Leave it to Director Hayao Miyazaki to make a man turned into a pig, the star of a his film, but that's that case in "PORCO ROSSO" and we're all the happier because of it! Set in 1920s Europe, "PORCO ROSSO" brings about the wrath of sky pirates angered and jealous of his aerial skills as he darts around the skies amongst other adventurers and quite a few bad guys. Some may find it slightly "anti-American" due to the fact that the bad guys hire an ace pilot to kill him, and he happens to be an American named "Curtis".
While this is more of a "guy's" film than Miyazaki's other works, there is plenty here for girls to cheer about, including the saving graces of the female mechanic, Fio and an intriguing hotel owner named Gina. The film exudes a terrific, hypnotic atmosphere from its first scene to its last, but some will undoubtedly be frustrated by those things never explained. Why Porco was ever turned into a pig and why he changes back to a human at the end, is never really explained. While the film hints at redemption, it never fully develops its theme, relying almost entirely on interesting characters and incredible imagery.
Miyazaki displays his love for various genres in this film, and it definitely resembles "CASABLANCA" at times.
BUENA VISTA has preserved the film's correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement. It's a terrific transfer with rich, vibrant colors. There is some minor grain, but there's great detail in virtually every scene.
BUENA VISTA has provided a surround mix for the English track and it comes in handy, especially during some spectacular aerial sequences with planes seeming to scream by in a panning effects mode from front to rear speakers. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. The original Japanese mix and a French one, both feature stereo mixes. While purists will want to listen to the Japanese mix, the English dubbed version is excellent and voice talents are well cast.
There are some interesting extras here, including a featurette offering the views and stories of the dubbing from the english-dub actors. The 2nd disc offers the entire film in its storyboard format.