Very loosely based on the life of Japanese plane designer Jiro Horikoshi,(VERY loosely), Jiro (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a young man fascinated by aviation and what goes into designing aircraft. He encounters his idol, Count Caproni (Stanley Tucci), in his dreams who inspires Jiro to follow his dreams and go into plane designs. Jiro gets a job working professionally with his best friend from University, Honjo (John Krasinski), dealing with the Japanese obsolete technology and the pressures of developing fighter planes for the war. He also develops a relationship with a painter named Nahoko Satomi (Emily Blunt).
The Wind Rises is Studio Ghibli's best film since Howl's Moving Castle. Blunt, I know. I was worried that, because of the topic, that Miyazaki would have to tone down his imaginative side so sake of realism. He did not and the film is more memorable as a result. Using Caproni as someone existing in Jiro's dreams was a great idea as he acts more like a spiritual guide rather and it makes Jiro seem more down to earth as he never actually meets his idol, only fantasies about it. The animation is also some of Miyazaki's best. He already had flying scenes down hell but the textures and environments look beautiful. You actually sense what everything is made out of (the metal planes especially) and the backgrounds are wonderful. Some of the events that happen could prove challenging but it's pulled off brilliantly (you'll see what I mean).
The emotion in this film is incredibly powerful. It's the film that had be fighting tears back the hardest. One minute, we have a funny scene featuring Jiro and Hinjo's banter and the next we see more development into Jiro and Nahoko's romance. While I am unsure that many of the events displayed happened to Jiro in real life (in fact, I'm almost certain that they don't), you are still invested in what happens in Jiro's life. If I HAD to nit pick, I would say that there is a sub-plot that is dropped and forgotten about ut sicne it's a (sort of) biography, I can't really fault that because I am unsure what's true and what's not plus the film ends rather abruptly so maybe it's something Jiro encountered later. Even then, the ending is beautifully written.
The Wind Rises is everything I expect from Studio Ghibli. The animation is just beautiful, which is to be expected from Studio Ghibli, and the story is wonderful and keeps you attention throughout. I will admit that this is the very first Studio Ghibli film that I've seen in the cinema and it lends itself to the big screen seeing as it's a film based on aviation. Inspiring and wonderfully presented, this is more than worth a watch ASAP.
Beautifully crafted and wonderfully written, The Wind Rises is an inspiring film from the master himself, Hayao Miyazaki.