Rick Dempsey

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Porco Rosso Review


Excellent
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.

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Howl's Moving Castle Review


Very Good
Similar to Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is a sumptuously illustrated fairy tale with a pro-environment and anti-war slant, though unlike those modern classics, the animé titan's latest suffers from a narrative confusion that bogs down its initially effervescent spirit. A gloriously animated fantasia blessed by familiar Miyazaki hallmarks - vibrant, ethereal artwork, whimsical creatures, a rural world in which mysticism and technology happily coexist - the film (being released in both subtitled and dubbed versions, the latter of which I saw) has a light aura of juvenile romanticism and a manic, tangible physicality that stands head and shoulders above anything previously crafted by the maestros at Japan's legendary Studio Ghibli (including Katsuhiro Otomo's recent Steamboy).

The story of a young girl who, after being changed into an elderly woman by an evil witch, joins forces with a petulant playboy wizard against a nefarious sorcerer, Howl's is akin to a cluttered, cacophonous childhood dream come to life. However, as with dreams, Miyazaki's film is also far-too-often a bewildering jumble of intriguing ideas and ingenious images that never fully coalesce into a moving or compelling whole.

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Rick Dempsey Movies

Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

Similar to Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is a sumptuously...

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