Today I went into the city with a friend to see the last Miyazaki movie ever made, The Wind Rises.
Shown in limited release, i.e. one indie theater in all of NYC and all of the tri-state area, the movie was...different.
But in a good way. Ponyo was different in a bad way, it felt unfinished, and choppy and...we're not here to talk about Ponyo.
The NY Times called The Wind Rises a 'swan song' but I don't think that does it any justice. Swan song sounds like someone bemoaning their downfall. The Wind Rises is nothing like that, it's a Final Bow.
Far more earthly than any Miyazaki before it, The Wind Rises feels more like a Takahata, the more grounded of the two heads of Ghibli Studios.
To be fair, Miyazaki still is one half of Ghibli, he just wont be making feature films anymore. He's going to focus more on short films and tv series like My Neighbors the Yamatas. He's not going to sit around all day and drink tea and doodle. I don't think I can see him doing that forever. Any true artist will draw and create until they fall over dead. Like, Yoshifumi Kondô (knock on wood)
Sorry, that was in terrible taste. Absolutely terrible I know that affected him greatly. Kondo was to become the next head of Ghibli. :C I am super sorry about that.
But The Wind Rises, that's what we're here to talk about. The movie is magical, in a very...ordinary way if that makes any sense. I think what Miyazaki was coming to terms with in the movie is his departure from the film making industry, and that is something you see right away, even the dialogue says it, in a sense.
But it's also about coming to terms with your own mortality, and about growing up and finally facing the world as it is. Sure, he can still dream of fantastical things, of dirigibles and magic airships, but you have to come down from the clouds now and again, because sometimes the real world needs you to deal with things.
The film is absolutely wonderful, and I think it was very moving, even if it's not your usual Miyazaki. The color pallet was close to Kiki's Delivery Service, where as the plane designs (its about an airplane engineer) were both Howl's Moving Castle (in the beginning) and Porco Rosso (towards the end). The character design was kinda like My Neighbor Totoro, but also a bit Kiki's Delivery Service. The water was amazing, I think he liked what he did in Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away. He draws very viscous water.
But it is by far the most earth-bound Miyazaki there is, even if it's about trying to get OFF the ground.
Miyazaki-sama, we will miss you, but thank-you for the many dreams you have shared with us.