Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Starring Shûichirô Moriyama/Michael Keaton (Kurenai no Buta), Tokiko Katô/Susan Egan (Jina-Sama), Bunshi Katsura Vi/David Ogden Stiers (Pikkoro-oyaji).
Bottom line: Porco Rosso was so cute and so much fun; I highly recommend it especially for kids.
In Porco Rosso, we follow an Italian WWI pilot who was cursed to look like a pig. The story consists of Porco fending off sky pirates and the attacks of an American ace in the inter-war period.
This is a Miyazaki movie so, if you’re familiar with his movies, it won’t surprise you to hear that the animation is wonderful. It’s colorful and happy. Porco’s introduction and the introduction to his relationship with the pirates give you a good indication of the tone of the movie.
We see Proco lounging on a secluded beach. He is called on the radio to go fend off some pirates who are robbing a cruise and, to make matters worse, they’ve captured a class of schoolgirls!
Now, I cringed when I heard “schoolgirls” because, you know, I thought hyper-sexualized high school girls (aka early Brittany) but it was just elementary school children. I suspect it was a translation thing or maybe a cultural terminology issue. Anyway, we cut to the pirates and the one groans, “Do we have to take all 15?”
“Oh course! We can’t split them up from their friends!”
And then they go on to let the kids climb all over the plane while being “kidnapped.”
Even when Porco comes to the rescue the scene is light-hearted. Porco shoots out the pirate-plane’s engine and even lets them keep a little of their loot to pay for repairs. “I don’t want to be putting them out of a job,” Porco explains.
I saw the English dubbed version. I’m generally a proponent of original audio with subtitles but, in this case, the dub was perfectly good for the movie. Michael Keaton does a great job of voice acting Porco. The voice of Meg from Disney’s Hercules is the voice of Porco’s love interest. Do you remember Everybody Loves Raymond? Well, Raymond’s brother (the one with the deep voice) is a pirate alongside the voice of Patrick Star from Spongebob Squarepants. The daughter in Father of the Bride voices the spunky engineer. It’s a solid B-grade cast.
When I was describing the cast to a coworker, he said that a mark of a good B-grade cast is when you say, “Do you remember that show? Well, the side character from that show was in this.” That is, you know the actor not through their name but through a point of reference.
I would highly recommend Porco Rosso especially for kids. It’s fun and happy and I’ll probably see it again at some point. Thanks for reading! I’m on a Miyazaki kick at the moment so I will probably write a review about another soon. What about you? Are you looking forward to seeing anything in the near future?