Thursday, March 27, 2014
POSTED BY: Bill Plympton
I believe that Hayao Miyazaki is getting too old to animate. He keeps claiming that each animated feature he directs will be his last. Well, I hope he keeps his promise after his most recent film.
I saw the highly anticipated film "The Wind Rises" at the glorious Telluride Film Festival, and it saddens me to say this, but it's his worst film to date.
First and foremost, the artwork is the same - bland big eyes with two circular highlights, no lips and stiff walking cycles that have plagued him for over 30 years. This has become the trademark of animé. And if Miyazaki is such a genius, why doesn't he try some other ideas, freshen up his look? Experiment, perhaps.
Secondly, the story is minor and melodramatically maudlin. His previous film "Up on Poppy Hill" was equally minor and unexciting.
Thirdly, there are only a few sequences that are visually amazing. In fact, the whole film could have been told in live-action. It's my belief that animation is primarily a visual medium, and to have these straightforward soap opera dramas in animation, it kind of goes against the essence of animation.
Where is the glorious visual imagination that we witnessed in "Princess Mononoke", "My Neighbor Totoro" or "Spirited Away"?
And to top it off, the film is about the designers of the Japanese Zero and other WWII aircraft - the same planes that rained destruction on Nanking, the Philippines and Pearl Harbor. Why Miyazaki wants to glorify the exploits of the Japanese war machine is beyond me.
My favorite Miyazaki film is "Porco Rosso". In that film, he also glorified aviation. (His father, after all, was an aircraft engineer.) But, in that case, the flyers were more whimsical and romantic. They were more involved in early airplane races and not in the war in the Pacific.
In fact, "The Wind Rises" was so boring that my eyes wandered over to the lit "EXIT" sign in the theater, and I found that was more entertaining. I was praying for someone in front of me to pull out their phone and text their friends. That would have been more engaging than the stuff that was on the big screen.
I have to give Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" a "D". But please, I invite you to see the film yourself, and if you disagree with me, please let me know and I'll reprint your rebuttal.
at 2:12 AM