Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Wind Rises's Upcoming U.S. Release Stirs Up More Controversy


The Wind Rises will be opening in LA and New York City this weekend from the 8th through the 14th of November for an Oscar qualifying run. Though my review of the film, along with others, from the New York Film Festival, was incredibly positive, there's been some apprehension popping up regarding its US release.

According to the New York Times, the film may struggle more than is usual for a Studio Ghibli film for a number of factors that generally have nothing to do with the quality of the product. One of the reasons being that the film includes adults who smoke, and some are theorizing that the film will receive some general community disapproval because animated films are geared directly towards children in the United States. Although, the film is set during World War II, which makes the act historically accurate for the time setting, it is still a concern for impressionable young viewers.


Another reason the film is unsettling potential audiences is because of it's overarching theme of war, the second World War to be more specific, which is something we've discussed in the past in regards to the studio's repertoire. There has already been backlash regarding the film abroad, not only in South Korea where they've called it a "celebration of Japan's wartime aggression," but even in Studio Ghibli's home of Japan where the film is considered unpatriotic because of its pacifist themes during a time when the Prime Minister is pushing for the militarization of Japan.

These are all concerns with one thing in mind and that is the Oscar's. While it took Studio Ghibli 17 years from its conception to win their first Oscar in 2002 for Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki, the director of both Spirited Away and The Wind Rises, was not present to accept the award in order to protest a nation (U.S.) at war. So while these are all very real concerns regarding box office success and a potential award, it may not be the kind of attention this movie is seeking. The Wind Rises is about a man and his love for his girl, his love for his work and his dreams, and those are things that neither box office nor trophy can add to nor negate.

The only real concern for the studio, would be that the right people see the film and fall in love the same way Hayao Miyazaki did.

11 comments:

  1. If I remember well
    Spirited Away had some adult who were smoking too !

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  2. haaaaaaaaaaa

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  3. Adults... smoking... puff ¬¬ Animation is for adults too, what trifle! We would have to speak about other important characteristics.

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  4. This whole smoking nonsense has got to stop. I don't like people smoking near me. I'll never smoke myself. But for parents to pitch a fit because animated characters smoke is ridiculous. It is not the job of the movie industry to teach children good habits. That is the job of the parents. If they don't want their kids to smoke, then they need to be the ones to teach them that smoking is unhealthy. Or just not let them watch the movie at all. Geez.

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  5. Quigley Quagmire10 November 2013 11:17

    If the World War theme sparks controversy then what about the tens of films that won Oscars in the past decades that had to do with that or other wars?

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  6. Quigley Quagmire10 November 2013 11:20

    It's not right to portray the past in a way that hides some aspects of it, just because today these apsects are socially unacceptable. Also, animated films ARE NOT kid films (well, DreamWorks films are silly kid films, but anyway). If parents don't want their kids to see people smoking in an animated film, that's their problem. But there's no reason to make such a fuss about a film that shows adults smoking.

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  7. I think the difference here is that most of those films depict the winners, therefore the people on the right side of the matter. And this film depicts the people that were "wrong" in the war, and by portraying them with any humanity would actually try to sway audiences into thinking "hey, maybe they had a point" or "maybe they had some good ideas" which is just a bunch of bologna because we all know what right and wrong is. It's just that some situations are a lot more complex than just "right" or "wrong".

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  8. You are so on point with all of your comments! Studio Ghibli films are not meant to be for either children or adults: they are for those willing to watch and listen! Their best films touch our hearts, our minds and our souls regardless of the topic, and that means their films are transcendent of age. And the thing is, this goes for a lot of animation studios.

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  9. Yes, I think I distinctly remember the frog men smoking? Either way, it's just silly to argue.

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  10. Quigley Quagmire16 November 2013 20:24

    As you said, situations are more complex than right and wrong. The people who won weren't necessarily on the right side (I'm not talking about World War II, I'm just talking generally). I personally think you can almost never say that, in a war, someone was completely right and someone was completely wrong. But listening to what both sides have to say (instead of just the winning side) helps you get closer to the truth.

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  11. Quigley Quagmire16 November 2013 20:34

    I agree with most of what you said, but don't underestimate the impact of movies on kids. They use movie protagonists as models, so if they have bad habits, kids may adopt them. Also, we've completely demoralised everything. I think that movie industry SHOULD have an educative role for kids. Movies aimed at kids should teach them virtues, such as respect, love (not necessarily romantic love), compassion, etc. Instead, as a sacrifice to the God called MONEY, the movie industry has become completely indifferent about its educative role.

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