14 January 2003 | dballred
It's a Miyazaki Ghibli... What else is there to say?
If somebody were to start up an all-Ghibli network on television, I'd leave the set on that channel unless I heard a nuclear attack siren. Kurenai no Buta is one of those films that could fill up much of the schedule, as I could watch it over and over again.
Set in Fascist Italy in the late twenties, the story is about a cursed WWI Italian fighter pilot, Porco Rosso, doomed to live out his life in the form of a pig. He spends his leisure hours basking on his secluded private beach with his bright red monoplane. He makes his living by tangling with air pirates, collecting rewards for recovery of valuables.
Porco Rosso has a lot to deal with in this story. He has the pirates to contend with, a swashbuckling American mercenary looking for a good dogfight, an increasingly intrusive Fascist presence eyeing his activities, a finicky airplane, and two women in love with him. Other than the vaguely appearing Fascists, there are no real villains in the film.
Mamma Aiuto is a heavy-set bearded chap, somewhat reminiscent of Bluto in the Popeye cartoons. He and his gang of bungling pirates have honor, if not exactly fastidious bathing habits.
Donald Curtis, an American mercenary, seems driven to glory and fame-and falls in love with every pretty face he sees. He's after notoriety and feels an air duel with Porco Rosso is the ticket to get there.
Gina, Porco's childhood sweetheart, runs a popular island resort. She's still in love with him, but he doesn't quite get it. All the pilots of the Adriatic love Gina, who was married and widowed thrice. Donald Curtis is right in there with everyone else vying for her attention.
Fio Piccolo, a 17-year old American aeronautical engineer, is commissioned by a reluctant Porco to fix his plane. She also falls in love with him as she gradually sees his character. He gets it, but he's not really interested in that kind of arrangement--especially with one so young.
A working, radio-controlled scale model of his plane hangs in the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan, along with photos of it in flight as proof that the airplane depicted in the film actually could fly.
This story weaves together beautifully and leads to an ending that is a topic of discussion among those who have seen it. This is a must-see film. I give it an easy 10.