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Take flight with PORCO ROSSO, a valiant World War I flying ace! From tropical Adriatic settings to dazzling aerial maneuvers, this action-adventure from world-renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki is full of humor, courage, and chivalry. When "Porco" -- whose face has been transformed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell -- infuriates a band of sky pirates with his aerial heroics, the pirates hire Curtis, a rival pilot, to "get rid" of him. On the ground, the two pilots compete for the affections of the beautiful Gina. But it is in the air where the true battles are waged. Will our hero be victorious? Featuring extraordinary voice talents, this 2-disc set is a thrilling ride you'll never forget!~~(c) 1992 Nibariki - GNN
Porco Rosso (The Crimson Pig, 1992) ranks as Hayao Miyazaki's oddest film: a bittersweet period adventure about a dashing pilot who has somehow been turned into a pig. Miyazaki once said, "Initially, it was supposed to be a 45-minute film for tired businessmen to watch on long airplane flights... Why kids love it is a mystery to me." The early 1930s setting enabled Miyazaki to focus on the old airplanes he loves, and the film boasts complex and extremely effective aerial stunts and dogfights. In the new English dub from Disney, Michael Keaton as Porco delivers lines like "All middle-aged men are pigs" with appropriate cynicism, but his voice may be too familiar for some Miyazaki fans. Susan Egan makes a curiously distant Gina, the thrice-widowed hotel owner bound to Porco by years of friendship; Kimberly Williams is more effective as the irrepressible young engineer Fio. Porco Rosso may be an odd film, but Miyazaki's directorial imagination never flags. (Rated PG: violence, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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No one captures the spirit and majesty of powered human flight quite like Hayao Miyazaki, and this movie really captures that essence with all of the charm and beauty that we've come to expect from the great master.
Its hard to really review a movie without spoilers, so I'll pretty much leave it at that as far as story goes.
Cary Elwes does a great job as Porco's rival. I don't know how I feel about Michael Keaton's performance. I would compare it to Billy Bob Thornton's performance in Princess Mononoke. They were both just sort of monotone. A little too...I dunno, awkward sounding? It wasn't especially naturalistic is what I'm saying.
However, that didn't really take away from the movie as a whole. Just one small negative in an overwhelming sea of positive.
In short: If you love Miyazaki, if you love airplanes, if you love fun, you will love this movie.
While I wouldn't call this a comedy, the humor throughout it keeps the movie with a good balance of light-hearted and serious. If you are looking for something that is a good mix of humor, drama, and action then this is an excellent choice.
I can't go through a review of this movie without mentioning the music. Because of how well Joe Hisaishi matches the feel of the movie with the music he adds, this movie is able to be at its peak.
With all its varied and interesting components put together this movie turns out to be something well worth getting and well worth the watch.
Miyazaki has always had the Jane Austin/ Fred Astair / Eddie Van Halen appeal- talent and work ethic so strong they make anything look possible, something you too could do. The animation is beautiful to look at, but its implicit in the story, and the story is simply what happens in the lives of remarkable and undaunted characters. Porco Rosso is a Hero, with a capital "H", but he'd be nothing without the Italian workshop which rebuilds his airplane, with its canny proprietor, and the young woman engineer who is just starting her career, and a workforce of older master craftswomen. A new and more powerful engine helps too. Friends from his past warn him when the Facists are in pursuit, and then there's the mob of air pirates, including the evil twin of Howard Hughes, intent to show that might equals right. Did I mention the sad, slightly distant widow he loves, whom he feels unworthy of?
There are two of the great tough-guy lines of all time in the dialog (you'll know them when you hear them) and yet they are just what you'd expect him to say. He is a tough guy, and we'd be better off if there were more like him.
As you'd further expect, there's a lot of flying and some shooting, but this is a fable and nobody is ever actually hurt, other than Porco Rosso and the ur-Hughes who have a knock-down-drag-out fight in shallow water. Elaborate black eyes and exhaustion mark both, but they'll live. There's plenty of serious danger and there is death, and loss, in the story, but no-one is killed on screen. Less benign than "Toy Story", far more innocent than "Star Wars". But parents may have to explain Italian history from WWI to the late 1930s. You'll want to. Its that good.
I usually listen to the original Japanese dialog with English subtitles when I watch Miyazaki but my (also pilot) boyfriend wasn't up for that the first time we watched it, so we did the English dubbing instead and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. All the major characters' voicings were easy to listen to and Michael Keaton and David Ogden Stiers in particular did a workmanlike job and didn't let their star status interfere with their interpretation of the characters. The musical score was haunting and perfect.
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