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Happy as a pig in... a plane

Posted at 3:23 PM on March 7, 2006 by Euan Kerr

I have been bouncing on air for much of the day, purely as a result of a meeting with "Porco Rosso."

What an amazing film. Hayao Miyazaki's animated feature about a seaplane fighter pilot laboring under a double curse, (one which has turned him into a pig, and the other of having an ethical heart) is funny, touching, and at some moments, just breathtakingly beautiful.

Set around the Adriatic, in between the two World Wars, there is a simple elegance to the story and how Miyazake tells it.

I remember hearing Neil Gaiman talk about what happened when he was asked to write the English dialog for Miyazake's "Princess Mononoke." He said he was just stunned by how gorgeous some individual images were in that movie. "Porco Rosso" had the same effect on me.

Porco has a secret hideaway in a tiny lagoon where he camps on the beach. He sleeps in a deckchair as the waves lap gently on the sand. I was just SO ready to be there too.

"Porco Rosso" is one of those rare movies that really does work for all ages, with bumbling pirates, slapstick comedy, a romantic love story and some dizzying aerobatics. There is some political philosophy in there too if that's what turns your prop. I think I'll be taking a return trip on the pig's seaplane soon.

March 2006
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