Blu-Ray Review: The Wind Rises (2013, Dir, Hayao Miyazaki)

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Since this is the last movie Hayao Miyazaki is making, he’s retiring from movie making, I was expecting the best, but what I got was something less than that. I mean the animation as always was spectacular but the story this time out is rooted firmly in the real world, so to speak. I tend to be more partial to his fantasy-laden plots. The Wind Rises centers on an actual person from history, Jiro Horikoshi, who designed this airplane for World War II. The tale, however, as I understand is fictional, showing how he became inspired by aeronautics and how he met his wife who then died of tuberculosis.

The movie starts off with Jiro as a child dreaming of flying this airplane. Dreams figure prominently in this movie as we see him meeting this man named, Giovanni Battista Caproni, an Italian aeronautical engineer, who supplies Jiro with inspiration and insight at certain points in the movie when he falls asleep, which then spurs Jiro towards his destiny of making this plane used heavily in the war. But it’s his friend, Kiro Honjo, another historical figure from WWII, who is also fictionalized in this movie, who tells him having a family, a loved one, is what helps the most when it comes to inspiration.

This is also partly a love story as we see Jiro first meet his love at a younger age right in the middle of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Her name is Naoko and they were both traveling on the same train when the quake hit. He saves her and her maid, carrying the maid to safety after she breaks her leg and then all the way home.

Jiro doesn’t bump into her again until many years later after she’s grown up and this is when the relationship begins, but she has tuberculosis, and it’s fatal. They end up marrying anyway and spending what little time they have together. The entire movie is a prelude to World War II. The war is gearing up, Hitler’s power is in its infancy and Jiro is destined to make a difference by making this plane and pulling Japan technologically out of the Stone Age.

The move ends with the test flight and ends like it began with Jiro having a dream of Caproni. As I said the animation is gorgoues but I prefer Miyazaki’s fantasy movies.

Back on November 18th Disney released The Wind Rises on separate DVD and DVD/Blu-ray combo editions.

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—Mono English DTS-HD Master Audio, Mono Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio—English, English SDH, French subtitles.

As for extras…

  • The Wind Rises Behind the Microphone
  • Storyboards
  • Announcement of the Completion of the Film
  • Original Japanese Trailers and TV Spots

On the DVD the only feature you get is the The Wind Rises Behind the Microphone, all others are on the blu-ray.

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