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Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta) (1992)

  Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Akio Ôtsuka, Tsunehiko Kamijô, Tokiko Kato, Shûichirô Moriyama, Akemi Okamura
Links: Porco Rosso on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta) (1992) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) and pearly's review of The Castle of Cagliostro (1979).

"Miyazaki plays the grown-up" - a review by pearly

Porco Rosso is a Japanese anime with an Italian name. The film does have a Japanese title, Kurenai no buta, but it is referred to by its Italian title more often than its other title, the English one, which is Crimson Pig. Anyway, this is neither here nor there.

The lead character in this film is an overweight pig with a moustache and glasses named, surprise surprise, Porco Rosso (voiced by Shûichirô Moriyama). Porco Rosso isn't a crimson pig, he's just regular pig colour, but he flies a red plane. For, you see, the film is set in the Adriatic sea in the 1930s, where small planes rule the skies. Porco Rosso was once a man, but at some point, he was cursed with a pig body. This does not stop him from being popular though, and even though he tries to live a bit of a loner life, he has one or two ladies after him.

Porco Rosso isn't fond of the idea of air combat, and prefers to relax on a secluded island with only his plane for company, and the occasional jaunt to save the locals from the Mamma Aiuto, who are flying pirates. However, a cocky American pilot enters the picture, and the two clash immediately, leading Porco Rosso to take a trip to fix his ailing plane, and to return to reclaim his honour.

Porco Rosso is quite a bit different from the other Miyazaki films I have seen. There's still a young girl in a lead role (in this case it's Fio (Akemi Okamura), an enthusiastic mechanic who works to fix and improve Porco Rosso's plane), but the focus is less on the mystical world of the child, and more on the adult relationships and struggles. Perhaps this is because it is a more personal film than the others Miyazaki has made, indeed, it has been suggested that Porco Rosso himself is an alter-ego for Miyazaki, and it's true that the two do bear a striking resemblance.

I love the mystic world of Miyazaki's other films, and the bits involving laughing children. There is a bit of this in Porco Rosso, but for the most part, it's a little more grown-up. That's not to say that the other Miyazaki films don't have adult themes (not the kind of adult themes that constitute an R rating, but the kind that require an adult's brain to process), it's just that there's more of this in Porco Rosso. As such, this film didn't make my inner child grin like an idiot for the duration, but I still quite enjoyed watching it. It's in a bit of a different league, which could prove to be better or worse, depending on the viewer. For me, a little worse.

Having said that, when I just tried to think of who my favourite character in the film was, I first thought of Fio, and then thought "you can't go past Porco Rosso himself", and then I realised that the Mamma Aiutos were kinda funny, and I loved the little schoolgirls right near the start who were kidnapped by the Mamma Aiutos. So, I can't have disliked the film all that much with this many lovable characters, can I?

Piece of trivia: the store inside the Ghibli Museum is called Mamma Aiuto, and the brown paper bags which the goods are placed in feature the grinning Mamma Aiuto boss.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 9 Jul 2004

Movie review statistics

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Reader comments

  1. Pearly was right. This just doesn't hold the magic of his other films. Still good, but something I really recommend for a rental rather then buying.

    Rating given: 7

    A comment from Anderson on Sun 01 May 2005 07:27 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 7.00 (1 rating)

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