Porco Rosso Movie Poster Image

Porco Rosso

(i)

 

Lesser known Miyazaki with heavy themes, cartoon violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Challenges the traditional ideas of war heroism. Warfare is portrayed in an unglamorous, complex manner.

Positive role models

The main character is a cynical womanizer. A young female airplane mechanic overcomes sexist stereotypes and proves she can be just as heroic as anyone.

Violence

There are lots of cartoonish airplane dogfights in this film, as well as machine gun fights, grenades, and explosions. There is also a lengthy fist fight between two of the main characters.

Sex

One female character is a sultry nightclub singer and there is some romantic attraction between her and some male characters.

 

Language

A few occasions of "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Porco Rosso is seen drinking wine, and often has a cigar in his mouth. There are also bar scenes where characters drink and smoke. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated fighter pilot-themed movie from renowned Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki is packed with cartoonish violence including WWI-era airplane battles and machine gun fights. Characters smoke and drink and there is some romance and references to womanizing threaded through the plot. Underneath the deceptively simple story is a complex exploration of the ravages of war on those who fight.

What's the story?

PORCO ROSSO (voiced by Michael Keaton) was a WWI flying ace who became half-man, half-pig after his compatriots were killed in battle. He is now a jaded womanizing bounty hunter rescuing ships and babies from the attacks of bumbling pirates across the Adriatic Sea while ignoring the romantic overtures of the cocktail singer Gina (Susan Egan). When Porco's plane is shot down by Donald Curtis (Cary Elwes), a cocky American fighter pilot who joins forces with the pirates, and when the fascists take over Italy, Porco takes his plane to the mechanic, where Fio (Kimberley Williams-Paisley) fixes the plane and encourages Porco to fight Curtis for honor's sake.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Porco Rosso is more than just beautiful anime portraying lots of cartoon violence between archetypal characters from war films bordering on stereotypes; it has a third dimension to it.

What is especially interesting about Porco Rosso is how, for all its parodic references to the flyboy films of WWII -- the sultry cocktail singer, the comedically cocky American fighter pilot, the spunky tomgirl who fixes airplanes, and even Porco himself as the anti-hero hero -- warfare and its consequences is critically examined. It is through Porco, who "quit being human" after seeing too much of the horrors of combat and now lives as a half-man half-pig sexist womanizer, that the audience experiences the deep hurt and depth of feeling of those who fight.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about heroism. What does it mean to be a hero? What are the ways Porco Rosso is and is not heroic? Who else is heroic?

  • What is the movie's message about how war affects places and people? What are the consequences of warfare for those who fight it? How is violence portrayed in this movie?

  • Are there any stereotypes in this movie? How are men and women represented differently?

Movie details

DVD/Streaming release date:February 22, 2005
Cast:Cary Elwes, Greg Ellis, Michael Keaton
Director:Hayao Miyazaki
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Pirates
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:violence and some mild language

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Teen, 16 years old Written byTayoEXE May 14, 2012

One of Miyazaki's Finest Masterpieces

I have to really disagree with what these "details" are saying about this film. It is terrific and thought provoking in so many ways, but many of its deep and meaningful themes apparently go over the head of the average critic. Right now I'll get my problems with this site out of the way first. Most of the "positive role models" only appear to be the thoughts of feminists. First, Porco is NOT a cynical womanizer. I don't even know where you would get that idea. It is clearly said and shown that Curtis is more of a womanizer, "falling in love with every girl [he] sees." Fio is not setting out to show a woman can be a hero, but that SHE can be a hero. I won't get into what I think of feminists, but while Fio is a skilled plane architect and really motivates him to do good, Porco is not getting enough attention. Porco is a good role model because the movie portrays his character development to regaining his lost hope in humanity. Porco begins as a bit of a selfish bounty hunter, yet he still genuinely cares about his childhood friend, Gina. To many, it is unclear why Porco, originally known as Marco, became a pig. The movie does an interesting job in a scene in which he tells the story of his final dogfight in World War I. At first, Marco was always shown as an amazing pilot and did not think much about the mortality of war, but as he saw both his comrades, friend, and even the enemy fall, he became disillusioned and lost faith in humanity. He himself said "I'm a pig." He became a pig because he gave up his humanity. Now, throughout the film, it is the goodness of Fio (not the "heroic" efforts) that really show her importance, as it is what allows Porco to finally fight for someone other than himself again. She basically shows that hope is not all lost for humanity, and it is implied in the end that Porco had changed back as Curtis wanted to see his face. Next, violence is really not violent. There is really no blood, even in a fist fight. The rest shows dogfights and grenades, but no one really ever gets hurt except in Porco's flashback to the fall of his comrades, which only shows the planes falling. As this takes place in Italy during Post-WWI times, expect drinking and smoking to be shown. There is no profanity and hardly any offensive language. Maybe "stupid" if you don't like that. There is a mention of "God" and a blessing given, but is used in the proper sense and context. Those who have anything to say against this film about its themes and characters don't understand it. This movie is about finding hope in the world, that there are good people despite the tragedies it undergoes with the horrible nature of war. I would highly recommend parents to try and explain these meanings and themes to their children, especially tweens who may be losing sight of the good in the world. Personally, this is one of my favorite Miyazaki films and films in general. If you have not seen any of Hayao Miyazaki's films, I highly recommend you see the rest of his masterpieces. He accompanies wonderful storytelling with his amazing hand-drawn traditional animation and amazing music composed by Joe Hisaishi. I cannot recommend this movie any higher than I already do.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bypoe-ette November 26, 2011

HECK YAH! GOOD FIGHT SCENE!

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old April 1, 2012

good movie

i luv it! great fight scene, nobody knows what happens to the hero and one of the main female people
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking