Celebrated Japanese animation filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away) has gone into semi-retirement a few times before, only to back out thereafter and add yet another celebrated title to his filmography. However, it would seem that his next film, The Wind Rises, may indeed be the last Studio Ghibli production that he directs; though, the Oscar-winner is expected to supervise and/or produce other projects, in the future (assuming he sticks to his no-directing plan this time around).
Regardless, the newly-unveiled U.S. trailer for Wind Rises refers to the film as Miyazaki's 'farewell masterpiece', so we'll treat it as such for the time being. Much of the footage shown here was also included in the extended international preview released earlier this year; albeit, minus the scenes of Japanese dialogue (with English subtitles), in lieu of a dubbed cut for U.S. moviegoers. Nonetheless, the new trailer leaves an equally strong impression, thanks to the lovely 2D animation and stirring atmosphere on display.
The Wind Rises is Miyazaki's take on the life and times of early 20th century aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, blending aspects of the real-life Horikoshi's experiences with fictionalized elements (based on the novel written by author/poet Tatsuo Hori). As such, the film is thematically a fitting capstone to Miyazaki's career-work, as it explores the impact of WWI on Japanese society - in addition to the lead-up to the second World War - as well as more intimate subplots about Horikoshi's creative endeavors and love life (in keeping with the ideas and motifs featured through the filmmaker's past output).
Judging by early word of mouth (among movie critics, anyway), Wind Rises might not end up being remembered as the high point of Miyazaki's career; though, we'll let time be the ultimate judge of that. Nonetheless, the film has been heavily praised and thus far regarded as a proper conclusion to Miyazaki's career. Indeed, the newest trailer features a handful of enthusiastic reviews blurbs from some well-known film critics, including one that proclaims it to be perhaps the best animated feature released in recent memory (we'll see about that, of course).
Either way, if you're ever seen a Miyazaki film, then you shouldn't need much (if any) encouragement to check out what could be his last one, right?
The Wind Rises opens in U.S. theaters on February 21st, 2014.