The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

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The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby Zohar » Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:56 pm UTC

Turns out there isn't a specific Ghibli/Miyazaki thread, so I guess this can be it. But I wanted to speak specifically about The Wind Rises, which I just finished seeing (subbed).

I thought it was a beautiful, delicate and powerful movie. Definitely among the top three Ghibli films, in my opinion (along with Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, in no particular order). It had a wonderful portrayal of Japan throughout the 20th century. A great story about ambition, dreams, human ingenuity and engineering. I felt it talked quite a lot about the decisions people take, the consequences of these decisions and what we allow ourselves to live with. And it had a touching and sensitive love story as well.

I really recommend you go see it, and I'd like to hear people's impressions of it.
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Re: The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby charliepanayi » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:11 pm UTC

I liked The Wind Rises (especially the dream sequences, the earthquake bit and the rather moving ending) and it is of course stunning to look at, but I did feel the fact it's much more grounded in reality than most Miyazaki films meant it lacked the magic of a Totoro or Spirited Away. Here's my personal ranking of Miyazaki films, alas I have not seen much of Ghibli's other output to rank them, though I will say I really like Whisper of the Heart. And I should stress that even the lowest films on this list have stuff I like and they're still good films. That's how good Miyazaki is.

My Neighbour Totoro
Spirited Away
The Castle of Cagliostro
Kiki's Delivery Service
Castle in the Sky
Porco Rosso
Princess Mononoke
The Wind Rises
Howl's Moving Castle

Not seen: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (though the manga is brilliant)

Has anyone seen the trailer for Ghibli's latest film, When Marnie Was There? It looks good.
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Re: The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby Thadlerian » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:02 pm UTC

We're doing rankings? Awesome, let me try:

1: Spirited Away
Nothing beats this one, with its sheer immersion and atmosphere. The little world of the bathhouse is so realized, a place you'd want to be. When things are important, you get why. The emotions are real. Symbols and meanings are ambiguous, but not incomprehensible (as is often the case in anime). It is pure magic, plain and simple.

2: Whisper of the Heart
Been a while since I watched this one. I didn't think the non-fantasy young adult Ghibli movies (Whisper of the Heart, Only Yesterday, Ocean Waves) would be very interesting, but this one was just impossibly sweet and romantic, with excellent use of music and visuals. Yoshifumi Kondo directed it - he was to be Miyazaki's successor, but died in 1998, which was really too bad. He would have been a worthy successor.

3: Porco Rosso
Sort of an underdog on the Ghibli list - one of the more adult movies, with less gags and more quiet scenes. Yet the comedy is saved gracefully by the pirates, a slightly more mature, slightly more dangerous version of the Castle in the Sky gang. The humanity of the entire movie is such a joy to experience, and certain scenes are nearly unbearable in their poignancy.

4: Castle in the Sky
An animated Star Wars. It has just enough of everything: Action, comedy, romance, exploration, big decisions. I never imagined a cartoon for kids could have explosive action scenes like this, it would have changed my world if I had got to watch it as a kid. It's two hours of never being bored.

5: The Wind Rises
Maybe this should be higher. Another adult Ghibli, Miyazaki's allegedly last (like Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and Ponyo). Like everyone else will tell you: The earthquake scene was amazing. I was also taken by surprise with the Magic Mountain (book by Thomas Mann, not Fantasy despite the title) references. However, I was a little disappointed to research the protagonist and find that he was actually a non-smoker, and that substantial parts of the movie were completely fictional.

6: On Your Mark
Odd one in here, not a full-length film but a music video. A masterpiece of non-verbal, non-linear, incredibly compressed storytelling.

Those were the easy ones.

7: Kiki's Delivery Service
Another odd one out. Far from realistic, but definitely the most low-key of the Fantasy Ghiblies. The story is easy and without any actual conflict, yet it manages to get just a little exciting nevertheless. A very nice film, just not great.

8: Princess Mononoke
Probably the highest rated Ghibli movie within the fanbase, for entirely understandable reasons. It is a true epic, with mostly powerful characters and grand settings. But I'm just not buying Ashitaka. He has no emotions, no agency - he just does stuff that feels random, like he's a puppet on strings, like he's some kind of faceless "force of goodness" in this setting of otherwise great characters. He adds nothing to the story. There's nothing to root for in him. Plenty to root for elsewhere, though.

9: My Neighbors the Yamadas
An Isao Takahata film, very different from the rest in style. Short sequences depicting the everyday life of a typical Japanese family. Using simple animation very effectively. Not terribly memorable, save for a sequences where the father fantasizes about protecting his family from a biker gang. These Ghibli people know their trade.

10: My Neighbor Totoro
Another fan favourite. Solid movie for kids, though it drags a little too much for me.

11: Pom Poko
If this had been the movie I'd get introduced to Ghbili with, I'd be like "wtf is this, how do I get out?", but despite all the weirdness, it's a solid film. The three masters, the ghost parade and the poignant scenes towards the ending come to mind. It's also got some of the most frightening sequences of a Ghibli film, save perhaps Tales from Earthsea.

12: Only Yesterday
The junior part of the trilogy (although they're not about the same characters), describing the childhood of a single young woman (past typical marriage age) going to the countryside for a break. Lots of insight into Japanese culture, but again not of the most exiting Ghibli films.

