Miyazaki's Autobiography---Even a Pig Can Fly
M. Tsang | NYC | 06/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From a fan and student of Miyazaki-san: "Porco Rosso" is the master's most autobiographical work, for once he was not trying to impart any moral or environmental lessons to children or young girls or the Japanese society, as most of his other works did---but a heartfelt fantasy projection of himself (being an independent agent neither belonging to your typical Japanese Anime Industry or the Hollywood/Disney American Culture juggernaut, as symbolized by the brash American Pilot-Fighter, Curtis). It's also a celebration of his fellow frustrated romantic and idealistic adults (many tired Japanese salary men and animators) who have not completely surrendered their youthful dreams to the MAN/military industry. Set in Post WWI Europe, where Fascism was on the rise, the Continental world it captured was a last breath of fantastic and natural freedom before a long darkness set in... The genius stroke here is by turning the protagonist into a PIG, a whimsical yet literal mockery on those old-fashioned/outdated all-male/brotherhood chauvinist melodramatic adventure genre it so lovingly appropriates, and a gentle dig on "mankind" in general, all in good and slightly surreal fun.
In this story, Miyazaki made fun (instead of preaching to) of his society, himself and his prominent role in it. Yet, behind all the cartoony surface lies the touching elegiac sadness of a lost past and a yearning hope (placed esp. on a young female) for a better future, straight from Miyazaki-san's cynical/sentimental heart. Presented as a light-hearted lark only makes its immersing nostalgia and lyricism all the more spontaneously enchanting
and unexpectedly affecting. A magical paradox of his great art. "Porco Rosso" is the "Casablanca" of cartoons with a touch of Roald Dahl, and the most under-rated and overlooked of Miyazaki's fabulous work."
MildCritter | Rome, GA United States | 08/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a fanatic for the works of Miyazaki, and this is my favorite among his works. There is no heavy-handed message other than his dislike of Fascism; there are no cute or bizarre animals other than the hero, and cute is just not the word for him; there are adventure, derring-do, light-hearted fight scenes, strong female figures, comic villains, romance, great achievements, a touch of magic, and the typically fanatical Miyazaki attention to detail. This is an atypical light adventure film and is suitable for children from 9 to 99. It's charming, fun, and simply wonderful. Please, buy it.
I can only hope that Amazon will package this in a 3-pack with Nausicaa in the Valley of Wind and My Neighbor Totoro, all due (actually LONG overdue) for simultaneous release. (The official date of release is now Feb. 22, and it will be released with Nausicaa and The Cat Returns; Totoro is not currently scheduled. This is mistifying, as The Cat Returns is actually a sequel to another Ghibli [but not Miyazaki] film that has never been released in the U.S.)"
A Quite Different, But Still Magnificent, Studio Ghibli Anim
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"During the first few minutes of "Porco Rosso", I was thinking, 'okay, this is.....different. It's good but I don't think it's exactly gonna be "Spirited Away" or "Naussicaa"'. I should have known better. It IS different, it's not "Spirited Away" or any other Ghibli movie before or since, but it is, in its own bizarre way, just as good. Studio Ghibli seems to be incapable of delivering anything short of true excellence.
The title character is a grumpy bipedal pig who flies a World War I-era airplane in the Mediterranean in the years between the two world wars. Once human, Porco has adopted an air of disinterested apathy to cover his feelings, but he finds himself drawn to a group of people in Italy after his plane is shot down by a rival pilot, rendering Porco unable to make a living protecting transport and passenger ships from pirates - some of the most gloriously incompetent pirates imaginable, by the way. "Porco Rosso' is suitable viewing for the kiddies but may be, in general, enjoyed more by an older audience - in addition to the soaring air battles and action-packed climax, there's plenty of romance, dry humor, and subtle political commentary. Regardless, it has the Ghibli charm, and is likely to have something for almost everyone. A truly one-of-a-kind movie (ask youself this: when was the last time you saw a movie about a trenchcoat, goggles and fedora-wearing pig piloting a brightly painted red airplane and fighting sky pirates?) and another jewel in the glorious Ghibli crown."
Subtle Surealism Transcendant
T. Burkholder | Portland, OR USA | 06/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a Miyazaki fan since the late 80s, but I just enjoyed Porco Rosso for the first time. As I've only seen it once, I won't say much, but I have to add another 5 stars for this fantasmagoric film. Over the years, many reviews have touted this film as one of his best, if not his best. It could be. And that's saying a lot. The animation is absolutely magical: mesmerizing and exciting. The magical realisn is right on: think Gabriel Garcia Marquez at his best. The plot and characters are compelling. This film delivers everything the often misused animation medium promises: the creation of a reality at once real and fantastic. By the way, I prefer the Japanese voices to the dub, and not for anime purist reasons. It's just that Keaton's voice is too soft and tenor for the character. The Japanese actor's voice is dead on. This is a great movie."