Last night I watched Porco Rosso. It’s easily my favorite of all of Hayao Miyazaki‘s films. I don’t usually blog about movies but I’m using this as an excuse to test out the frame grab feature of Power DVD, which came with my new computer.
In the American dub Porco (left) is voiced by Michael Keaton and Curtis (right) is voiced by Carey Elwes, who does a convincing American accent.
It’s aimed more at adults than some of Miyazaki’s other films. I think we’ll pass on letting our kids them see this one. It’s a Disney film (well, the english version was produced and released by Disney) so it’s safe for kids content-wise, but the subject matter might bore them, or simply go over their heads.
Animated Japanese films are so different from animated American films. This movie is mostly a drama. Characters talk. We see them pausing and giving thoughtful expressions. They use body language. All of this is normal and expected in a live-action drama, but not an animated one. In fact, animated American dramas are pretty rare. I can’t even think of one at the moment.
The picture above is from a moment early in the film when Porco meets a new rival at the bar. The place is packed with various Sky Pirates who hold a nasty grudge against Porco for all the trouble he’s given them over the years. If this movie had been made in America, a brawl would have been inevitable. There would have been overturned tables. Men would swing bottles, only to have their target duck so they end up hitting an ally. Someone would be shoved onto the bar and slid from one end to the other. Someone else would go through a big window. A woman would dart into the fight to break a bottle over the head of a villian just as he gets the upper hand. There would have been jokes and sight gags and one-liners and witty banter as the fight unfolded. Afterward, none of the characters would be seriously injured. The main character would reveal a bit about himself to a friend while either holding ice to his face or fleeing the aftermath of the brawl.
But this wasn’t an American movie and the obvious cliché fight was easily averted. Porco didn’t reveal much about himself through words. He was quiet for most of the scene. He smoked (yet another strange thing to see in a Disney film!) and had a drink, and then he left. There were many things he did not say that told us a great deal about what sort of man (pig) we are dealing with. There are many quiet moments like this in the movie, where we are allowed to simply observe Porco. He’s a facinating guy, and I really enjoyed his story.
But throughout the movie I couldn’t help thinking of Pey’j from Beyond Good and Evil:
Pey’j and Porco are very different characters, but pig-men are somewhat uncommon and so it was hard not to think of Pey’j when seeing Porco.