last film, The Wind Rises
, kicks off with a very literal dream of flight. Our hero, the loosely biographied Dr. Jiro Horikoshi, is here a near-sighted, bright teenager who, unable to become a pilot, longs to become an aeronautic engineer. He dreams he is flying a fantasy craft with bird-like wings and a whooshing hydraulic engine, soaring above the farmlands where he has grown up, and waving to townsfolk below.
But his beautiful dream is interrupted by the appearance of a nightmarish ship emblazoned with the Iron Cross, carrying a payload of animal-shaped bombs. This vision, which startles Jiro awake, is a symbol of a world and a life to come, one balanced between incredible feats of ingenuity, and the maladies wrought by history. The Wind Rises
shares this polarity. A frequently moving, absolutely stunning piece of animated work, The Wind Rises
showcases many of Miyazaki’s visual obsessions, as well as themes that echo throughout his oeuvre. It also contains within its mesmerizing shell a number of questions on the morality of war and technology that, in spit of the great buildup regarding them, remain unanswered.
Mild spoilers beyond the cut.