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Porco Rosso is not just one of those movies that you watch and give back to Netflix. It is one of those movies that genuinely makes you hate your life, but in a good way. Watching a movie like Porco Rosso makes you wish that you lived in their world, and that you could fly your own plane between the Adriatic Islands and your own private hideaway. It is the kind of film that takes you inside it and leaves you with a sort of culture shock when you are forced to realize that you are in your modern-day room with no way to get around but a car or a bike. It is the sort of movie that you watch again not only because you love it so much, but also so that you can have a portal back into that magical world and dream that you can become like one of the characters in the movie with some sort of "reality". Who cares if there are flaws? Is the world absolutely perfect? So what if there is ambiguity about the ending? Is life always crystal clear? Porco Rosso is one of those movies that has the perfect mix of reality and fantasy; it gives you a world that you wish you were a part of, and COULD be, if only you can find it....
Over the decades, Japan has established itself in the animation scene
as a contender, creating some of the most mind boggling realistic,
detailed animation the world has ever seen. However, Japan had
primarily made cartoons involving their traditional, cultural and
supernatural themes that the world felt alienated to.
It wasn't until a great artist came along in the mid-1970s that was to make Disney look like a second class citizen in the animation business. Hayao Miyazaki was Japan's inspiration to open their eyes to new horizons and show the world their hand in art. His first motion picture released in the late 70s was Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, which proved to be a world success. From that point on, he created some of the most memorable, brilliant and detailed masterpieces the western world ever saw - most having something to do with world issues and human's spiritual touch with nature. It wasn't until I saw Porco Rosso that I found my oasis in animation, a film that has no reason to be a cartoon due to its sheer realism and setting.
The premise is simple, subtle and imaginatively compelling. The story follows a humanoid pig known as Porco Rosso ('Crimson Pig' in English Translation), a bush pilot during the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s when Mussolini was a strong ally with Hitler. Whilst war is on the brink of initiation, Bush Pilot 'Pirates' roam the Italian coast, robbing ships, tourists and living the life few people could experience. Among these gambling, thieving, dirty pirates however, Porco Rosso stands as the ace pilot and feared by all. As he threatens the welfare of all the pirates, particularly the Mamma Aiuto Gang, the price on his head sky rockets. The only thing that lies between him and the pirates is a beautiful woman named Madame Gina, the singer and proprietor of an island resort popular with all the pilots that come through. Gina loves Porco since childhood, when he was a real human, and cannot bare to lose yet another close one, like her previous husbands. Both Porco's and Gina's world is turned upside down when an American ace pilot named Curtis intrudes into their lives, insisting on making a name for himself as he plans to fight Porco in an air battle all the while falling in love with Gina.......the American way.
Porco's subsequent adventures lead him to discover something about himself, about those important to him and about letting go of his constant turmoil and guilt of events that have haunted him for years, as he meets new characters that open his eyes and return him to what he once was.........just a human.
Rarily has an adventure movie been so fun, rich and captivating as Porco Rosso in addition to its overwhelmingly brilliant animation. Like I said before, there is no reason for this film to be a cartoon, but because it is and because it was realized in the way that it was, this is what makes it a masterpiece among World Animation.
The story, being very simple, could be taken on many levels with its inner meaning and symbolism. You forget that you are watching a cartoon after 5 minutes. It takes itself mildly seriously and the comic relief is timed to perfection. The characters vividly come to life and drain you of your emotions with each of their stories. The world Hayao Miyazaki creates is so real, that you are inevitably drawn into it. The magnificent romantic and exotic music and attention to authenticity make the film's atmosphere so convincing and breathtaking - the music always suiting at the right moments. I hardly believed this was a Japanese film, considering it felt completely like a European production. But no, only Hayao Miyazaki could accomplish such feats as to utilize your imagination and transport you to another world without any reference to his origins. That is his gift. This was evident ever since his motion picture debut. He has made many brilliant films, but Porco Rosso is the black sheep in the crowd. It is like something he's never done before, as all his films were supernatural in many ways.
