This traditionally animated 2D stunner charts the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a Japanese designer who would go on to mold the Japanese Zero, a sleek fighter jet that would be instrumental in the country's World War II operations. While some have decried the film for romanticizing a war monger, it's really a story of inspiration, invention and imagination -- how his designs were used is almost beside the point. You'll be able to form your own opinion soon enough -- the movie is about to get a wide release, with an all-new English language dub (supervised by Steven Spielberg confederate Frank Marshall), just in time for the Oscars, where it's in the running for Best Animated Feature. And what's more -- we have an exclusive clip!
The clip features Jiro (here voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), in one of his many flights of fancy (pun very much intended), having a conversation with Giovanni Battista Caproni (voiced by Stanley Tucci), a famous Italian airplane designer and deliverer of sage wisdom, who has a similar history with the smoke-belching war machine, considering his designs were utilized during World War I. "Remember this Japanese boy, airplanes are not tools for war..." Caproni intones. He continues: "Airplanes are beautiful dreams and engineers turn dreams into reality."
This is pretty much the thesis of the film, and one of the reasons it's so powerful.
Miyazaki, for those who are unaware, has often been dubbed the Japanese Walt Disney, and has a number of high-profile supporters, including Pixar big cheese John Lasseter, who attempted a more contemplative, Miyazaki-esque tone with "Cars." (There are also certainly some Miyazakian elements to "Ratatouille.") His lushly animated features often exist in a world in which fantasy and reality gently comingle and are almost always 100% amazing. "The Wind Rises" is no different.
The dubbed version of "The Wind Rises," which also features performances by Emily Blunt, John Krasinksi, Martin Short, Werner Herzog and William H. Macy, opens wide this weekend.