11 Nov 2014
This animated film is a tribute to Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the Zero fighter plane used in the second world war. (I’m assuming that tribute means you don’t have to worry too much about historical accuracy). It ends before Pearl Habour, but there are some flash-forwards and we the audience all know how it ends, but this film isn’t about the glories or the horrors of war.
It’s about aeroplanes, and learning things, and being in love with your work, and the joys of making something beautiful. There is a romantic love story (the love interest has consumption and dies beautifully and it’s all very heart-breaking), but it’s really not the heart and soul of the film. The heart and soul is work. There aren’t enough films about work and what people do all day.
Also we have the immortal line “Gentlemen, behold the miracle that is extruded aluminium”.
However, there is one change I’d like to make: in the film Horikoshi is in love with aeroplanes from childhood onwards; in real life Horikoshi studied aeronautical engineering because it seemed like a good idea at the time (I paraphrase slightly from wikipedia), and I’d really have liked to have seen this happen in the film.
Very few adolescents have any idea what they want to do in life, and having a career advisor or a motivational speaker tell you to “do what you love” is really not helpful at all. I’m much more about the “do something, get good at it, love it”.