Sunday, February 16, 2014

FROM THE ASHES: Segment #20

That Darn Pig

   This is one of the most charming of the Miyazaki films. A fantastical story of love; a love of the skies, and romance. This 1992 feature film is based on a three part manga written by Miyazaki himself. A unique feature of this film is its setting in a believable world, making it just about possible for it to have occurred in the real world, save for a cursed hero and a light-hearted attitude towards piracy. I have to say, it's a thrill to have Joe Hisaishi on the score again, and Toshio Suzuki on production. With both subtle and overt tones of war and political strife, this film had a bit of controversy wrapped up around it due to the war in Yugoslavia at the time, and some of its old time ideologies. So let's jump right in.

   My goodness, the score! This is one of the most uplifting scores that match its visuals perfectly. There's also a lot of silent expositional moments as well, but they all serve the film well. Very beautiful film indeed. While in some instances this film is a over romanticized look on wartime, it also retains a certain quality of darker tones in the background. Another notion in this film that I sometimes find irksome is its constant references to females announcing that they are females. The " it's because I'm a woman!" tagline gets a bit in your face sometimes, in my opinion. At the same time, this film does a good job of showing women as strong of mind and body as engineers and builders. The strong female is prevalent in many of Miyazaki's films, but here I feel it's rather diluted in comparison to some of his stronger female characters. Still, this film has its many charms as well. With warm and bright colors, even the darker elements of the story seem to fade away to the background. This film is one of those that I feel could have been a series filled with many more adventures, and a long-standing tale of great romance. This film is also a lovely tribute to aviation, which as one may notice, Miyazaki is a large fan of. Every single one of his films has a flight scene. The cast performances here are subtle, but noteworthy. The Japanese cast I think it's okay, but I personally love the English cast here. And an all star cast it is! This film stars Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, Brad Garrett, and Kevin Michael Richardson. While I wouldn't go so far as to call this my favorite of Miyazaki's films, I still recommend it for fans of planes, wartime dramas, classic romance, with nods to slapstick humor. While the mystery of Porco Rosso's curse eludes us, there's no doubt as to why people find this film so charming. Memorable characters, a classic film feel, beautiful scenery and the sensation of flight, all add up to a great work of art. Hope you enjoy!

From The Ashes, V.~

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