Who doesn’t love Ghibli films and Hayao Miyazaki’s magical touch? Studio Ghibli’s animations are delightful fairy tales that enchant young and old. In every animation that Miyazaki and Ghibli make, innocence, sweetness and love prevail (Miyazaki also explores other topics such as environmental awareness). The protagonists in Miyazaki’s films always feel like they are really alive thanks to the great detail, movement, and great stories that are depicted. I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli’s productions and – of course – I had to review Porco Rosso, one of their early films. Why this film now? Well, this is part of the ‘pig review series’. At the end of the series, I will analyse the use of pigs in animations and live-action films – stick around.
OK, now back to the actual film. Porco Rosso is a fun adventure set in the post-World War I Italy, where an ex-fighter pilot – now an air bounty hunter – has to battle air pirates who try to destroy him. Porco Rosso (Shūichirō Moriyama) is not your typical ‘human’, as he has been cursed and transformed into an anthropomorphic pig. While trying to prepare for a new battle with the pirates, Porco encounters an adventurer girl called Fio (Akemi Okamura) who wants to join him, and also make sure that he will pay his debts to her father – Porco’s mechanic. The cool and cold Porco has to win a last battle with the pirates in order to save Fio and his old friend Madame Gina (Tokiko Kato) of an awful destiny. Although the situation is tense, Porco remains confident and composed.
The character of Porco varies from other Miyazaki’s leading roles, as Porco seems to know what he is doing and stays calm. In this case, the supporting lead is not a strong/wise one who helps the main character to achieve his/her goal, but an inexperienced young girl. This switch of roles in Porco Rosso adds to the comical aspect of the film. The story feels slow but gets more entertaining after the pirates decide to challenge Porco. Hereafter, the film is an excellent adventure that will get you glued to the screen. Moreover, Porco’s charm and ‘anti-hero’ character make him an interesting protagonist to watch, as one wants to know more about him and his story – he is the only flying pig in town.
Miyazaki’s love for aviation is no secret to his viewers as he has often portrayed it in films or scenes (check out this great video that depicts his passion for aviation). In another renowned film – The Wind Rises (2013) – Miyazaki writes a love letter to his dreams of the sky. In Porco Rosso, he crafts the wings. An amazing detailed wing, as all the little pieces fit like a puzzle in his work. The breath-taking views that are depicted remind us of real places that could exist and some that actually exist, as he relied on memories of travels he made through Europe and Japan.
Porco Rosso is a great film that will enchant you once again as all Miyazaki’s works have done. Porco, the nonchalant anthropomorphic pig, will captivate you with his relaxed but heroic attitude. His adventure is one that has not to be missed.
Rating: 4 out of 5 pigs.
Original Title: 紅の豚 Kurenai no Buta (Porco Rosso)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Runtime: 1h 42m
Initial release: 18 July 1992 (Japan)
Trailer | Image: Porco Rosso Trailer Screenshot – Porco flying in his well-trusted aeroplane.