紅の豚 / Porco Rosso (1992) (1992)
May 20, 2024 6:34 PM - Subscribe

In 1930s Italy, sky pirates in seaplanes terrorize wealthy cruise ships as they sail the Adriatic Sea. The only pilot brave enough to stop the scourge is the mysterious Porco Rosso, a former World War I flying ace who was somehow transformed into a pig during the war. After his plane is damaged, Porco must prepare to battle a rogue American ace with the help of his two confidantes, a fearless teenage mechanic and a world-weary cabaret singer.

Film by Hayao Miyazaki from his original manga. Two English dubs exist: one from 1992 (made so the film could be shown on international flights), and one made for the Disney release in 2005 with Michael Keaton as Porco and Cary Elwes as his nemesis Curtis.

A French dub exists starring Jean Reno as Porco. Miyazaki was quoted as saying he often chooses to watch the French dub rather than his original Japanese version.

Miyazaki's Director's Statement:
"Porco Rosso is designed to be a work that businessmen exhausted from international flights can enjoy even if their minds have been dulled from lack of oxygen. It must also be a work that boys and girls, as well as aunties, can enjoy, but we must never forget that first of all it is a cartoon movie for tired middle-aged men whose brain cells have turned to tofu.

Porco Rosso is fun and upbeat, but not an over-the-top party.

It is dynamic, but not destructive.

It abounds with love but needs no lust.

A town that people would like to visit. A sky through which people would like to fly. A secret hideaway we ourselves would want. And a worry-free, stirring, uplifting world. Once upon a time, earth was a beautiful place.

Let us make a film like this.
posted by Pallas Athena (14 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This (the 2005 dub, specifically) is my favorite Miyazaki movie, hands down. I love the flying sequences, the minimal effort Keaton puts in to grunting his lines, Elwes's flamboyance, and Brad Garrett's easily recognizable voice as the pirate boss.
posted by hanov3r at 8:21 PM on May 20 [6 favorites]

My daughter has strangely loved this film since she was four years old. I asked her why. Was it the kidnapped swim team? The graceful flying machines? The clever engineer? Nope, she loved the fist fight at the end.

That scene with the downed fighter pilots ascending into the numinous aerial graveyard, though... gives me chills, every time.
posted by Paragon at 1:54 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]

My all-time favourite Ghibli. I think I saw it originally in the mid-90's on Canal+, so in Japanese language with French subtitles, and Marco has always been my kinda cursed rogue.

I recently had the opportunity to introduce my pre-teen godson (who is enraptured by classic hand-drawn animation) to it, so opted for the Keaton dub and wow, they nailed the voice casting. He couldn't take his eyes off it and he giggled at moments I'd never considered funny before, opening it up to me like a whole new experience all over again.

We spoke afterwards about the "contest" to "win" Fio and whether it was right or necessary and his perspective was "Fio knew what she was doing, she's the smart one". Kid's ok.
posted by Molesome at 4:17 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]

"a cartoon movie for tired middle-aged men whose brain cells have turned to tofu"

no wonder i love this movie so much. better a pig than a fascist!
posted by AlbertCalavicci at 4:58 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]

Porco Rosso is so good and yes, "Better a pig than a fascist!"
posted by Kitteh at 5:23 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]

This is my favourite Ghibli movie and in my top films of all time.

There's an aching nostalgia at the heart of this film for a time and place that never truly existed. I've said this before but I'm drawn to media that has a strong sense of place and this evokes that so completely.

I have only ever seen the Japanese version as every time I come to rewatch the film, I end up wanting to revisit the same experience.

It's a film I love so much and so deeply that it's hard to articulate. There are quite nuanced and mature themes explored around gender and masculinity and violence and choice, but even after decades of repeat viewings it's the sense of place and time that washes over me with every viewing.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:23 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]

My favorite Ghibli, too. I truly love the very last shot where we don't quite see around the corner of that garden lane but we'd like to imagine what could be there. Such an elegant film.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:39 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]

[puts on record] And one of my favorites, too. It's a beautiful film.
posted by Atreides at 6:46 AM on May 21

we must never forget that first of all it is a cartoon movie for tired middle-aged men whose brain cells have turned to tofu.

This is my sentimental favorite of the Miyazaki oeuvre, and I'm proud to say this statement makes me feel absolutely seen.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:43 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

I made this post after watching the film recently with my partner, who admits he gets moved to tears by the ending, wondering if Gina ever wins her bet.

The "aerial afterlife" cloud-river scene that Paragon mentions is amazing, too.

The joy of flight is present in so many Ghibli films, but (I think) in none more than this one.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:42 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

Apparently the "river of pilots" scene was inspired by Roald Dahl's short story "They Shall Not Grow Old".
posted by The Tensor at 12:00 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't call this my favorite Miyazaki film. That's probably still Laputa/Castle In the Sky (or Totoro depending on the weather that day). But I do love it because I share Miyazaki's love for inter-war aviation and flying boats.

I long to share this with my little girl, but while she adores Totoro, I couldn't even get her through Kiki's Delivery Service because she was frightened by the idea of the girl leaving her parents and going out on her own. I don't expect she'd make it through this one either. But maybe. Maybe.
posted by Naberius at 2:55 PM on May 22

I love the economy of both not telling us what caused Marco/Porco's curse, nor telling us definitively whether it's lifted at the end: both are left to our own imaginations.

Also: Porco's initial chauvinism towards Fio being replaced by genuine respect for her skills; the sky pirates being overrun by giggling schoolgirls; really the whole general unserious silliness of the sky pirates; and yes, yes: better a pig than a fascist.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:17 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]

yes to the sky pirates being utter creampuffs. I love that their gang is called Mamma Aiuto, which is basically "Mom! Help!"
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:49 PM on May 23

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