Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG
Japan Release date: 18th July 1992
Watched at the cinema Saturday 24th December 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I believe this was the first Studio Ghibli film I ever saw. I remember being blown away by the excellent story telling, the animation and the general feeling of the whole thing. From then on I was hooked and made it a bit of a mission to see as many of them as I could. Well, that’s not hard when Film4 (here in the UK) has been showing a season of them for the last couple of weeks. I’ll give you my thoughts on this particular offering after this brief summary.
Porco Rosso is a pilot; a bit of a hero from World War I who now makes a living as a bounty hunter. He tracks down the sea plane pirates who attack the ships on the Adriatic Coast (a part of the Mediterranean). It is the 1920’s and flying is what everyone wants to do. At a bar run by Gina, who secretly loves him, Porco meets an American fighter ace, Curtis, who has been hired by the pirates to take him out. But Porco has problems with his plane and has to take it to Milan to be repaired. Curtis follows him and shoots him down, leaving him stranded. When he’s picked up he makes it to Milan with what’s left of his plane and has it rebuilt by Fio Pikkoro, a seventeen year old girl who just happens to be a very talented engineer. When he returns, Fio comes with him to make sure he pays his bill. Little does she know they’re about to have another run-in with the pirates and this time they’re playing for keeps! I won’t say any more or the Spoiler Police (Animation Division) will have me re-drawn as some crazy animal (again).
Over the years I have become a bit of a fan of the work of Hayao Miyazaki, he certainly knows how to make a movie that can take you away to another world for a couple of hours. Again, this one is beautifully animated and I also loved the music by Joe Hisaishi, it really evokes the era and stirs the emotions. I watched this one in Japanese with subtitles and I think that helps you to concentrate on the story. For those who fear the subtitle I believe a dubbed version is available. It’s not really clear just who played who from the listings I’ve seen, but I will give honourable mentions to the voice talents of; Shûichirô Moriyama, Tokiko Katô, Tsunehiko Kamijô and Akemi Okamura.
I found this film beautifully made, funny at times, but also very touching when it needed to be. It certainly did what many of the Studio Ghibli films have done and that is entertain me! I must admit I feel lucky that I saw this one first; others that don’t quite hit the mark may have put me off. So it’s got a bit of everything, a flying pig, some comedy, a bit of a love story and pirates, who could ask for more!? As you have probably guessed by now, for me… Definitely recommended.
My score: 8.4/10.
IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 16,525 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 100/100 (based on 13 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 60/100 (based on 40,738 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Porco Rosso: I'd rather be a pig than a fascist.
Arms Dealer: If you make money from war, you're scum. If you can't make money from bounty hunting, you're an idiot!
Curtis: [taunting Porco] If you run away, I'll tell everyone you're chicken!
Porco Rosso: Chicken, pig, what's the difference?