TL;DR – flying pigs never looked so attractive
All lovers of Japanese anime must see this movie. A tale for all ages, I found this to be a wonderful surprise on a late Saturday night filled with adventure, beautiful animation, moving music, simple but intricately woven story-line and colourful characters that will delight both adults and children. Director Hayao Miyazaki is a magician and conjures a film that rivals his other great works such as Tonari no Totoro, Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
The story follows the adventures of Marco, an ex-WWI flying ace turned freelance bounty hunter who flies a gorgeous, bright red, single engine, fighter seaplane. Oh and he’s a pig, or rather an anthropomorphic pig, due to some strange, mysterious curse.
He encounters all sorts of delightful characters all helping or hindering him in his search for the meaning as to why he was a man who became a pig. Along the way the many forms of love and friendship (including between foes/rivals) are explored and by the closing credits I found myself wanting to see more but understanding that the conclusion was as it should be. In fact, I daresay the ending is near perfect.
Story-telling is an art form, and Miyazaki has it in spades. He also has an attention to detail that many viewers take for granted when watching an animated film. For example, the vapor trails from the airplane fight scenes, the architecture of the European cities Marco visits, the mood lighting when Gina sings her forlorn song in the bar at the Hotel Adriano, and the black and white film that Marco watches in a theatre where he liaises with Ferrarin (an old comrade). All these details lend to the feel and atmosphere that can be compared to real life films like Casablanca and Roman Holiday.
A movie to see with a great big bucket of popcorn or loads of ice-cream while buried under a doona or thick blanket. Wonderful to contemplate by yourself or watch with family or friends. I recommend this for people of all ages.
10 out of 10.