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Porco Rosso
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 10/02/2003

Porco Rosso, or Crimson Pig, is the alias of a high flying bounty hunter who also counters air pirates for a fee. Porco used to be an ace air force pilot named Marco, but a spell turned him into a pig. Porco is loved by two women: the beautiful socialite Gina, and the feisty mechanic Fio. Ultimately, Porco has to go up against the suave American pilot Curtiss for his honor, his pride, and his loved ones.
Animation master Hayao Miyazaki ("Kiki's Delivery Service", "Spirited Away") dazzles us with Porco Rosso, a nice little peek in the life of an airborne bounty hunter who just happens to be a pig. Porco Rosso was created in cooperation with Japan Airlines, whose purpose was to come up with an inflight movie which passengers could enjoy without having to think too much. Bearing this in mind, I can say that they have successfully achieved their goal. Porco Rosso is nothing more or less than just that -- straightforward entertainment.
Porco Rosso does not really have a structured plot. Porco does as he pleases and inevitably gets himself into various scrapes and situations along the way. He rescues some schoolchildren from pirates, unwittingly bets his cute female mechanic against his rival pilot in a dogfight... that sort of thing. What you see is what you get, albeit I felt there was a general lack of development with regards to Porco himself. It's only vaguely explained how he got transformed into a pig, and until the end we never know what happens to his flourishing love life. Does he end up with Gina? Does he ever turn back into a man? Like I mentioned earlier, what Miyazaki presents to us is but a glimpse into a world endowed with many possibilities... where having a talking pig for a pilot is about as natural as breathing air.
For me, the visual aspect is where Porco Rosso excels the most. It's actually the first time I've seen female characters in a Miyazaki movie which can be considered pretty, as most of Miyazaki's film characters are usually either children or extremely plain-looking people. The airscapes, landscapes, and seascapes all seem so boundless and serene that I felt as if I was in another world while watching. Each scene was nothing short of a stunning awe-inspiring spectacle.
While Porco Rosso did provide a pleasurable viewing experience, I was not too keen on its somewhat loose storytelling approach. Its simplicity can work for or against its favor, depending on what the viewer is looking for. Perfect for some uncomplicated entertainment, but hardly anything else beyond that.
I got the official R3 DVD released by IVL way before this was released in the US.

Porco Rosso
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Review Title:
Porco Rosso
Alternative Titles:
Crimson Pig
93 Minutes
General Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Older Children
Action, Adventure, Comedy,
Historical, Military, Romance
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