Porco Rosso Movie Review

Even Hayao Miyazaki's biggest fans are unlikely to have seen Porco Rosso, one of his most delightful -- and socially important -- works.

Title character Porco Rosso is, well, a man with the head of a pig, the result of a curse placed on him in some unknown earlier era. In 1930s Italy, he works as a bounty hunter, living on a quiet island beach in a little tent. When the phone rings, he jumps in his red prop plane and heads off to save whoever's calling from pirates, keeping his cool (as voiced by Michael Keaton in the U.S. dub) all the while.

Rosso's adventures jump from bounty hunting to saving his hide (and rebuilding his plane after a particularly terrible attack) to ultimately facing off against the budding Italian air force -- which Porco wants nothing to do with.

It's easy to read the symbolism of Porco's (literal) pigheadedness as (figurative) stubbornness regarding the world's late entry into WWII as the Nazis steamrolled their way across Europe, but Miyazaki isn't keen on making a political statement, really. He's happy to tell a marvelous adventure tale with a monumentally memorable anti-hero. Half-man, half-pig? It's shocking, but we can really get behind Porco. He does things his way, and he makes no apologies for having a snout. In fact, he's kind of smug about it.

You gotta love it.

Now on DVD, the film includes a second disc of extras, including the complete storyboard, interviews with the American version voice actors, and the Japanese trailers.

Aka Kurenai no buta, Crimson Pig.


Porco Rosso Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG, 1992


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