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Porco Rosso

By Shamus
on Friday Mar 17, 2006
Filed under:


Last night I watched Porco Rosso. It’s easily my favorite of all of Hayao Miyazaki‘s films. I don’t usually blog about movies but I’m using this as an excuse to test out the frame grab feature of Power DVD, which came with my new computer.

In the American dub Porco (left) is voiced by Michael Keaton and Curtis (right) is voiced by Carey Elwes, who does a convincing American accent.

It’s aimed more at adults than some of Miyazaki’s other films. I think we’ll pass on letting our kids them see this one. It’s a Disney film (well, the english version was produced and released by Disney) so it’s safe for kids content-wise, but the subject matter might bore them, or simply go over their heads.

Animated Japanese films are so different from animated American films. This movie is mostly a drama. Characters talk. We see them pausing and giving thoughtful expressions. They use body language. All of this is normal and expected in a live-action drama, but not an animated one. In fact, animated American dramas are pretty rare. I can’t even think of one at the moment.

The picture above is from a moment early in the film when Porco meets a new rival at the bar. The place is packed with various Sky Pirates who hold a nasty grudge against Porco for all the trouble he’s given them over the years. If this movie had been made in America, a brawl would have been inevitable. There would have been overturned tables. Men would swing bottles, only to have their target duck so they end up hitting an ally. Someone would be shoved onto the bar and slid from one end to the other. Someone else would go through a big window. A woman would dart into the fight to break a bottle over the head of a villian just as he gets the upper hand. There would have been jokes and sight gags and one-liners and witty banter as the fight unfolded. Afterward, none of the characters would be seriously injured. The main character would reveal a bit about himself to a friend while either holding ice to his face or fleeing the aftermath of the brawl.

But this wasn’t an American movie and the obvious cliché fight was easily averted. Porco didn’t reveal much about himself through words. He was quiet for most of the scene. He smoked (yet another strange thing to see in a Disney film!) and had a drink, and then he left. There were many things he did not say that told us a great deal about what sort of man (pig) we are dealing with. There are many quiet moments like this in the movie, where we are allowed to simply observe Porco. He’s a facinating guy, and I really enjoyed his story.

But throughout the movie I couldn’t help thinking of Pey’j from Beyond Good and Evil:

Pey’j and Porco are very different characters, but pig-men are somewhat uncommon and so it was hard not to think of Pey’j when seeing Porco.

Comments (6)

  1. You seem to be having trouble controlling the aspect ratio of your screen grabs.

    In Configuration/Player, press the “Advanced” button. At the bottom there are three choices. “Current Window Size” is always safe but may be bigger than you really want it to be.

    The two sizes I use are 720*536 (4:3 ratio) and 848*480 (16:9 ratio). Porco Rosso is widescreen, so that latter is the right one. Those both make the player expand the image, which looks smooth. If you tell the player to shrink the grab it looks crummy, which is why I use a graphics editor to shrink images if I need them to be smaller.

  2. Shamus says:

    Thanks for the advice.

  3. Tauri says:

    I agree in that Porco Rosso is geared towards adults, and yet I know that a few children I watch would be facinated by it. Not because of its drama. Admittedly, you did mention how very unsual it was for an animated film to be a drama. Yet, the children I know would love it for the time period, and the fighter planes portrayed in this film. I have yet to show them this movie, but I plan to some time very soon.

  4. Gargron says:

    It is a funny film. But not the best Miyazaki-work.

  5. Lizzy says:

    this is one of my favorite Miyazaki movies as well. And although it is a drama, it has it’s funny moments. the air pirates are some interesting enemies to have…

  6. wendy says:

    ola haaaa!!
    asta ahora me an encantado todo el anime de el sr. miyazaki y espero poder seguir viendo su anime y k sake otra mas pronto por k ya casi las acabo de ver todas sus series desde mexico lo acmiro mucho espero ver otra de las series y la k mas me encanta es la del viaje de chihiro junto con el increible castillo bagabundo bn me voy se cuida muxo

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