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Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro

Title: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
Original title: Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Written by: Maurice Leblanc, Tadashi Yamazaki, Hayao Miyazaki, Monkey Punch
Year: 1979

Watching early Miyazaki is in many ways different from watching more recent productions, but still very pleasant. In The Castle of Cagliostro, the master thief Lupin visits the small country of Cagliostro to unravel a mystery surrounding counterfeit money and a vast treasure from the Middle Ages. He also sets out to rescue the beautiful lady Clarisse from the seemingly impenetrable castle, all done in a most colourful and ingenious manner.

The story is fairly straightforward and includes a lot of action and quick-paced dialogue, often of the funnier sort. This is really what makes it worthwhile, since there is little else. Lupin is a pretty entertaining character and the hilarious tinge which pervades the film changes it from being superficial and boring to being superficial and humorous.

One of Miyazaki’s trademarks is that he is almost always able to instill inspiration and contribute to my creative output in some way, albeit indirectly most of the time, but sadly, this is not true for this film. Scenery, story and characters are net original enough to please me. However, I recommend it if you want to enjoy a fairly light-weight action film, sprinkled with roguish humour, but there are many other films by Miyazaki that I am more inclined to recommend, Spirited Away being my favourite.

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  1. thark’s avatar

    Apart from not necessarily considering Miyazaki’s own films always Studio Ghibli’s best (though Cagliostro predates the formation of Ghibli)–as a Lupin III afficionado, I don’t consider Cagliostro one of the stronger movies (though admittedly probably the best of the early crop).

    Admittedly, watching just one is like watching just one J√∂nssonligan or James Bond movie. Entertaining in its own right, but a lot of the pleasure comes from the familiarity of the characters. Fujiko brings up a new scheme–and you’re waiting to see how she’s going to betray them this time. Goemon confronts an obstacle–you’re gleefully anticipating the good ol’ “I’ve cut something unworthy”.


  2. Snigel’s avatar

    How fortunate to have someone like you among my acquaintances! I have no difficulties imagining that what you say is true, and I am fairly interested in watching more. What other Lupin films would you recommend?


  3. thark’s avatar

    Let’s see, it’s been a while since I saw any, so they blend together a bit, but…

    I recall Fuma Conspiracy as memorable (particularly for the carchase through a bathhouse). Also, Liberty Crisis (stealing the Statue of Liberty is about as epic as it gets), Die! Nostradamus!, Tokyo Crisis…

    Disclaimer: I make no guarantee as to the accuracy of these recommendations. :-)