adds the bitter corollary that doing so has a price, and sometimes that price is extraordinarily high and it's ambiguous whether it was worth it. As usual, Hayao Miyazaki seems to be giving his audience far more credit for thoughtfulness than the average film, which is something I find fascinating.
I suspect I'm not going to get to see this in theaters (and if I did, it would be the dub), but I can hardly wait to grab this on home video.
Most people here pretty much echo my thoughts. Although, the truth is this is a very dense film that can be talked about for a long time, which bodes well for its ability to stand the test of time. People should still be talking about the film's meanings 20 years from now. I think the subject and lead character may be a little too niche to earn widespread love, but I think it will end up being one of Miyazaki's most respected films--in that, even if it didn't work for you, you'd respect what he tried to do here. As for the comparison to Porco Rosso, it's apt, but this is a far more personal and detailed film--and that detail is important because 90% of what makes this film unique is just how much time it devotes to the minutiae of its subject matter. It's much more niche and focused. Porco is still at heart a rollicking adventure, which makes it easier for mainstream audiences to love, but it's not necessarily a "better" film covering the same concerns. Just a different and more generalized presentation.
Two things I loved:
1. the film is SO geeky about mechanical engineering. A good 40% of the film is devoted to discussion about the nuts and bolts of airplane design--which makes the film so personal and self indulgent in a really endearing way. But it's not alienating--you might not get all the Xs and Os but you always know what the characters are ATTEMPTING to do in their designs.
2. Werner Herzog as a mysteriously wise German character in the dub. You can't miss his voice, it's so distinct. And Werner Herzog in an anime? AWESOME.
20 years ago today, Apple released Mac OS 9.2.2, the very last version of their classic operating system. It would be available on computers as late as mid-2003, whilst Mac OS X (now macOS) up to 10.4.11 had Classic Environment for computers released before the Intel switch in 2006.