This is my favorite cartoon of all time, and one of the great motion pictures you're bound to ever come across in world cinema. Forget about Disney. If you love animation and film, go no further than Hayao Miyazaki, one of the last great directors and story tellers in a world which has forgotten quality. Disney died a long time ago, and Miyazaki is a director in the old tradition - a tradition where plot and characters meant much more than special effects. Porco Rosso is an escape you'll come back to often. Few films have captured the essence of Europe, Flying and Adventure quite like it. It lifts your spirits and inspires you to see the world in a different way. The beautiful mix of music, color, animation, detail and setting make this a most unforgettable experience. 'Porco Rosso' is the definitive work from the legend of modern animation, Hayao Miyazaki.
Although few people actually know about this film, it must be stated
that this one of the best animated films of all time. It is also quite
unique, and has comedy and themes more enjoyable for an adult audience,
though youngsters should also get a kick out of it.
Porco Rosso follows the adventures of a man known as porco, a pilot who attacks pirates for a fee during World War II, and has the unfortunate problem of being cursed to look like a pig. It follows his adventures, battling many different foes for a number of different reasons.
Porco Rosso has a lot of things to recommend it. The artwork is stunning, with amazing attention to detail and a great anime style. The story is an absolute joy to follow, and has that perfect blend of comedy, drama and action. Although it is hard to describe the story properly without giving to much away, this truly is one to watch at all ages, though most of the humor is aimed at adults. Do yourself a favor and see it: you won't be disappointed.
If somebody were to start up an all-Ghibli network on television, I'd leave
the set on that channel unless I heard a nuclear attack siren. Kurenai no
Buta is one of those films that could fill up much of the schedule, as I
could watch it over and over again.
Set in Fascist Italy in the late twenties, the story is about a cursed WWI Italian fighter pilot, Porco Rosso, doomed to live out his life in the form of a pig. He spends his leisure hours basking on his secluded private beach with his bright red monoplane. He makes his living by tangling with air pirates, collecting rewards for recovery of valuables.
Porco Rosso has a lot to deal with in this story. He has the pirates to contend with, a swashbuckling American mercenary looking for a good dogfight, an increasingly intrusive Fascist presence eyeing his activities, a finicky airplane, and two women in love with him. Other than the vaguely appearing Fascists, there are no real villains in the film.
Mamma Aiuto is a heavy-set bearded chap, somewhat reminiscent of Bluto in the Popeye cartoons. He and his gang of bungling pirates have honor, if not exactly fastidious bathing habits.
Donald Curtis, an American mercenary, seems driven to glory and fame-and falls in love with every pretty face he sees. He's after notoriety and feels an air duel with Porco Rosso is the ticket to get there.
Gina, Porco's childhood sweetheart, runs a popular island resort. She's still in love with him, but he doesn't quite get it. All the pilots of the Adriatic love Gina, who was married and widowed thrice. Donald Curtis is right in there with everyone else vying for her attention.
Fio Piccolo, a 17-year old American aeronautical engineer, is commissioned by a reluctant Porco to fix his plane. She also falls in love with him as she gradually sees his character. He gets it, but he's not really interested in that kind of arrangement--especially with one so young.
A working, radio-controlled scale model of his plane hangs in the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan, along with photos of it in flight as proof that the airplane depicted in the film actually could fly.
This story weaves together beautifully and leads to an ending that is a topic of discussion among those who have seen it. This is a must-see film. I give it an easy 10.
Miyazaki is an inspiration for artists everywhere. His total mastery of all
aspects of storytelling craft makes the amazing seem easy.
Kurenai no Buta manages to be over-the-top fun and exceedingly subtle at the same moment. The dialogue is at once straightforward yet with layer upon layer of dramatic meaning. The animated wizardry is stunning as usual, yet never over the top. It always comes across as so natural.
This film is a homage to so many different genres, places, people and attitudes one could go on ages pulling them all out. Amazing amount of detail packed into every scene.
Well I am running out of superlatives. Like all master works of art, this leaves you with something special. In this case I find it hard to describe perhaps since the Pig himself is such a mysterious character.
