I've Seen "The Wind Rises" (open spoilers)

The Japanese lose World War II. Really!

This is the story of a brilliant young aeronautical engineer who designed the Japanese Zero, and his tragic romance, by Miyazaki. It has the hallmark Miyazaki touches and I’d say it might be his most beautiiful movie yet. However, there is a problem. The pacing. The movie is GLACIAL in its pacing. Even though it has a fairly interesting story to tell, and Miyazaki does his usual great job of developing protagonists you empathize with, every scene just draaaaaaaags. Points get belaaaabored.

Also, this is one of Miyazaki’s more mature romances, we are told, but believe me, it’s not pushing the G-rated envelope, in fact, they probably need a rating that’s different from G to describe “Movies in which sexual scenes are handled almost entirely through poetic similes to such an extent that you might not realize there is such a thing as sexuality.” I mean, there’s a scene where the romantic protagonists deepen their relationship through paper airplane-throwing that had me thinking “You know what this movie needs? HARD CORE PORN.”

Of course the movie didn’t need hard core porn, but a little raunch to let us know there was fire somewhere under all that poetry might not have hurt.

But the movie is basically about designing and building airplanes, and if you are not glued to your seats by the flat-headed rivet scene, you must be some kind of monster!

Overall, I would not watch this movie with my full attention ever again, it would be painful, due to the glacial pacing. At 90 minutes or less long I think it would be a much better movie and you wouldn’t miss a thing (it runs 2 hours and 6 minutes). But I will HAPPILY leave it on in the background when I am doing something else, because there are MANY images of such striking beauty that giving them a look every so often would be rewarding.

Can’t wait to see this.

Also very slow was last year’s From Up On Poppy Hill, directed by his son. If I made one recommendation from the last few years, though, I would push everyone to see Secret World of Arriety, the best Miyazaki movie he never made(though he was somewhat involved).

If Hayao Miyazaki directed Arriety, it’d be in his top tier of movies, though not his best.

You might be interested to know that only the events related to aircraft design actually happened to Jirô Horikoshi. His personal life was nothing like what’s described in the movie. Miyazaki threw together the career biography of Horikoshi and the personal life of a character in a completely unrelated short story by an author named Tatsuo Hori.