13: Ocean Waves
The more senior of the Ghibli realistic YA series (Only Yesterday is the younger, Whisper of the Heart comes in-between). A nice movie, sweet and entertaining, with certain insights. But I'm not sure if it had needed to be a Ghibli film.

Those are all very good as well. Would recommend them to anyone without stopping to think for a moment.

14: Grave of the Fireflies
Wartime movie by Isao Takahata. I feel I'm supposed to get some kind of emotional fix from watching it, but I don't. So I don't care much for it.

15: Nausicäa of the Valley of the Wind
I read the manga first. In the manga, things make sense, and characters are realized. The film feels like a stitched-together short version of the manga, where lots of random stuff happens without very much in the sense of motivation. It has not aged well at all - the sound effects are synthetic and silly, and the lack of background animation in certain scenes feels cheap. At times, the (otherwise excellent) soundtrack goes very techno, which feels off as well. There's just too much "cheap anime" feel to this movie.

16: Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro
Miyazaki's first directed. Part of an anime TV franchise, and again the animation shows its age. I can take this one out for a watch for completion's sake, or to study Miyazaki's development, but there's not much to interest me in the story - just another damsel in distress, which Miyazaki raised himself above for the rest of his career (although I'm a little uncertain about Castle in the Sky).

17: Howl's Moving Castle
Until I saw The Wind Rises, I was conviced Miyazaki had burned out his talent on Spirited Away. Howl's Moving Castle is a grand epic, visually stunning at all times, and riddled with flaws. There's weird, non-intuitive stuff going on all over the place, the ending is way, way too happy, and the story is a heavily dumbed down version of the original novel by Diana Wynne Jones (although she liked the adaption). Howl's Moving Castle is to Miyazaki what Going Postal is to Terry Pratchett - spectacular and detailed, and yet you've seen all of it done before, better, in his previous works. A grim disappointment after the dazzling masterpiece from a few years before (Spirited Away for Miyazaki, and Night Watch in Pratchett's case), and an omen of more sub-par works to follow.

18: The Cat Returns
A sort of spiritual successor to Whisper of the Heart, following a side character on an adventure. Standard anime below Ghibli in style and content. Don't bother.

19: Arrietty
Entirely unremarkable, except for the soundtrack.

20: Ponyo
I'm not sure if it was just a bad Norwegian translation, but this (again) visually stunning film had a mostly nonsensical story. There was no conflict, nothing mattered, and everyone was just goofing around. I'm not sure who this movie is for - very little kids? Yet it was still trying to be clever here and there. If kids are too young for Kiki's Delivery Service or Castle in the Sky, maybe they should be doing other things than watching TV.

21: Tales From Earthsea
Goro Miyazaki's debut. I'm a long-time fan of the works of Ursula Le Guin, and Miyazaki's take was plain offensive. Unlike Wynne Jones, Le Guin didn't like this one - small wonder, it was the second white-washing of her mostly colored Earthsea universe in a few years. The film is a hodgepodge of The Farthest Shore and Tehanu (books 3 and 4 of the Earthsea cycle), with a lot of random elements thrown in, with as mentioned, some rather disturbing scenes. 10/10 would not watch again.

Nowadays, Goro Miyazaki is also messing around with Ronja, the Robber's Daugher by Astrid Lindgren, which can hardly be good news. The book and the movie are equal masterpieces, and should be discovered in their current form.
Last edited by Thadlerian on Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:26 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:18 pm UTC

As a somewhat aside, Wizard of Earthsea specifically mentions skin color?

I love Miyazaki's. I don't think any were unenjoyable.
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Re: The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby Thadlerian » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:19 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:As a somewhat aside, Wizard of Earthsea specifically mentions skin color?

Most definitely does, consider page 45 of A Wizard of Earthsea.

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Re: The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby Derek » Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:19 pm UTC

I can't make an overall ranking, but Spirited Away is my favorite Miyazaki work and Ponyo my least. But all of his works except the latter are amazing. As of a few months ago, I think I have seen all of them except the Castle of Cagliostro.

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Re: The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby charliepanayi » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:09 pm UTC

It seems that Ghibli are no longer making new films :(
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Re: The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby Thadlerian » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:47 pm UTC

Just heard the news. It's not full stop, but they're taking a break to find out if they want to continue.

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Re: The Wind Rises (and other Ghibli films?)

Postby Jorpho » Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:42 pm UTC

The Wind Rises was okay. As has been mentioned, the dream sequences and the earthquake bit plainly stole the show; a lot of the rest was just a little too fluffy. (The scene with the paper airplane just seemed to drag on forever with zero point. But I suppose it can be argued that a lot of Ghibli films have scenes here and there with plainly zero point.) And it's a difficult film to recommend since it is apparently extremely far from biographical.

Cagliostro and Laputa are still tops in my book. I guess Spirited Away would come next; it's been so long since I've seen that one.

By the way, did you know The Last Unicorn was made with pretty much the same team of animators that shortly thereafter went on to do Naussica? Of course, you'd never guess from looking at it.

And on another note, isn't it odd that this news of "taking a break" follows so closely on Miyazaki's somewhat controversial statement that the industry is full of otaku?

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