Some people turn their noses up at animated films stating that they can’t carry the weight and beauty a “real movie” can. In regards to such an opinion, I can simply share that The Wind Rises is an animated film and I cried on at least 3 occasions because I felt so moved by the love and loss seen in the movie that it was impossible for me not to relate.
For decades, Hayao Miyazaki has proven that animated films can be just as powerful as live action films. It is a wonderful medium and one I have always been in love with. I have especially taken a liking to Miyazaki during the last couple of years because in an era of CGI and 3D, his films are still beautifully hand drawn.
I have a passion for hand-drawn animation because it is not convenient, it is not easy, it is painstaking and requires a degree of love for a project that is often absent in many modern day CGI films. Please note, I’m not saying Finding Nemo and Toy Story aren’t masterpieces, of course they are… I’m just saying that there is a place for hand drawn animation, though this is a discussion for another day.
Going back to the movie in question, the Wind Rises is a powerful movie full of superbly drawn scenes, and some interesting questions about the value of a dream and pursuing it, even if it means others will use it for destructive purposes. The story centers around Jiro Horikoshi, the creator of the main airplane models used by Japanese air fighters in the Second World War. Just in case, this is not a biopic, it has fantastic elements in scenes where Jiro is shown dreaming and has lovely whimsical scenes of young love.
On the flip side, it shows scenes of air fighters, the destruction caused by the Japanese Earthquake of 1923 and handles mature topics, not to mention having a slow pace. So obviously this means that this is not a movie for kids. This is an animated feature for adults who enjoy a good movie. And it is a very good, although sad movie. Unlike all other Miyazaki films I’ve seen, the end of this movie tugs at my heart strings and really hammered through the pain of loss.
It is powerful, emotional and heartfelt. It also happens to be hand drawn and unreservedly human. Two things I admire and strive for in my work as well.