'The Wind Rises' is beautiful but conceptually muddled

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Wind' director Hayao Miyazaki has seized on an intriguing idea for his plot but doesn't follow through.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios
'The Wind Rises' is directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

The great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has said that his new film “The Wind Rises,” will be his last. (It opens for a week’s Oscar qualifying run before re-opening nationwide in February.) For all sorts of reasons, I hope this is not true.

“The Wind Rises” takes its title from a poem by Paul Valery that says, “The wind is rising! ... We must try to live!” The film’s hero is partially based on Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the Zero fighter plane that figured in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Miyazaki presents us with a naive young man who is so entranced by aeronautical flight that he never thinks through the dangers that lie in wait. He’s a “pure” scientist in an impure world. Miyazaki, whose father worked in the aviation industry, shares some of his hero’s naiveté, I think. He’s in love with the lyric gracefulness of flight, and his movie is visually as beautiful as anything he’s ever done.

Conceptually, it’s muddled. The collision between poetic fancifulness and grim reality, between peace and war, never falls into focus. Miyazaki has seized on a great theme only to soft-pedal it. Grade: B+ (Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and smoking.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to 'The Wind Rises' is beautiful but conceptually muddled
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Movies/2013/1108/The-Wind-Rises-is-beautiful-but-conceptually-muddled
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe