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Jul 13, 2012

Studio Ghibli Marathon - LUPIN THE THIRD: THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO.


Cast: (1st Dub Version)
                                               Bob Bergen, Steve Bulen, Steve Kramer, Edie Mirman, Goro Naya, David Povall, Michael McConnohie, Joan-Carol O'Connell, Mike Reynolds, Jeff Winkless, Kirk Thornton and Juliana Donald.

Directed By:
                         Hayao Miyazaki.


Review:
                Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro is the first movie in my Studio Ghibli Marathon that i watched, though it is not actually a movie by the studio since it was released before the formation alongside Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, i still thought i should watch both of them to get prepared for the Marathon and because they were both directed by the master Hayao Miyazaki. I have been a fan of this animation Studio since i saw Kiki's Delivery Service way back when i was a child and then watching Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and the recent one, Ponyo convinced me of Studio Ghibli being one of the greatest animation studios alongside Pixar and Disney.


               So this movie is based on a TV series featuring the master thief Arsene Lupin III, Miyazaki himself directed a few episodes before making his feature movie debut with this one back in 1979. I had no previous idea about the TV series or the main character but honestly when you watch the movie, it doesn't take a minute before you feel like you know who he is. That is not a bad thing, i mean the guy is a con artist with very James Bond minus gadgets and modern Indiana Jones type of vibe to him. Movie opens with him and Daisuke Jigen, his partner in crime escaping after robbing a casino, they suspect some fraud concerning with the money that leads them to a castle. On their way we suddenly see a young girl dressed in a bridal outfit being chased by a gang of thugs, they help her. Both of them gets knocked down on a cliff Lupin being unconscious wakes up to find the girl left a ring, she is the Princess of Cagliostro and the count wants to marry her for the hidden treasure he will find through his ring and the ring of the princess. So now Lupin III with Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII with some help from Lupin's former lover Fujiko Mine who poses in the castle as princess's caretaker sets of on the quest to rescue the princess, find out about the hidden treasure and more importantly what led them here in the first place, the counterfeits.


                This may not be a significant entry in the Miyazaki's filmography but i highly recommend it to those who haven't seen it before. This is an excellent adventure movie that provides with gleeful cheers of joy, the silliness and guilty pleasure you will find in any heist/spy thriller/adventure movies. As i was watching this movie, i couldn't help but think about the numerous movies inspired by this one and how the movie itself was effected by the pop culture of that time. Lupin III comes off as a very silly, stupid, brainless character with much wittiness and goofiness that makes him quite likable, though he is a con artist, he still has a heart and is very helpful man with great intentions. The way he tries to rescue the princess from the castle is hilarious and very thrilling too, the castle has some state of the art technologies and high security aspects with princess being held in a separate hard to reach tower and that scene where he tries to get to her is just one of the best. From running on the roof to running down the roof, hanging in mid air to falling down here and there, Lupin does know how to entertain. Again, he might be brainless but still got some sense and intelligence to successfully con everyone like he does with the duke who may banishes him down in the depth of castle. The scene at the party comes off as what you might expect in a Hollywood movie and yes the end, just wins your heart.


               This movie may not explore deep, dark, innocence, coming of age themes that truly defined Miyazaki's later work but it in itself is a great fun movie to watch. Very colorful sets and action pieces makes it a good experience, the animation quality definitely feels dated and not as great as his recent works but nevertheless watch it for watch it is. Entertaining and very likable. Give it a try.

Grade: A-