The Wind Rises (2014) is the saddest movie I ever seen, it is not tearing out your eyes type sadness but it is a loaded silence looking at how dreams can be a monster when it tampered with reality. I was choking inside last night and I felt this is the most personal Miyazaki work ever. His sadness can be felt from flat line pacing which might pissed some viewers off as being too uninteresting. To me, it is thematic background acknowledgement of dead dream represented by the flatline...constantly goes on and on. His treatment of events are rather blase, Miyazaki is just not interested in dramatizing things at all. Which is remarkable.
The characters are insular and aloof, they never try to engage the viewer because the director wants to talk about the end of a dream more by using these characters as a proxy to that end. It is not about character development at all. Even Jiro, the male lead is voice acted by Evangelion director is placid in his expression. The only human connection is brief moments of lapse and the constant puffs of smoke. The main female lead feels tacked on despite efforts to make her relevant to the story.
Artwise is very dreamy, fitting because it talks about dream.
To fully grasp the meat of the movie, a viewer must have some background knowledge of Japanese history and aviation too since this is the only spot of passion that Miyazaki keep in the movie. World War 1, the Great Kanto Earthquake, the economic crash, the war on China and World War 2 are the pivotal points for storytelling.
This movie can be polarizing since it is so personal, it is solid 8 out of 10 from me but other people might hate this movie because it appears to be so uninteresting. In a way, it is Miyazaki's personal essay on why militarism is bad for Japan and his criticism (some say preaching) to Shinzo Abe that this is not right at all.
I suspect I might see something else if I going to watch this movie again in future.