Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Reviews: The Wind Rises

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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


“Tick-tock, tick-tock!”
does scream the clock,
drowning in despair.

A mind is blocked,
We run amok,
although we’re far from hares.

Rains of stress are falling on
And days do burn devoid of fun
Yet nothing’s there to do.
Forget the skies beneath the sun,
For now you work anon and on,
much days, with much ado.

Such lives do burn
And memory’s blur,
As seconds tick or tock.

Where joy’s concerned
We should confer
Much more than second thoughts.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Reviews – Neverending Story

Let’s clear three things before we get into this review.

1.     I loved the first Neverending Story movie. Yes that means I’m a child of the 80’s.
2.     That movie is basically half the book. Which would explain why the author wanted to boycott the movie… not to mention the artistic liberties they enjoyed in the adaptation.
3.     Bastian is nowhere near as likable in the book as he was in the movie… which was the intention.

That being said, The Neverending Story is a classic for many reasons. The writing is intelligent, interesting and truly invites you to ponder, exactly how would you waste your wishes if you were granted an Auryn? I say waste because eventually odds are you’d put wishes to poor use. That’s why life is wise in not giving you all you wish for.

My version of the book also had two color fonts which as a writer opens a whole new worlds to what I could do with my writing. I’d seen something like that… although nothing as well made where each ink had its own style and tone. It is truly a marvelous book I fully recommend because as some of the best young adult or children’s literature does, it really challenges you as a reader.

So what if Bastian is ultimately annoying on many occasions and borderline deplorable? It’s not as if Dorothy wasn’t kind of a ditz or Alice a tad annoying in her poshness. Many protagonists in children’s books aren’t Harry Potter or Coraline and challenge you to look past their flaws into a world of wonder.

In short, our lives are but a chapter in the Neverending Story, and you’d do yourself a great disservice if you didn’t give yourself a chance to accompany Bastian on his travels to Fantastica… oh yeah, Fantasia is not the correct name of the world… but you also knew Dorothy’s slippers were silver, right?

Here’s to luckdragons, seas of mist and wisely used wishes.