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Having watched all of Miyazaki's films multiple times, I can safely declare that he is rather decidedly not over appreciated. Few artists, in film or otherwise, are as compassionate and humane, as witty and intelligent - or responsible for as many consistently delightful, endlessly creative works - as Miyazaki.
If anything, he's under appreciated, since there are still too many people of the "animated films can't be as good or serious or thoughtful as live action films" school of thought, when, in reality, several of Miyazaki's films (including this one) deserve to be listed among the greatest of all films.
I still want to know why a hog is romancing Italian aristocrats.
This is certainly the most fun, yet classy Ghibli film ever made.
The story is simple but the execution is flawless, everything from the humour, the characters, the music and flashbacks work together to create something you grow to deeply care about.
Marco and Fio are such likeable guys, I was in sheer awe watching Fio talk down the Pirates. That is one scene no one is likely to ever forget. She is a gorgeous little heroine, really spunky and loveable. She definitely enhances the story hugely.
I think the romance that is tingling at the outskirts is handled cleverly and just enough to have impact. Gina is a really great Ghibli female.
The story of Marco is a very special and mysterious one. The standout scene is where Fio is sleeping and he tells her a story. It is one of the most moving and profound parts of the entire film and undoubtedly one of the most important scenes from any Ghibli.
Moving on from the serious side. The humour shines. Porco Rosso is incredibly funny and well written. I can't count how many times I laughed out loud watching this. The fight has me rolling on the floor, it is absolutely fantastic.
The music is so upsetting and stunning here. The piano pieces and vocal tunes really bring me to tears every time I hear them. I finished watching my Blu-ray just now and when the end credits began, I was practically crying.
So all in all, I believe this may be my favourite Ghibli ever. It gets better every time I see it. It is a restrained piece of work but it constantly gives you what you want (case in point, the ending). Amazing.
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Currently in 4 official lists, but has been in 6