Thursday, April 21, 2005

Porco Rosso

(Dir Hayao Miyazaki)

I've seen a couple of his movies (Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Princess Mononoke) and have Spirited Away stashed in the back of my van (don't ask). I think there were four being shown as part of the World Cinema showcase, but this is the only one I managed to see. It was soooo cute!

The Porco Rosso of the title (which translates to the Crimson Pig) is a former Italian Air Force pilot, who has left under somewhat dubious circumstances and is now (1920's) a bounty hunter in the Adriatic - a rather curious Adriatic where almost everyone flies around in flying boats and where people are Greek or Italian but always speak Japanese. Thanks to some sort of curse, or his own disgust with the human race, he's a pig - there's a bit of talk about whether, with a kiss from the right woman, he'll be transformed into a man again. While there is a woman willing to do it, it never happens. Maybe she's not the right one - he's quite a solitary sort of fellow. With a name like the Crimosn Pig, there are going to be a few references to flying pigs ("I'm a pig. I must fly.") but they weren't too laboured.

After a few skirmishes over some kidnapped uber-cute schoolgirls, the story line settles into place. Our man Porco is up against the "Federation" (of Pirates, air-borne, of course), and they set their hired gun, the US flyboy Donald Curtis (heh - I thought I recognised the name, he's a character actor from the 1940's who played the villain), on to him to shoot him down - which he does. So, its off to Naples to get the plane fixed, where he meets the 17 year old Fio - grand-daughter of the boss of the air-plane fix-it shop (voiced by Kimberley Williams of Father of the Bride fame). She's sharp and smart - after all, she's the one who has to design the repair job on the plane and then get the work actually done. The men are all "useless" and can't be relied upon, so its a job for the women folk. Given the time frame - 1920's - it is likely that the men have actually been committed to other tasks. There are various references to the growth of fascism in Italy, that ends up closing in on Porco.

Fio gets everything finished and wants to go back with Porco - she's designed a cute wee hidey-hole into the fuselage for herself and all; he can't refuse. Just as well, because she saves his bacon (sorry!). They get back to his island hideout, to find themselves surrounded by the Federation - the boss of which first wants to smash up the plane and then "mince the pig" - Fio is the one to stand up to him, and shame him into doing neither, by referring to the honour among pilots etc. But the pirates want something - they get a promise of a re-match between Curtis and Porco: if Curtis wins, he gets to marry Fio, so there's lots at stake.

Their dogfight is a fiasco - thanks to Fio sitting in her little spot in the plane, she's bent the gun mechanisms. Neither Porco nor Curtis have any armament at all and they soon run out of things to throw at each other so, as you do, they landed and had a fist-fight as well. Like the Simpsons, which makes full use of the animation, this fight took full advatnage of the fact that there no actual humans about to get hurt, and they really socked into each other, with hugely distorted faces the result.

I really like this movie, it left me feeling warm, and wishing I'd had time to maybe see Nausicaa.


Blogger Amanda said...

heya hope you're not too cold in dunedin, i just discovered your blog and added you to my blogroll, i love you're writing style.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Well, thanks for that. I haven't been able to find your blog so can't comment!

9:12 PM  

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