In early 1930’s era Italy, air pirates, bounty hunters and high fliers of all sorts rule the skies. The most cunning and skilled of these pilots is Porco Rosso. A former Ace, he now makes a living flying contract jobs, such as rescuing those kidnapped by air pirates. Donald Curtis, Porco’s rival in the air and in catching the affections of women, provides a constant challenge to the hero, culminating in a hilarious, action packed finale.
Each Studio Ghibli movie is just as good, if not better than the the one before it! They all work as family movies, but they seem to range in target audience; Porco Rosso is decidedly more adult with it’s themes of love and loneliness. Yet, the animation is still bright and colorful, with dim witted pirates and feisty girls and a good dose of comedy.
The movie shows the tension present in Italy before the outbreak of WWII and discusses the treatment of women at that time. There is also a lot about planes with many awesome flying scenes.The plot involves many air battles, between Porco and the pirates as well as the American Donald Curtis whose dreams of fame and fortune include beating Porco in the air.
Porco is a very gruff character, resigned to his fate as a pig, and lives on a tiny island in isolation. He loves women and drink and frequently deals with the likes of pirates. However, beneath the tough outer shell is a warm heart. The other main character is Fio, a young aviation engineer who is stubborn, smart and optimistic.
Porco Rosso reminds us of the transformative powers of love and forgiveness and the need to sometimes shake up routine. This all culminates nicely in the ending which is left slightly mysterious.