(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Porco Rosso)
Doug (vo): Sometimes, a movie needs a pig. That is the only reason I can think that they actually put a pig as the main star of Porco Rosso, a charming little film about a rogue World War I veteran pilot who gets into trouble, flies around, fights off debts as well as air pirates, comes across all sorts of cool characters, and is also a pig. And truth be told, there is pretty much no reason for him to be a pig. I mean, don't get me wrong. I know it's symbolic, it's a curse, it's something that he has to overcome, but, really, if you wrote that out, it would make little to no difference. It's not like My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki where they can do all sorts of cool, big, supernatural things, it's just...he's a guy who happens to be a pig. I just don't get the point of it.
Doug (vo): The film is about a pilot under the same name, who's trying to make a living but is constantly chased down by people he owes money to. He's constantly relaxing at a hotel run by a friend named Gina, and is constantly being bugged by an egotist named Curtis. Along his travels, he gets shot down and needs his plane repaired by his old mechanic friend. But he's not doing much work anymore, so he hands it off to his daughter named Theo. [A caption is shown, saying "Granddaughter...sorry"] Skeptical of her ability, she proves herself to be not only good, but downright brilliant at what she does. Soon, Porco starts to realize she has the same diabolical brain that he does, and start working well off each other and start planning ways to continue their mischievous adventures. But once Curtis challenges him to one final duel, they make a deal. If Porco wins, Curtis will agree to pay off all of his debts, but if he loses, Theo throws herself in as the prize and agrees to marry him. Will Porco's confidence get him through, or will the demons of the past distract him from the bigger goal?
Doug (vo): In many respects, it's much more like the common Miyazaki projects. I mean, true, there is a lot of flying around and gunfire and stuff, but it's not for, say, a war or something on a grand scale like Nausicaa. It's more along the lines of TaleSpin, that kind of stuff. Yeah, there's violence, but it's all kind of playful. The characters, once again, are all really funny and really memorable. The dubbing is very well done, with Michael Keaton as the lead.
Porco: Although not as sexy as that American flyboy. Anyway, I'm off to fix my plane.
Gina: You're in Italy?
Porco: Sorry, baby. Gotta fly.
Gina: You jerk!
Doug (vo): But once again, I just don't get why this character's a pig. In the story, he's cursed because he fled away like a coward. There's sort of a debate at the end whether or not the curse is actually lifted, which I like that. But, I...why a pig? Couldn't you do something a lot imaginative with this? Couldn't he be like a monster with five arms, and that way, you could animate them in a fun way? Couldn't you make him like a giant fly so he can fly around already? Or couldn't you just...I don't know. What can you do with a pig? Even the people around him don't seem to care. They're just like, "Oh, yeah. We know him. He's a pig. Whatever." And like I said, in most Miyazaki projects, that's part of the charm. But here, it just doesn't seem to affect anything. You could just as easily have him be a normal pilot with just a scar on his hand or something, like in Princess Mononoke. The only thing I can figure is maybe they just wanted a little bit more of an identity for the film, like a visual identity. Like, you could look at the poster and be like, "A pig flying? Wha? I'll believe that when pigs fly...oh, wait, yeah. I guess that's the joke." But it just kind of seems like a middle that doesn't have a whole bunch of possibilities. Either make him something really grand or crazy or had what he's cursed with just something very subtle.
Doug (vo): But like I said before, that by no means makes it a bad movie. For all the dogfights and machine gun fire in this, it's actually very, very relaxed. It's just the characters being really charming and working off each other, having pleasant conversations. The writing's decent, the acting's decent, it's all good. I just don't get the main creative choice. But maybe I don't need to, because the film is still a lot of fun regardless. I don't think I like it quite as much as Kiki because, like I said, they do take more advantage of the idea, but still enjoyable and worth seeing at least once. Hell, the animation is so good, maybe it's even worth seeing twice. If you want a film that has a little bit of excitement, a lot of humor, but still at its heart and just kind of laidback, this is definitely a good one to check out.
[A scene showing Porco's plane flying off into the sunset is shown]