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With: (voices) Michael Keaton, Kimberly Williams, Brad Garrett, Susan Egan, Cary Elwes, David Ogden Stiers
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
MPAA Rating: PG for violence and some mild language
Language: English, or Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 93
Date: 18/07/1992

Porco Rosso (1992)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Pig in a Plane

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Porco Rosso on DVD.

Porco Rosso may seem like a lesser work from the master Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki; it doesn't quite have the epic feel of his other films. Yet it's a film Miyazaki made for himself, to indulge his passion for seaplanes, and this personal enthusiasm comes through clearly. Disney has released the film on DVD in a two-disc set containing both the Japanese version with subtitles, and a new American version with voices by Michael Keaton, Kimberly Williams, Brad Garrett, Susan Egan, Cary Elwes and David Ogden Stiers. Keaton provides the stoic, murmuring voice for the hero, Porco Rosso, a veteran seaplane captain who was turned into a pig by some unexplained curse. He has a price on his head and needs to get his plane rebuilt in Italy, where there is a warrant out for his arrest. Aiding him is the young and talented engineer Fio (voiced by Williams). This simple plot escalates to a fight between Porco and an arrogant, bragging flyboy (voiced by Elwes). It's all an excuse for Miyazaki to include several dogfights and to show off his extraordinary sense of three-dimensional space and movement, and especially a dizzying sense of height. Even on home video one gets a sense of being high off the ground. Very little is at stake here except for a good time, and the film's 93 minutes whiz by like a barnstorming air jockey.

DVD Details: Disney has released their extraordinary disc as part of a package of three, also including Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) and The Cat Returns (1995), the latter of which Miyazaki produced, wrote and storyboarded but did not direct. The discs have been kept as close as possible to Miyazaki's original vision with little tinkering. The Porco Rosso disc also includes the complete storyboards that may be played accompanied by the film's soundtrack, a making-of documentary interviewing the voice talent, trailers, and a 1992 interview with producer Toshio Suzuki.

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