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Miyazaki’s ‘The Wind Rises’ is complicated

“The Wind Rises,” an Oscar-nominated film, focuses on the Japanese fighter planes used during World War II.
“The Wind Rises,” an Oscar-nominated film, focuses on the Japanese fighter planes used during World War II.Studio Ghibli/Walt Disney Pictures

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The Wind Rises

If “The Wind Rises” is Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, as the great Japanese animator has claimed, it also may be his least typical. “Typical” isn’t a word usually associated with Miyazaki, whose work encompasses timeless children’s classics, surreal folk-lore fantasies, and aeronautic pigs. But he has never tackled a real-life subject before, and “The Wind Rises” is -- on the face of it, anyway -- a biopic about Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of Japanese fighter planes used during WWII. Should you see it? Of course: Anything Miyazaki does is worth your time. But the movie’s a gorgeous, problematic anomaly in an illustrious career -- a case of rapturous artistic blindness. The excellent English dub includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, and Werner Herzog(!) among the voices.

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