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Monday, May 16, 2011

Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro - 1979

For the third part of my marathon I will be reviewing Hayao Miyazaki's first film, Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro. I personally think out of Miyazaki's films, and the animation world in general, that this is a terribly underrated and overlooked film. Unlike most animated films that tend to be geared toward children, The Castle of Cagliostro packs humor, action, and brilliant writing into one entire film, that makes it completely unique from any other animated film I have seen. Don't get me wrong, it is far from perfect, but the Castle of Cagliostro is a fun movie, that lets you relax and enjoy the show.

Lupin the third, along with his good friend Jigen, are well known and wanted thieves as they just finished robbing a casino. But just after they steal all of the money, and believe they are rich, Lupin realizes it is all fake, giving him an idea for their next job. While they are driving Lupin and Jigen stumble across a bride that is running from some thugs, and Lupin saves the bride, Clarice from them, only to have her run away without explanation of the events taking place. However, Carlice left Lupin her glove which contained a ring inside that he recognized. This leads to the castle of Cagliostro, where many unknown secrets to the world are held.

First off let me get this straight, I did not at all expect to like this film as it is rarely reviewed or talked about, ad when it is people seem to think it is just OK. But I personally loved every minute of The Castle of Cagliostro. The story is nothing special, just your average adventure tale, but the fantastic writing brings this film up to more than it ever should have been. The script is incredible, especially coming from Lupin, it may have a few cheesy moments, and that is something I never care for, but other than that the writing is perfect. The character development could have been stronger, but in such a film as this that is not that big of a deal. For a comparison, think of Ocean's Eleven animated, but better.

There really is not much for me to say about the acting, I have nothing to praise and nothing to criticize, everyone in the film was just good, not great. But what I loved was the characters written by Maurice Leblanc. Lupin is the classic thief that everyone falls in love with in films, and Clarice is perfectly innocent. I can tell that Leblanc spent a long time working with the characters, and it pays off big time for the film here.

The animation was, as always, fantastic. Though I must admit, compared to some of Miyazaki's visual delights, it was a slight let down, I guess you would say. Unlike most of Miyazaki's films, the animation does not carry the film, it is undeniably very good, but that is all it is. The animation is no feast for the eyes, and it is not spectacular, it is just a very well animated film, nothing more.

Overall, The Castle of Cagliostro, is not one of my favorite Miyazki films, as the story has no depth to it. But the brilliant writing takes it and makes the film unusually good. If you think Shrek is a funny animated film, watch this, it makes Shrek look like a movie for five year olds. Though The Castle of Cagliostro is probably a film more for older ages, and I loved that. Entertaining, funny, well written, these are things that describe master animator Hayao Miyazaki's first film.

Story: 7/10
Writing: 9/10
Acting: 7/10
Direction: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Final Rating: 7.8/10


  1. Funny that you should say its like Oceans 11, I remeber this from a long time ago on video, i really should see it again.

    Nice review Matt

  2. Yeah, they are not really similar, but sort of the same idea I guess. You should definitely watch it again. Thanks Jesse!