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The Wind Rises Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Review


“The Wind Rises” is a strange Miyazaki film.

After his dream of becoming a pilot fails to become a reality, Jiro decides to pursue a career as a plane designer after being coaxed to do so by a mentor (an Italian aircraft designer) in his dreams. Years later (after much studying and learning), Jiro is hired on by Mitsubishi where he would go on to design the Zero planes (which would sadly later be used in WWII). Outside of his career, the main storyline here involves his tragic romance with the dying love of his life (Nahoko).

Writer/director Hayao Miyazaki is best known for making beloved animated fantasy films like “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Princess Mononoke” so it was puzzling to see the director create an animated biopic about a historical figure (Jiro Horikoshi) for the first time. Granted, this is very much a fictionalized version of the man’s life, but it’s still out of his comfort zone. Even more than that, it’s a very challenging risk to create a film about a man who created a machine that became a weapon of war. While the film does indeed tackle the concept of man (and machine) having destructive capabilities, the film weirdly shies away from the war and its atrocities. Instead, the story tends to focus on creation, dreams, love, planes, and the beauty of the world. I don’t have a problem with focusing on the positive aspects of life (especially in these dark times), but it seems slightly irresponsible to sidestep the war as much as he did here. Yes, there are metaphors and symbolic moments in regards to it, but it felt like it should have been more of a focus. Then again, the whole movie feels a bit unfocused as it’s part biopic, part soap opera love story, part wartime drama, with some fantasy thrown in for good measure. 

Despite all of the flaws though, I found myself warming to the movie more this time around then I did upon its initial release. It may not be on par with his instant classics, but it’s a bold creative risk and a movie with a lot on its mind.

One aspect that doesn’t falter here is Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s trademark visual splendor. Even though the movie may lack the magic of other Ghibli/Miyazaki titles, the film is never lacking in the animation department. From the aerial scenes to the fields of grass, Miyazaki is nothing if not a true visionary world builder.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? A beautiful hi-def transfer that boasts crisp colors.

Audio Track: English and Japanese 2.0 DTS-HD MA. Both tracks work well. The English dub has some real talent (including Werner Herzog) while the original Japanese track is a must of course.

* A new booklet featuring written pieces by producer Toshio Suzuki and Hayao Miyazaki
* “10 Years With Hayao Miyazaki”- This new extra is a 50 minute documentary episode which features a ton of behind-the-scenes footage of Miyazaki and the making of “The Wind Rises.”
* “Behind The Microphone”- Interviews with the English voice cast and crew members talking about “The Wind Rises” and its characters.
* Japanese trailers and TV spots
* An 82 minute Film Completion Press Conference with Hayao Miyazaki, Hideaki Anno, Yumi Matsutoya and MC Hideyuki Nakayama.
* Storyboards of the entire film.
* DVD copy

September 3, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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