Porco Rosso - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 2 Old 02-01-15, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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Porco Rosso - Blu-ray Review

Title: Porco Rosso


HTS Overall Score:85

Ah, “Porco Ross”. Talk about a blast from the past! “Porco Rosso” is one of those Hayao Miyazaki films that gets passed over when people think of the great Miyazaki. I mean, you have a story about an Italian WWI fighter who just so happens to be cursed to look like a pig. There’s no fantastical magical elements (besides the curse that supposedly turned him into a pig) and there is no epic storytelling. It’s much more laid back and instead tells the story of a pilot who has to deal with the changing of the old guard. However, the movie is QUITE good, and one that really doesn’t deserve to get passed over as often as it does.

“Porco Rosso” is the tale of a veteran WWI fighter pilot Marco “Porco” Rosso and the times after the war has ended. Instead of moving on with life, Porco has become a bounty hunter who hunts pirates and the like on the Adriatic see outside of Italy. Porco is the best pilot around until a young American pilot comes and knocks him off the top with a cheap shot, destroying his plane in the process. Rebuilding his famed plane through his old friend Pikkoro (and his beautiful redheaded granddaughter), Porco plans to go back to doing what he does best, hiding out on a deserted island, being lazy and hunting down pirates when the price is right. This changes when Porco and Fio (Pikkoro’s granddaughter) take his plane our for a test ride and end up roped into a competition between the American and Porco Rosso, all sponsored by the air pirates of course. Now Porco has to come out of retirement one more time and put on the gloves to protect Fio as well as the honor of the pilots before him.

One thing that has become very obvious over the years is how much Hayao Miyazaki loves planes, especially the WWI ear of flight machines. “The Wind Rises” was his coup de grace in terms of writing a love letter to the aeronautical community, but movies like “Porco Rosso” were an obvious highlight in his love for the skies. “Porco Rosso” hovers on that line between silly slapstick comedy meant for children and heavy and mature themes that resonate with the adults. On one hand we have a light and airy children’s story. Porco is a bit of a goofball and there’s plenty of pork humor in the film, poking fun at the fat pig in a way that will make children giggle and laugh. While that is perfect as a film, it wouldn’t be a Miyazaki movie if there wasn’t a whole lot more under the hood. The other side of the coin is that the movie is really a melancholy tale of a war veteran, watching the world pass him by as the changing of the guard happens. It’s a movie that celebrates fallen comrades and the honor that one must portray when remembering them, but also that feeling of helplessness as you see the world around you changing. Changing so much that you don’t recognize your place in that world anymore. You feel sad for Porco as he tries his best to stay relevant in a changing world, as well as the sadness that exists in his heart as he is a survivor in a war that claimed so many people. People he called friends and that will never been seen again. That is exemplified the most when you see the conversation between Porco and Gina at the beginning of the film as they discuss the coming and going of her husband’s lives. The melancholy heartbreak is palpable and makes you realize the pain that the characters are going through, even amidst all the jokes about turning Porco into a pork roast.

Between the English and the Japanese voice cast I have to go with the Japanese one overall. HOWEVER, I have to point out that Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Porco was incredible. He made Porco a bit less rough and tough, but filled him with a bit more wry humor in the way he speaks. Both Shuichiro Moriyama did a fantastic job as well, and I think eclipses Keaton with that rasping tough guy impersonation, but I have to tip my hat to Keaton, and that’s something I normally don’t do with English dubs of Japanese animation.


Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images

Studio Chibli is known for EXCELLENT video word on their home video releases, and they rarely, if ever, show many flaws in the presentation. “Porco Rosso” is no different with an excellent 1.85:1 AVC encoded image that really showcases how beautiful hand drawn animation on film can look. There is a beautiful layer of film grain covering the image, and the color palette is filled with bright and shiny colors, from the reds on Porco’s plane, to the blues of the Adriatic ocean and the greens of the lush garden of Miss Gina. Black levels stay strong and the detail is simply phenomenal, whether that be shadow detail, or the fine detail of the brightly lit sky. The hand drawn lines look excellent, with no signs of DNR or scrubbing going on here. The only complaint I have, and it’s a VERY minor one, is that I think I caught a couple instances of banding going on in the blue sky. However, they are so brief that I had to freeze frame the image to make sure I actually saw them, so I wouldn’t worry about it, even on large screens.

The disc sports a pair of lossless 2.0 tracks in both the English and the Japanese languages, both which have their pros and cons. If you’re a fan of traditional Japanese language tracks, then this one is excellent, with great vocal representation by some VERY good voice actors. While I usually don’t like English dubs, I have to say that Cary Elwes and Michael Keaton did a very good job at making the English version ALMOST as good as the Japanese. For those of you who keep up with this, there are actually TWO sets of English subtitles on the disc. The English for the hearing impaired track is the dubtitle track, basically copying the English dub into text, while the second (and unadvertised) track is a literal translation of the Japanese source, and if you put them head to head, the literal track is LEAGUES better than the dubtitles, as there is much more nuances in the story that get glossed over in the dub. The track itself is quite good, with great fidelity and some solid presence in the front soundstage. Being a 2.0 track we don’t get a whole lot of LFE, but the LFE backed into the front two channels is more than enough to get the job done. Very solid touchup of a classic 2.0 track.


• Behind the Microphone
• Original Japanese Storyboards
• Trailers and Promotions
• Toshio Suzuki Interview
• Trailers


“Porco Rosso” doesn’t meet the tip top echelons Miyazaki’s greatest achievements such as “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away”, but it is still a cute and entertaining movie that proves the versatility of the man’s directing style. He can be extremely fantastical and over the top fantasy one moment, and then soft and melancholy the next, with a hint of grounded realism (though there is always SOMETHING fantastical in his films). As with most Studio Chibli films, the audio and video presentations are off the charts and make it a VERY worthwhile upgrade over the old DVDs. Definite watch in my opinion.

Additional Information:

Starring: Michael Keaton, Susan Egan, Cary Elwes,
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Hayao Miyazaki
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0, French DD 2.0
Studio: Studio Chibli/Disney
Rated: PG
Runtime: 94 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd 2015

Buy Porco Rosso Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Watch It

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post #2 of 2 Old 02-01-15, 07:28 AM
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Re: Porco Rosso - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review. I have this movie on dvd. I agree with you that the movie isn't equal to "“Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away”. Still it is a great movie to have. I have been slowly updating my Miyazaki dvd collection to blu ray versions as soon as they become available. Will get the upgrade for this one as well. Thanks.

Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV, NAD T-777 (7.2 Receiver), Oppo 103 Blu Ray Player, Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Wii U Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge Protection, 7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers (AMS-150R) - 30 degree tilting speakers, 2 Paradigm SE Sub

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