Region: 2 - UK
Length: 93 minutes
Subtitles: English, English [For Hard Of Hearing]
English 2.0 Stereo
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
From the renowned director of 'My Neighbour Totoro' and 'Princess Mononoke' comes this period, fantasy anime about an Italian, ace WWI pilot who undergoes a transformation to become Porco Rosso, part man, part pig, after witnessing the deaths of other pilots in his last air battle. Under this spell, Porco Rosso survives by taking odd jobs, and finds himself in one comic situation after another as he romances women, rescues the innocent, and looks for a way out of the porcine spell.
Originally intended as a short feature for stressed out Japanese businessmen to watch as an in-flight movie, Miyazaki got carried away and made Porco Rosso into a feature film for everyone to enjoy.
Based on Miyazakiís manga short Hikoutei Jidai (which are 15 pages in water colour). Porco Rosso follows the adventures of a hero for hire. Set in the late 1920ís over the Adriatic Sea, it paints a picture of an era where seaplanes ruled the waves and sky.
Miyazaki likes to add a magical twist and he does so by making the main character a pig. Fed up with humanity Marco would rather be a pig than a man. This sounds rather heavy but is only a minor point, everyone around Porco is not concerned or shocked that they are talking to a pig!
Porco Rosso is a wonderful light-hearted movie with hopeless pirate gangs, who can barely scrape a living due to their incompetence.
The animation is a joy to watch, where Studio Ghibli as always make such a high quality animation look effortless. Itís the little details that make the difference, note when Porco is on the phone at the beginning he plays with the table with his legs, knocking the contents off. Touches like this arenít needed for the story, but show Miyazakiís eye for detail and make the film seem even more life like.
DVD wise Optimum have included some nice features, including storyboards (which make great use of the alternative angle feature), and interview with Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki and trailers. Along with the original Japanese audio track and literal translation subtitles the DVD features the Disney dub (featuring the voice talent of Michael Keaton). Purists will note that the dub is not a direct translation, with dialogue altered to make it flow and sound more natural when spoken in English, however since both versions are included on disc this should not be an issue for sub fans.
The movie features fantastic action sequences the sort that Ghibli produces so well, the mind boogles at how long it would have taken to plan some of the animation as rotating camera pans are frequently used and itís a technique that is hard to do in traditional animation.
To put it simply Porco is another great movie from Studio Ghibli and is a worthy edition to any DVD collection. Itís truly a joy to watch and itís easy to understand why itís in many anime fans all time top ten favourite titles.
The pirate gang in Porco Rosso, Mamma Aiuto have a shop named after them in the Studio Ghibli Museum, itís as if Studio Ghibli are admitting that after visiting the shop and seeing such wonderful things, theyíll rob you blind! ^_-