An aviator cursed to live out his days as a pig flies the skies of Italy circa the 1920s, battling pirates, an American grandstander (is there any other kind?) and fascists. He also has to deal with the love of two women, one his childhood sweetheart who has outlived three husbands, the other an auburn-haired and very appealing teenager who becomes his engineer -- and who bears a striking resemblance to both Kiki and Nausicaa. The gag is that Porco (Mario to his friends) doesn't deal very well with the gals in his life. The luminescent artwork on display in this striking cartoon is akin to that of CASTLE IN THE SKY and the characters are some of the best Miyazaki has ever come up with. The final dogfight is a major treat for the eyes, and right out of a John Wayne leathernecks-type movie. If kiddie films like TOTORO and KIKI and THE CAT RETURNS are not your cup of tea, this ought to be. It is a cartoon, but it plays like an adult-oriented drama with comic overtones about love unrequited and a man doing what a man has got to do. In this case, fly. And avoid romantic entanglements as much as possible. See it.
"Porco Rosso" is probably the first animated Humphrey Bogart film. Why?
The title character, a WWI flying ace who has been transformed into a
pig, reminded me of Bogart with his gruff manner and that world-weary
cynicism that instantly endears us to Bogart. "Porco Rosso" is also a
highly entertaining adventure film, and Miyazaki has once again created
a slew of characters you can either cheer for or hiss vehemently at
The US dub is done particularly well (Disney tends not to muck Miyazaki's movies up most of the time), with Michael Keaton hitting that Bogart vibe as the title character. Keaton was obviously the first choice on the dubber's mind for this character, and he performs excellently. Susan Egan is the voice of Madame Gina, Porco's friend who loves him but he doesn't quite get it. Cary Elwes, who is of course British, does a convincing Southern accent as the movie's main villain, Curtis, a hotshot American pilot who challenges Porco. David Ogden Stiers shows off his vocal chameleon skills as Piccolo, Porco's mechanic friend; Stiers's voice sounds genuinely Italian, and I must again wonder: How does he do it? Anyway, moving on. Kimberly Williams, whom you may or may not remember from the Steve Martin version of "Father of the Bride", is spunky as Fio, the other main female character who becomes Porco's partner (albeit reluctantly on his part).
All in all, "Porco Rosso" is a highly entertaining movie, and it should be seen by everyone.
First of all, I've never seen the title "Kurenai no buta" except on
IMDb. The English title on my copy and all other references I've found
on the web are "Porco Rosso". Outside Japan, that's the title to look
for at the video store.
Let's see what we've got: an Italian Pig speaking Japanese, "Knock your socks off" aerial vistas, not one but two beautiful heroines, an Adriatic hotel that's actually a small island, better dialog than many "live" movies, sky pirates, even good music. How many films can claim all that?
Perhaps the most attractive character of the film, after you've gotten past the many obvious ones, is Myazaki's amazing imagination which pervades all aspects of the production.
To me, the storyline is reminiscent of Hollywood's Golden Age. The characters are wonderful, even to an adult audience and, of course, high quality animation is the frosting on the cake.
After seeing Porco Rosso, I bought the DVD, and I hardly ever do that!
This was truly an emotional and unexpected experience. Having known Miyazaki has been influenced by Exupery(author of the little prince)I watched this film with a lump in my throat. A story of a PIG no less destined to live out his days in the sky, where his heart IS purified by the heavens above and the sea below. A beautiful film a love poem to Exupery and all the brave fliers who've come and gone.
Kurenai no Buta is, as anything else created by Hazao Miyazaki, a sublime work of art. However this film is very different from the rest of Miyazaki's work, as it aims at a grown-up and mature audience. The story is a metaphorical tale about the true nature of man and humanity. Set within the historical background of the rise of fascism in Italy, it is one of the most cleverly written animated film I've ever seen. As usual Miyazaki's boundless imagination brings on screen some colourful characters you're not likely to forget, among which a bunch of maverick but good hearted air pirates (very much like in Castle in th Sky). It also introduces more complicated characters, with real depth, like Porco or Madame Gina. The film also contains some amazingly beautiful and graphic sequences, with detailed landscapes seen from the sky and plane chase over the sea. This film gives a true meaning to Animated Film. It is without question a Must see.
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