Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Wind Rises

This animated masterpiece (details to follow)  is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, a Japanese airplane designer, whose passion for elegant design helped bring Japan to World War II. Hayao Miyazaki, a well known Japanese animation and manga creator who was also involved in Princess Mononoki and The Secret World of Arrietty.  It is lengthy- the 3:15 pm show (including previews) ran until 6:20 pm. At times, the story drags. But when the story drags, lean back and take time to marvel at the beautiful animation. In fact, there are moments where all you think is that each frame is the world's most wonderful coloring book; and then, other times, you see the characters against a backdrop that seems to be a beautiful watercolor.  I was mesmerized by the art.  It shows you that not all animation has to be 3D , or even detailed.  Also, I would advise you to see it in Japanese with subtitles. I think that dubbing is just awful- you as the viewer should know the intonation and cadence of the original language. Dubbing is a way for you to Americanize your own experience- but you should not. Who wants to hear a bunch of American actors screw it up? I can tell you that I didn't regret seeing it in Japanese for one second. This was a very good story. It is a Japanese writer/director's view of Japan's lead up and aggression in World War II, which you will struggle to understand. How a country that used oxen to transport test planes to the airstrips could get it into their heads to attack America. It cost us all dearly. I'd like to provide the usual list of exaggerations or omissions in the script, but I couldn't find a real biography of Jiro Horikoshi.  I'm sure there is one out there. If you are debating whether or not to see it, here is a gem- it was the highest grossing movie in Japan in 2013. It has a lot to recommend it. As long as it was, the children in the audience sat still the entire time. I don't know what the little ones who couldn't READ did, but the beauty of the film must have been enough for them.