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Porco Rosso – Review December 4, 2009

Posted by Cello in Anime Reviews.

Porco Rosso isn’t about flying pigs, no, behind all the cartoony surface lies the touching sadness of a lost past and a yearning hope for a better future, straight from Miyazaki’s heart. The title character is a grumpy pig who flies a World War I era plane between the two world wars. Once human, Porco has adopted an air of disinterested apathy to cover his feelings, but he finds himself drawn to a group of people in Italy after his plane is shot down by a rival pilot. Porco has something in his past that makes it difficult for him to feel fully human and integrated with others. This film explores those plotlines and open up a world filled with wonder and delight.

I think personally that a film which gives the viewer a little nudge in the direction of the fate of the characters but leaves the imagination to flesh it out is a good film. The ending is abrupt and the character of Porco is deliberately distant. He considers himself to be essentially worthless to the world, and nothing more than a coward for thinking of himself at a time when his friends were in need. The movie was so enjoyable because it honored good character. The “right” things happened. The honorable characters succeeded. The good guy wins. Yet there is not a hint of formula in the movie.

The tension arc throught the film is wonderfully well thought out. It starts on a high note, slightly silly, then settles into a stylish, melancholy and surreal vibe that lasts for a good half of the film. This is a film that is deeply humanistic yet never overly sappy and emotional. Hayao Miyazaki’s Porco Rosso is a fantastic animated journey that also makes a strong political statement. The film entertains young and old, but also leaves a lot for the audience to ponder while the magnificent animation transcends into the mind through vibrant colors and detailed lines.

As for flaws, there aren’t very many. Sure you don’t really know why Porco is a pig in the first place and the American pilot acts very stupid, but these are minor problems that don’t really bring this movie down a whole lot. Porco Rosso is a treat for aviation buffs dreaming of the barnstorming days. But occasional shifts in the plot feel more obtrusive than interesting, and consequently, I didn’t find this movie as memorable as Miyazaki’s other work. All in all, this movie was very enjoyable and revisitng this film just made me appreciate anime films all over again.



1. FaS - December 5, 2009

I don’t know if I’m a bit biased, but I really don’t like giving films with older looks a chance. It’s just hard for me to sit down and watch it. But wowwwwww, your site got an update…? Visually? Because I could have sworrrrnnnn it was black. Anyways, lovely review. I did watch a little bit of this movie, and it wasn’t as kiddy as I thought it would be. Unfortunately, US trailers try to monopolize on these things to get the biggest audience possible – kids.

But again, nice review, nice site, and you know, I keep forgetting to ask, but would you mind if I added you to my blogroll or do a link/banner exchange or something? Because I absolutely adore your site.

2. glothelegend - December 6, 2009

I’ve been meaning to see this since…….forever? I probably would say that I want to see Summer Wars more, but I do want to see this movie really badly (it’s one of the few Miyazaki movies that I haven’t seen yet….actually, it might be the only one).

3. theowne - December 28, 2009

I think it’s made clear why Porco is a pig. He was so disgusted with himself for not being able to save his lost friends, and so disillusioned with humanity, that he cast himself as a pig and became one.

Now, that isn’t realistic of course, but Miyazaki gave a similar reason. It’s a kind of caricature, taken symbolically. Porco is a pig because that’s what he thinks he is.

Cello - December 28, 2009

No kidding? Well thanks for the clear up 🙂 Always good to get opinions of others to expand your insight of a film.

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