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The Wind Rises Blu-ray Review

The Wind Rises Blu-ray

“The Wind Rises” is not Miyazaki’s finest work.

The story: With his goal of being a pilot crushed due to bad eyesight, Jiro is guided by his mentor in dreams (Italian aircraft designer Giovanni Battista Caproni) to become a plane designer. After studying at Tokyo University, Jiro’s hard work pays off when he is hired by Mitsubishi to design a fighter plane. The rest of the film essentially chronicles his aeronautical work on the Zero planes and his tragic romance with Nahoko (who is dying of tuberculosis).

In what could be legendary director Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, “The Wind Rises” is a peculiar animated fictional biopic of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi. While the film has many positive messages about creation, dreams, love, planes, and the beauty of this world, the story strangely shies away from war and atrocities. While the story does indeed touch on how man or machine can be used for bad purposes, it still feels oddly detached from reality at times. Since this is an animated feature, it’s possible Miyazaki wanted to focus on symbolism and metaphors to show the destructive nature of man and man’s creations rather than showing graphic war violence.

Another odd choice here is the inclusion of an entirely fictional romance between Jiro and Nahoko. While likely created to contrast the horrors of war, the melodramatic romance tends to bog the already overlong film down. It feels too safe and ordinary for such a wildly original filmmaker.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? Studio Ghibli’s animation work is as dazzling as ever.

Audio Tracks: English and Japanese 1.0 DTS-HD MA. How do they sound? I’m not sure what the story behind the 1.0 tracks is, but they are certainly a bit soft. With that said, the English dub is generally very strong (Werner Herzog is brilliant as Hans Castorp) as is the original Japanese language track.

Extras:
* DVD copy.
* Disney trailers.
* “The Wind Rises Behind The Microphone”- The English voice cast and crew members chat about “The Wind Rises” and the characters.
* 9 minutes of original Japanese trailers and TV spots.
* Storyboards of the entire film complete with Japanese voice actors, music, and sound f/x.
* “Announcement of the Completion of the Film”- An 82 minute press conference featuring MC Hideyuki Nakayama, Hayao Miyazaki, Hideaki Anno, and Yumi Matsutoya.

Overall Thoughts: “The Wind Rises” is undoubtedly an interesting and challenging animated film, but some of Miyazaki’s creative choices are simply puzzling.

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November 14, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | ,

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