The Hayao Miyazaki Collection: Porco Rosso - Blu-ray Review

'planting an anthropomorphic pig amongst the metaphorical chickens'

Excluding the slightly daft and somewhat aimless finale, Porco Rosso rates as highly for me as other films in the Miyazaki box set. The conclusion may misfire spectacularly, but for the most part this is a wonderfully crafted film, with copious nods to 30s, 40s and 50s set Noir. This is Hayao Miyazaki walking all over films like Casablanca, with his trademark invention and flair, and planting an anthropomorphic pig amongst the metaphorical chickens. The film is often as fun, as bizarre and as joyous as that description sounds.

The titular red pig patrols an area of the Baltic, hiring himself out to combat pirates targeting shipping in the area. Collecting together at Gia's idyllic Hotel Adriano - an island Rick's Cafe - pirates, heroes, dames and pigs meet to genially discuss the local post-WW1 economy. Threatened by Porco's skills, the pirates hire American fighter, Curtis, to protect their interests.

By no means is this Miyazaki's deepest film (though it is far from things like Kiki's Delivery Service) but that doesn't mean that there are not interesting things going on here. On the run from a nation about to be ravished by fascism, Porco and his compatriots often refer to their fiscal situation. Several have taken out loans to fund their piratical notions and Porco himself is eventually forced to take on an apprentice in order to guarantee the funding of his new plane.

That apprentice, Fio, should scream out to you as the moral heart of the film as soon as she arrives on screen for she is, of course, a plane designer. As has by now become clear, Miyazaki values the purity of flight above all else and Fio, ahead of The Wind Rises' Jiro, is no exception, providing moral anchor for the jaded and cynical Porco (and, eventually, the pirates).

The film is, ultimately, a little light but the concept is such that it rarely puts its colours in full view. Instead, the hints at espionage and anti-fascism remain memorable - along with the joy of seeing Porco's plane being crafted - until the end comes to remind you that parts of this story are entirely blunt force, rather than careful craft.

The Hayao Miyazaki Collection brings together all 11 of the director's feature films, from The Castle of Cagliostro to The Wind Rises, on Blu-ray for the first time. It is released in the UK on Monday 8th December 2014.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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