Porco Rosso - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 3 - Southeast Asia
  • Released By: Other
  • MSRP: HK$133.00
  • Running time: 94
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Porco Rosso

Porco Rosso

    May 29, 2002
Release Date: May 07, 2002

What They Say
In the Adriatic Sea in the days after World War I, many flying aces have become “sky pirates,” raiding the sea-lanes. Marco “Porco” Rosso is a bounty hunter whose scarlet biplane is available to oppose the pirates for a fee. Upset by the interruption to their business, the pirates decide to bring in the unscrupulous, suave, and handsome American ace Donald Curtis to eliminate Porco Rosso. Curtis meets his strange nemesis and is struck by the beautiful chanteuse, Gina, who loves Marco. The two men begin a breathtaking life-and-death struggle for not only glory and honor, but also the hearts of the charming ladies, Gina and Fio...

The Review!
This disc was released by: Intercontinental Video Ltd.

Of all the Miyazaki films, Porco Rosso is the most comedic, matched by only Castle Of Caligistro. But like Caligistro, there is an equal amount of adventure, action and romance.

Primarily listened to the original language, which is the Japanese Dolby Digital Surround. Very clean and very nice use of left to right effects. Also included on the disc is a Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese track, which while sampled only briefly did seem clean and clear, and an unlisted DTS 5.1 mix of the Cantonese, which I was unable to check out.

For the most part, a great looking transfer. The colors are solid and compares favorably to the Japanese releases. There is only a few instances some very minor marco-blocking in some of the night scenes- just barely enough to be noticed. The most visually annoying flaw is shimmering and rainbowing on fine lines. This is most noticeable during the opening text. The subtitles are white with a black border, making them very easy to read.

The basic design of the front is the same as the Japanese DVDs, with the title in Chinese, Japanese, and English on a field of orange and a picture of Porco and Gina- the same picture used on the Hong Kong VCDs. The back features a few screens shots, a synopsis and a matrix of features, though the listing is incomplete, in Chinese and English. The two discs are housed in a clear double Amray.

Once again, the design has taken a cue from the Japanese DVDs, with static menus on a field of white and some production art in the center. However, one nice feature on the main movie disc is the choice to have the menus in either Chinese or English. This makes navigation much simpler. Unfortunately, there is no such option on the extras disc.

The entire second disc is taken up with extras. The primary extra is the e-ketone, a standard with Ghibli releases. This features an alternate angle version of the movie, allowing you to switch back and forth between the storyboards and the movie. This version uses the Cantonese 5.1 track, but also allows you to use English subtitles. Also included is a single trailer for Porco Rosso, the short trailer for Spirited Away, subtitled in Chinese and English, and the Ghibli Collection trailer, subtitled in Chinese.

The Mediterranean in the early 1930s. The clouds of Fascism are gathering. Over the Adriatic, the fly boys from World War I are now air pirates and bounty hunters.

One of the amazing things about this film is Miyazaki is able to tell a comedic adventure tale of the the derring-do of the first generation of pilots, while still invoking the gathering claustrophobia of the approaching war. The buffoonery of the incompetent air pirates, who are mocked by school girls, is neatly balanced by the shadowy presence of a government that wants to shut them down.

This film is also the most explicit when using Miyazaki’s motifs; flying, pigs and strong women. While this is a rare Miyazaki film where the principle character is male (unlike Laputa or Mononoke, where the are co-equal leads), Gina and Fio help drive the story.

The basic story involves Marco “Porco” Rosso, a former Italian Air Force pilot who was mysteriously transformed into a pig. How this occurred is never explained, but is an apt metaphor for Porco’s cynicism. He works as a bounty hunter, taking care of a motley group of so-called pirates and splitting their take on the side.

The pirates, however, get fed up and hire a cocky young American named Curtis. Curtis is also immediately taken by Gina, the owner of a hotel where all the fliers gather as sort of a neutral ground. However, Gina holds out Porco, whom she has known for a long time.

After some air battles, Curtis manages to shoot down Porco’s plane. Porco has to tow the plane to Milan to get it repaired at an old friend’s factory. There, he meets Fio, the owner’s grand-daughter, just back from America. She bright, eager, energetic and a genius at doing plane designs.

Porco’s plane is rebuilt and Fio conspires to tag along to finish adjusting the plane. This sets up the final part of the movie where Curtis and Porco have a dual to settle everything between them.

This is not the best Miyazaki film; it’s not particularly deep and there are holes in the plot. What is, though, is a heck of a lot of fun. The visuals are also stunning. The work done on the atmosphere shots and nuances of old time airplanes make this film a joy to watch.

Japanese DD2.0 soundtrack,Cantonese DD5.1 & DTS5.1 soundtracks,English & Traditional Chinese subtitles,2nd Disk Of Extras: e-ketone and trailers

Review Equipment
Oritron DVD-200 codefree, Samsung 19” TV, Sharp CD-PC3500 Dolby Pro-Logic system


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