Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta) (Studio Ghibli Collection) (1992)

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Released 13-Apr-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Multiple Angles-Alternative Angle Storyboards
Interviews-Crew-Toshio Suzuki (Studio Ghibli Producer)
Trailer-Studio Ghibli Trailers (3)
Reversible Cover
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 93:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (41:49) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hayao Miyazaki
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring ShŻichirŰ Moriyama
Tokiko Kato
Sanshi Katsura
Greg Ellis
Tsunehiko KamijŰ
Akemi Okamura
Akio ‘tsuka
Hiroko Seki
Carey Elwes
Michael Keaton
Case Amaray-Opaque-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music JŰ Hisaishi
Tokiko Kato


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta) is an animated feature from renowned Japanese production company Studio Ghibli. The studio's co-founder and most prolific director, Hayao Miyazaki, is at the helm for what essentially amounts to a fun, romantic, adventurous and decidedly different outing for the famed studio.

††† Marco "Porco" Paggot is a former Italian Air Force pilot who now earns a comfortable living as contract law enforcement in the skies, keeping the Adriatic sea free from ruthless air pirates. Although he is a big hit with the ladies, Porco lives a relatively solitary existence on his island hideaway, basking in the sun and waiting for a call to action. But, there is something that sets him apart from his friends and acquaintances - he is a pig. You see, Porco is the victim of a bizarre curse that took hold after he emerged from a dramatic battle in the air as the only remaining survivor from his squadron. The curse transformed him into a walking, talking pig, but didn't dampen his sense of humour or his love of flying.

††† While heading for much needed repairs his plane is trashed by Curtis, a suave American flyboy rival who also fancies himself as a Hollywood hunk. Without a flyable plane or source of income, Porco is forced to risk returning to his home town Milan, where an arrest warrant has seen him exiled for years. He intends to have his wreckage seen to by Milan's expert aviation mechanic Piccolo, only to discover that Piccolo's young granddaughter Fio is to be in charge of the engineering and restoration. Porco is hesitant to entrust his plane to a woman, but gives her a chance, and soon Piccolo's entire family of women is on the job, including Grandma! When the repairs are done Fio invites herself along for his rematch with the American, and finds herself involved way over her head.

††† This film is particularly special to me, as it marked my first Studio Ghibli experience more than ten years ago. I was struck by the quality of the animation, the adult characters and the sheer romanticism with which aviation was presented. Having finally seen it again after so many years, I still believe it to be an unforgettable piece of work. Director Hayao Miyazaki has crafted an adult story with superb action, a little romance and plenty of humour, making it vastly different from other, more abstract Ghibli films that are fashioned to include a younger audience.

††† As with previous titles in this series, the original Japanese soundtrack is included but the film's English cast is uncredited. Carey Elwes stars as the American pilot Curtis, and Michael Keaton is almost unrecognisable as the lovable Porco. In the case of this film, I feel that the English cast dumbs down the adult tones and comes across a bit cartoon-like, while the Japanese cast are much more natural. For this reason I'd recommend the original Japanese soundtrack without question.

††† Porco Rosso is a superb aeronautical adventure and a magical animated film. It's a little different in comparison to other films from Miyazaki, but that's part of what makes it so special. If you have an interest in animation or good old fashioned story-telling, this is a must.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† In most respects, this video transfer is similar to the other Studio Ghibli films in this collection. As with the other transfers, the picture is sharp and clear, but judging by the identical runtimes between regions this appears to be an NTSC conversion. Fast action and pans across the screen appear a little jerky, and the level of detail isn't quite up to the level of a PAL source. If you step frame by frame there is visible interleaving between frames; in fact a good example of this artefact can be seen if you pause at 2:10. I have stated before that a format conversion is disappointing, as I would much rather a native NTSC transfer that my progressive system can process itself.

††† The transfer is presented in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with 16x9 enhancement. The frame is windowboxed on all sides, presumably to compensate for the overscan applied by most CRT displays. Via my projector and PC the image is surrounded by a thick black border and remains centred.

††† This film is ten years older than The Cat Returns, so it doesn't quite match the cleanliness of that transfer, however it is still very good. The level of sharpness is good considering the transfer source, with plenty of detail evident in the animation. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

††† The colour palette in this film is generally pastel-like, but maintains a great deal of vibrancy. I didn't notice any inconsistencies or faults in colour rendering at all.

