I bought a copy of Porco Rosso for my three sisters, aged 10 to 14, and was surprised to discover that it was sold out nearly everywhere. I'm glad to see this great movie slowly find an audience in America. It deserves one.
Doesn't this movie remind you of Casablanca? It carries a very similar tone, with a cynical, middle-aged hero who has given up on humanity, his comedic romantic rival, the emotionally-conflicted woman, and the rise of fascism across Europe. For Miyazaki, this is among his most personal films. His love of aviation is fully indulged, and he shows off his knowledge of airplanes with great glee. And Marco is his self-portrait; the youthful idealist who was become disillusioned with the world of men, but still maintains his faith in romance and love.
And what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?
Porco Rosso is loaded with slapstick comedy, and the use of large groups of people reminds you of Blake Edwards comedies. It's all fused brilliantly with the excellent action scenes, which are wisely kept to a minimum. The real conflict is between these characters, and inside themselves. Cynical Marco, boastful Curtis (doesn't he remind you of Errol Flynn?), faithful-yet-sad Gina, and young firebrand Fiola. It's all about them, and their own search for freedom in a world steadily closing in.
This is more of an adult film than, say, My Neighbor Totoro, but since all of Miyazaki's movies carry a more mature sense than our cheesy American cartoons, I can't see why the whole family couldn't enjoy this. Then again, I think kids should be shown Bicycle Thieves and Casablanca.