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Porco Rosso, Blu-ray (1992/2015)

Porco Rosso, Blu-ray (1992/2015)

Director & writer: Hayao Miyazaki
English voice actors: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Susan Egan, Brad Garrett
Studio: Nippon TV/ Studio Ghibli/ Walt Disney Home Ent. [2/3/15] (2 discs)
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0, DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, French
Dubbed: English, French, Japanese
Extras: Behind the microphone, Original Japanese storyboards, Original Japanese trailers, Producer Toshio Suzuki interview, Previews
Length: 93 min.
Rating: *****

This is many viewers’ favorite Miyazaki film. It is full of plenty of aviation thrills, one of Miyazaki’s big interests. The action-adventure story concerns a WWI Italian flying ace who has a pig’s head due to an unexplained curse. It has plenty of courage, chivalry and humor, and Porco Rossi is a sort of Bogart of the air character. One reviewer refers to this as the Casablanca of animated features.

There are befuddled sky pirates, a taste of the coming Fascist takeover in Italy, and a gorgeous restauranteur Gina, who Porco and an American seaplane pilot, Donald, have a big aerial dogfight over. She also sings, and in French yet. Plus a young and cute airplane designer who in the very end kisses Porco and reverses his curse.

Disney’s efforts to release a good English-dubbed version of Porco Rosso are totally successful. Everything seems to fit perfectly and Michael Keaton makes a wonderful Porco Rosso, without any over-the-top stuff as he did in Beatlejuice. If you want the airplanes all around you in the dogfights, decode the stereo tracks with one of the pseudo-surround options. Both the kids and the grownups will love this one; it’s full of the old Ghibli movie magic, even though it doesn’t have any cute little spirits in it. I find it in the same class as the masterpieces My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. Highly recommended!

—John Sunier

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