Thursday, December 15, 2022

Porco Rosso

Damn you Studio Ghibli, I shake my fist at you!

Believe it or not, this friggin' movie man has been on my list for a long ass time, well before I even entertained the thought of writing my own reviews. This was my white whale to finally see, and I was not disappointed. Set in what looks like the late 1920s in the Mediterranean Sea, an ace pilot named Porco Rosso makes a living off protecting sea cruisers from air pirates as the governmental landscape shifts and the times they are a-changin'. Bounty hunting is a thing of the past and worse, Porco's plane gets wrecked forcing him to get it repaired and comes face to face with the new big shot pilot in town named Curtis who wants to take him down. Throw in a kickass mechanic named Fio, some air pirates possibly more hilarious than the pirates in Castle In The Sky, some spectacular sea scenery, and I think this is top 5 Studio Ghibli material for me. I'm serious man, if I wasn't a gleam in my mother's eye in 1992 you bet your ass I would see this day one! Granted the only selling point needed for me to even feverently search to watch this movie is two things, Studio Ghibli and Michael Keaton. I'm sold, take my money! Michael Keaton is so great in this, he's kind of a smartass but he's so cool you don't care, he can drink, smoke, womanize ever so slightly, and look like a literal pig and by God he can get away with it. I love how they don't really even explain how he turned into a pig, you never see anything, it's mentioned in passing it's a curse, we simply just do not know. I would call that bad writing elsewhere but it's never a quest to make him human again, people fully accept his appearance, so it's never really a problem. Kimberly Williams-Paisley as young engineer Fio just puts a smile on my face, she ain't taking no nonsense from Porco, she's super intelligent, very funny, hardheaded but extremely sweet, and there isn't really any kind of overt romance projected onto the film with either her or an old friend of Porco's who runs an establishment named Gina, played by Susan Egan who it took almost until the end of the movie for me to recognize her voice. You 90s Disney fans know, and while she is a smaller part of the story I really like her addition. Cary Elwes coming back again to voice Curtis, an egotistical even more womanizing gent from Texas no less (appreciate that representation, though we're not all like that I swear), but he's not an outright villain. Hell even the gangsters and air pirates are more comedic relief than actual threat but I adore that, it's just wonderful fun and I am not opposed to fun. The animation and backgrounds in this movie are stellar, you do feel that momentum and flying sensation even to a point where I tensed up for a brief instance. Some of these backgrounds are just unadulterated art worthy of any landscape painter. And this is just a super tiny sidebar, I can't even explain why, but seeing colored glints on the plane and the machine gun fire being this string of purple/pink orbs just really put a smile to my face, it's that very particular early 90s style of animation and I am here for it. I was so upset when it ended though because I was just having that great a time with it, I didn't want it to end! Usually I don't hate when a movie ends but this is one of those rare exceptions. I'm doing it, can't stop me. Full 4 stars, 10/10, this was so far up my alley and we only have one week left of reviews before the end of another year. You didn't think I would leave you high and dry without some Star Wars did you?

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