††† The original film source is very clean and free of any specs or blemishes. MPEG artefacts are visible on several occasions, but don't extend beyond a mild grain. At 57:09 the combination of fast motion, interleaving and MPEG grain is quite obvious as it disintegrates the sharpness of the picture. As I mentioned above, the interleaving introduced in this DVD transfer is associated with an NTSC conversion. On this occasion I found that the interleaving exacerbated the MPEG compression issues.

††† There are two English subtitle streams available: one normal and another for the hard of hearing. Both are a yellow†font with a black outline, and very easy to read. The hard of hearing subtitles were activated by default on my player, along with the English soundtrack. The English subtitle stream and the English soundtrack differ quite a bit in their translation of the original Japanese. Several European languages are represented in the film, but are not translated by either stream.

††† This disc is dual layered (DVD9 format), with the layer change placed at 41:49 in a silent, still moment. You couldn't ask for a better position in this film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† There are two soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD: both English and Japanese language soundtracks, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (224Kb/s). The default soundtrack is English.

††† The dialogue in both soundtracks is consistent and easy to hear. The ADR and audio sync is as good as you could hope for in an animated film. As I stated above, the original Japanese soundtrack is included but the film's English cast is uncredited. In the case of this film, I feel that the English cast dumbs down the adult tones and comes across a bit childish and cartoon-like, while the Japanese cast are much more natural and mature. For this reason I'd recommend the original Japanese soundtrack without question.

††† The English soundtrack has been mastered at a slightly lower volume in comparison to the Japanese option. Aside from this small difference in level, the soundtracks appear to contain the same panning and use of effects, particularly during the action packed dogfight scenes.

††† Other regions contain stereo soundtracks that are surround-flagged. After manually processing the soundtracks via Pro Logic II, I didn't feel that it enhanced the experience at all in this case.

††† The film's score is by Miyazaki's long-time collaborator JŰ Hisaishi and has a distinctly European feel, focusing on the piano and orchestra. Some passages are light and dream-like, while others add great tension to the airborne action. This soundtrack score is very good, highly memorable and certainly up to the standard of other Ghibli productions.

††† Obviously, there isn't an LFE channel present so there isn't any subwoofer activity to report. The soundtrack isn't particularly bass-heavy either, so there was no spill to speak of.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

††† The main menu page is animated and includes a short piece from the film's score. All the menu pages are 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailers (8:04)

††† A series of very similar trailers for Porco Rosso are played back-to-back with English subtitles. All are presented in 1.85:1, but without 16x9 enhancement.

Multiple Angles-Alternative Angle Storyboards

††† The entire film can be viewed in storyboard form via the angle button on your remote control. A lot of the sketches are simple and some are roughly coloured, but they give an interesting insight into the early stages of this production.

Interview-Toshio Suzuki (Studio Ghibli Producer) (3:29)

††† Toshio offers his thoughts on the director and what makes this film different to Miyazaki's earlier efforts. This interview was made for Nippon Television and is presented in 1.33:1 full frame.

Trailer-Studio Ghibli Collection (3:12)

††† A promo trailer covering the three most recent titles in the Studio Ghibli Collection; The Cat Returns, Porco Rosso and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Reversible Cover Slick

††† As with past Studio Ghibli titles, the cover can be reversed to display an alternate cover with Japanese text.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† The Region 1 NTSC release includes the following:

††† The second Region 1 disc contains the storyboarded film, but I think I prefer having it as an alternate angle. The featurette would be interesting to see, though.

††† I believe the Region 2 NTSC Japanese package is similar in content to the Region 1, but doesn't contain the English featurette of course. Unless you're a French speaker, it would be hard to justify importing this one. On the other hand, an NTSC region won't suffer from the conversion issues we have here. You be the judge.

Summary

††† Porco Rosso is a superb blend of high-flying action, comedy and romance, all tied together by some of the best animation to come out of Studio Ghibli.

††† The video transfer is sourced from an NTSC master and in this case the resulting interleaving appears to encourage minor MPEG compression issues.

††† The audio transfer is comprised of the original Japanese and an English alternative. Both are good and presented in stereo.

††† There are a couple of worthwhile extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Monday, June 06, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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Comments (Add)
Madmen - napalm68
Good review - Pendergast (Why not take a look at my bio, you might think it stinks.)
R1 is worth it for Jean Reno - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Another NTSC->PAL Transfer... - oogi2000
I have to agree about the NTSC->PAL - grug (there is no bio.)