The Wind Rises / Kaze Tachinu  (2013)    70/100

Rating :   70/100                                                                     126 Min        PG

Written and directed by the animation legend that is Hayao Miyazaki (who retired after the film’s completion, although he also did the same thing after releasing ‘Princess Mononoke‘ …) this latest from Studio Ghibli returns to a familiar motif for the company – that of aerial flight, portraying a fictionalised biography of Jiro Horikoshi who we see literally dreaming of becoming an aeronautical engineer in Japan in the decades leading up to the Second World War, and we watch as he realises his dream, creating planes far greater than anything Japan had to offer previously, but at the same time they are perverted by the powers that be into machines of death and destruction. With the time and setting such as they are, there are constant haunting echoes of the disastrous future awaiting everyone, again a theme not new to the animation house. The film is very heavily burdened by a lacking narrative that really tests the audience’s patience, but it does just manage to salvage itself via, eventually, the introduction of a love story with a girl Jiro once saved when they were both younger, and who is now suffering from TB. This adds to the whole transient snapshot of creativity and life we’re watching, before the billowing flames of war burn all, and the variety of the skilled animation together with a very fitting score and sound design ensure it’s still a film of merit, but it probably should have been quite a bit better.

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