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Mar 2014 29

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By Adrian Lim

“The Wind Rises” was a dream project for the great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, and this gorgeous film makes a fine capstone for his career.

But even though it has fanciful dream sequences and some of the most lovely hand-drawn imagery of the Emperor of Anime’s career, the subject matter and his treatment of it are a puzzlement. It’s basically a biopic about Jiro Horikoshi, who designed planes for the Japanese military before and during World War II.

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This Jiro dreams of Zeroes.

Refracted through the imagination of revered animator Hayao Miyazaki, the dreams of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi are as wondrous as a serpentine dragon, a parade of wood spirits, or a dancing Totoro. But even when Jiro’s mind opens the door for endless possibilities, Miyazaki favors reality. In visions he conjures plane designs that nestle into the laws of physics, and soar across the sky like fantastical creatures. But in the real world, mankind’s hazy morals and violent tendencies encroach upon true passion. What is beautiful is easily used for destruction.

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For his final film, Miyazaki constructs a heart-wrenching tale of creativity and love that strives to find humanity in the haunting legacy of World War II. Yes, The Wind Rises is a cartoon, but animation unlocks its deepest emotions.

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From his earliest days, Jiro pictured himself designing airplanes like his idol, Giovanni Battista Caproni. Even while sleeping, his mind is filled with pictures of aircrafts and Caproni encouraging him to realize his art.

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So he does. Jiro becomes a prodigy of aviation, training at the top college in Tokyo and landing a position at one of Japan’s biggest airplane manufacturers.

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Miyazaki complicates Jiro’s historically accurate story by adding a fictionalized love interest. What could easily drown the pensive drama in schmaltz becomes some of the animator’s most tender work. During a much-needed excursion to a mountain resort, Jiro’s crosses paths with Nahoko, a young girl he rescued years before during Tokyo’s Great Kanto Earthquake. Her reappearance triggers a flood of memories for Jiro, a first love that never went away. He’s stricken. While the blossoming romance might play a bit abstruse by tradition, Miyazaki’s writing alleviates any concerns — Jiro and Nahoko share an absolute love.

Not to spoil the movie we should end here.

In retrospect, animation may seem unnecessary for a human drama, but The Wind Rises’ justifies it with delicacy and chromatic accomplishment. The Wind Rises is painted beauitfully so we can watch that beauty be overtaken by darkness.

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The Verdict

Deliberately slow paced and energized by Joe Hisashi’s musical mix of Eastern themes and Italian mandolin, The Wind Rises is an ode to the creative spirit, the intoxication of love in all of its forms. The film doesn’t take the obvious moralistic steps that could avert backlash — it’s pure Miyazaki, a perspective influenced by history and reflective of a 50-year career. With Wind Rises, Miyazaki chooses a world with pyramids.

Take note, very few laughs if there are any, no magical creatures and full of inaccuracies of history by adding things that were not there.

3 stars of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Animation

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Running time: 2:05

Rated: PG-13; some disturbing images and smoking

About us: SG NEWWAVE is a film club that conducts “film appreciation” sessions and post-screening critiques. These critiques are conducted and documented for educational use only. They are NOT in any way in support of any leisure or profit making activity.

Oscars 2014
Mar 2014 03
Written by Yue Jie

the oscars 2014

Awards season has come and gone, but it does not fully settle until the Academy Awards. Yes, that time of the year again when all of Hollywood come together and movie fanatics around the world unite to celebrate the best in movies. Read More >

Saving Mr. Banks (2014)
Feb 2014 26
Written by Yue Jie

Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Running time: 125 minutes
Classification: PG
Release date: 27 February 2014
Rating: 4.5/5

Saving Mr. Banks is a comedy drama, a flick that shows what went on behind the making of the infectiously popular musical Mary Poppins in 1964. Tom Hanks stars as filmmaker Walt Disney and Emma Thompson plays P. L. Travers, creator of fictional character Mary Poppins and author of the Mary Poppins books. Titled after Mr Banks, the father in Travers’ story, Saving Mr. Banks is a movie that fans of Mary Poppins, filmmakers, animators and movie buffs alike will come to enjoy and appreciate.

saving-mr-banks Read More >

All Is Lost (2014)
Feb 2014 20
Written by Yue Jie

Directed by: J.C. Chandor
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Running time: 106 minutes
Classification: PG13
Release date: 20 February 2014
Rating: 3.5/5

A man on his own stranded and alone in the ocean. This line sums up All Is Lost, a tragic tale of a solo voyage out at sea. Robert Redford stars in All Is Lost, known only as “Our Man”. Directed by J. C. Chandor, All Is Lost is his second feature film after Margin Call, a dialogue-filled drama. This, on the other hand, has zero dialogue and only a few lines.

AIL 1S(FEB 20) Read More >

Winter’s Tale (2014)
Feb 2014 13
Written by Yue Jie

Directed by: Akiva Goldsman
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Running time: 118 minutes
Classification: NC16 – Scenes of Intimacy
Release date: 13 February 2014
Rating: 1.5/5

Sometimes novels are meant to stay in the imaginary, fictitious world that they’re set in and remain untouched. Winter’s Tale is one such example of a film adaptation of a novel that should have been left as it is, with the movie not quite doing the book much justice.

winters_tale_2014-wide Read More >

Feb 2014 05
Written by Yue Jie

Yesterday, SGNewWave had our final screening of the semester and wrapped up our CCA for the academic year 2013. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who came and we sincerely hope you enjoyed the Singaporean drama, Ilo Ilo!

Our review of Ilo Ilo can be found here!

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About us: SG NEWWAVE is a film club that conducts “film appreciation” sessions and post-screening critiques. These critiques are conducted and documented for educational use only. They are NOT in any way in support of any leisure or profit making activity.

Feb 2014 05
Written by Yue Jie

Just last week on SGNewWave, documentary ‘Twittamentary’, a documentary on the social media network, was screened at SGNewWave!

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