What They Say:
In Porco Rosso, when “Porco” — whose face has been transformed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell — infuriates a band of sky pirates with his aerial heroics, the pirates hire Curtis, a rival pilot, to “get rid” of him. On the ground, the two pilots compete for the affections of the beautiful Gina. But it is in the air where the true battles are waged.
The entire Blu-ray is in 2.0 DTS-HD. There are both songs and orchestral music which sounded great. There were no inconsistencies in sound. The music really enhanced the feeling of the period the story was set in. There are a lot of sound effects from the sounds of planes to water splashing. These sound effects and their accuracy are really important piece in communication to the audience about what is going on as sometimes there is little dialogue.
This set had both a DVD and a Blu-ray. I did watch the Blu-ray and keeping in mind this film was originally released in 1992, the crispness is not there in more recent animations, but the colors were still bright. The age of the animation did not at all detract from the movie, but in fact gave it character as it was set in the 1930s. I also want to note that I only wanted the movie in Japanese with subtitles and there were no issues with the timing of the subtitles.
The packaging is relatively basic. The combo DVD/Blu-ray come in a standard blue clear case with two separate discs. There is a slipcover that mirrors the paper wrap in the blue case. There is print on the backside of the paper wrap that is from a scene from the movie where there is a huge swatch of planes. There is a small “exclusive” booklet inside with notes from producer Toshio Suzuki and director Hayao Miyazaki. This booklet is 7 pages in total with many still images from the movie.
There is a standard menu selection with a still phone and options along the bottom with instrumental music on repeat. There is the Play, Chapter selection, Set Up with languages in English, Japanese and French with subtitles options and the Bonuses are feature length storyboards, interview with Toshio Suzuki, behind the microphone and original theatrical trailers.
The bonuses are as listed above in the menu. I cannot say completely as did not check into, but it seems that Shout Factory or Gkids when they received the licensed, the simply repackaged the Disney version.
The story takes place in the Mediterranean Sea. A curse or spell has trapped former Air Force Pilot Marco into a human-like pig form. This Italian becomes the Crimson Pig or Porco and is a pig for hire. And his services don’t come cheap. He is the only pig amongst humans as seems to be sort of novelty amongst the masses. While he seems well loved and goes about saving others from pirates for profit, not everyone loves Porco, especially those pirates he won against. Porco gives off the air of a handsome, rich, popular playboy even though he is very much a pig. The setting lends of postwar Europe lends to his legendary appeal.
In comes American, Curtis, and he’s a hired gun from a collective of pirates. He wants to fight Porco one-on-one. Curtis thinks he shot Porco down, but he actually just took refuge on a tiny island. His plane is completely busted though. He works his way back to Milan to get his plane fixed. At first, Porco doesn’t want a young girl, Fio, to fix his plane. She convinces him that she has the stuff to make it happen. In fact, it ends up being all women who repair his plane. While the plane is being prepared, Porco is being trailed. With all urgency, Porco and Fio leave without testing the plane.
There are snippets here there about singer Gina and her love for Porco, but the rest of the story really focuses on when Porco and Fio arrive back at his hideout. All the pirates try to surprise him, but they are the ones surprised, because Fio is with Porco and that she’s a plane builder. She takes control of the situation and talks directly the bosses. Curtis makes a return and a rematch is on with Fio as the bride for Curtis if he wins. If Porco wins, the American will pay of all Porco’s bills from rebuilding his plane. The rematch is big news and becomes a spectacle. After both guns jam in the air, they land, and the fight is taken out of the skies and turns into a boxing match. During the fight, Curtis tells Porco that Gina loves him. The news takes him by surprise and nearly gets knocked out. He hangs in there, wins and gets the love of his life.
I’m a decent fan of Ghibli films, but I actually have never seen or watched this one. While it has a sprinkle of magic and a strong-willed girl like many of Miyazaki’s films, this one isn’t nearly as dark or have seeming thick array of meanings. It was actually fairly fun and lighthearted. The new engine that goes into Porco’s plane even had “GHIBLI” on it for a bit of humor. There is also the brightly colored pirate planes and the way the masses think the pirates are actually more entertaining then they are scary. There is a never-ending trail of little bits of gags and goofiness. One of my favorite parts is when the pirates all starting using their SOS signals at the same time as if they are actually talking over each other.
While this move is already over twenty-five years old, there is a good amount of strong female characters, including Fio. These ladies are smart and hardworking which is showcased in the film, but there are still an abundant of female stereotypes that was probably a product of the time period and a reflection of the time the movie was actually created.
One of the very best things I liked about this film was the price point. In the past when Disney licensed the films, Ghibli films were rather expensive and not always easy to find. Since Shout Factor/GKids has taken over it’s more affordable and easier to create your own collection of Miyazaki films. It’s a good collection to have.
Japanese, English and French languages with optional subtitles, original theatrical trailers, interview with Toshio Suzuki, behind the Microphone and textless opening and ending credits.
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Shout Factory/GKids
Release Date: November 21, 2017
Running Time: 93 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen
Samsung 75″ 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation4 Blu-ray player, Vizio soundbar with multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.