The Wind Rises – A Must See For Animation Fans! Stunningly Beautiful.

214015.jpgFrom master animator Hayao Miyazaki comes this wonderful film that examines the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II. Jiro is inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni, Jiro became one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. The film chronicles much of his life including his love story with Nahoko. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B. comments, “This is a breathtaking masterpiece of art that allows your mind and heart to soar like the wind.” Gerry O adds, “This film has something for everyone to enjoy – action, drama, suspense, romance, history, Japanese culture, adventure and, of course, planes.” Their full reviews are below.

The Wind Rises
Reviewed by Keefer C. B.
Video review available here.

This is a breathtaking masterpiece of art that allows your mind and heart to soar like the wind. The story is loosely based on the real life story of Jiro Horikoshi (Joseph Gordon- Levitt). He dreams of flying but, because he’s nearsighted, decides to be a Japanese airplane designer. We observe his life from child to adulthood as he makes his dream plane and, in the process, falls in love with Naoko (Emily Blunt). Will Jiro create the beautiful plane or realize that the beauty he’s seeking is right in front of him all along?

The film is a work of art. Hayao Miyazaki (Director and Writer) creates unique color palettes and designs. Since the movie takes place in the sky, the animators go above and beyond to hand draw backgrounds and movements for the planes. We witness them majestically soaring through the skies and you feel as if you’re with them. The voice acting is well done. I think they portrayed the characters and their relationships exceptionally well. Much of the film focuses on the romance between Naoko and Jiro. Their connection is both loving and tragic. The film was first released in Japan, so American voice-overs are dubbed over the animation and yes, it can be distracting. They confront actual events that happened in Japan, such as the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and Japan entering the war. I love the truth in this film. It doesn’t shy away from talking about the real issues that happened during this time.

My favorite character is Mr. Caproni (Stanley Tucci) a historical Italian aircraft designer who is Jiro’s mentor in his dreams. I enjoy Stanley’s voice acting skills. He’s one of those character actors who is fantastic at everything he does. The character himself is fascinating. He looks at aircraft not as a bringer of war, but a creator of dreams.

My favorite scene is the last dream sequence, after Jiro goes through a life changing experience. This is one of those bitter sweet endings, where you don’t know what to think at first. You just need to take it all in.

The message in this film is, “Sometimes the outcome to your dream is not always what you expect.” Jiro spends his whole life wanting to make his aircraft, determined to do anything to fulfill his goal. After a few sacrifices, he realizes his potential but it’s not what he expects. Mr. Caproni then asks him, “Did you have a good ten years?”

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 11 to18-year-olds. This film shows people smoking and deals with serious issues of the time. This is a must see film!

The Wind Rises
Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Video review available here
I didn’t know what to expect from this movie. When I saw it, however, I was pleasantly surprised! “The Wind Rises” is a heartwarming movie that many people will love. Especially, since it is based on true events.

This film has something for everyone to enjoy – action, drama, suspense, romance, history, Japanese culture, adventure and, of course, planes.

The story is about a life of a young boy, who dreams of flying and designing planes. However, he can’t see very well and has to wear glasses. Luckily, he grows up during pre-World War II in Japan to become a super successful engineer. Then, though, he needs to build a plane for the military – a powerful one.

I love this movie. The animation is breathtaking and pretty. The plot is interesting and it is also based on a true story as well. However, there are many time transitions and some can be a bit confusing. Everything else though is fantastic. This is the last film of a famous director Hayao Miyazaki and it sparked a lot of controversy in the U.S. and Japan.

My favorite scene is when the boy is a bit older. He is on a train and everything is fine until – BAM, the infamous earthquake of Japan that shook the world. The boy gets off the train very calmly. He sees a girl crouching next to a lady and goes to them. He rescues the lady who was injured and becomes a hero.

I recommend this movie for ages 13 -18. It is very mature and contains a lot of adult concepts that younger kids may not understand or appreciate. I also give it 4.5 out 5 stars.

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