Monday, June 25, 2012

The Castle Of Cagliostro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1979) Review

For those not familiar with the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, he is a visionary in animated films. The founder of the fantastic animation company Studio Ghibli. Studio Ghibli is behind some of the best animated films around including the likes of Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro. Hayao Miyazaki is the mastermind behind alot of the best Ghibli films but there were a few that he did before he ever set up Studio Ghibli...this is one of them. Based on the popular anime/manga series Lupin III, The Castle Of Cagliostro is Lupin's first feature length film and with a legendary creative mind at the helm, I think its time to take a look (and for the sake of it, this is the Streamline English Dub I am reviewing).

After a recent successful casino break in, Arsene Lupin III/Wolf (Bob Bergen) and Daisuke Jigen (Steve Bulen) discover that the money they have stolen from the casino is counterfeit. After getting rid of their money, the get caught up in a car chase involving some henchmen going after Lady Clarisse d'Cagliostro (Joan-Carol O'Connell). Having fought off the henchmen, Lupin learns where the money came from after they discover the European duchy of Cagilostro. The Count of Cagliostro (Michael McConnohie) is holding Clarisse prisoner so that he can marry her and learn the secret behind Cagliostro. With the help of Jigen, the samurai master Goemon (Steve Kramer), the sexy theif Fujiko (Edie Mirman) and bitter rival Inspector Zenigata (David Povall), Lupin must save Clarisse and discover the secret behind Cagliostro for himself.

This film is one hell of an experience. I've always loved adventure films and this is one of the reasons why. The many mysteries that are uncovered are thrilling and makes for a great, well-paced narrative. I'm not a regular of the Lupin III franchise but having watched this, I would gladly be one. The Castle Of Cagliostro opens up the world of Lupin III to many people and there are plenty of reasons why. The thrill and adventure is the biggest reason. This is easily Lupin's greatest adventure and it all comes together nicely with one hell of a climax. Every character met plays a big part in the film. I direction this film took by taking a franchise and turning up the epicness to 11!

The Castle Of Cagliostro is a revolutionary film. Sure, it may not seem like it at first but it's had a bigger affect on the film industry then you may think. The most obvious one is easily the increase interest of Japanese anime films specifically ones made by Studio Ghibli. The more subtle ones are the influence on great directors. The car chase featured in the beginning of the film is regarded as the greatest car chase in film history by the likes of Steven Spielberg (who even claims it's one of the best adventure films ever) so clearly there is a reason to see this film.

The Castle Of Cagliostro is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite animated film of all time and it would consider it the best too. It looks fantastic (as is standard with Studio Ghibli) and the voice acting (in the version I watched anyway) is great. The action is nothing short of exceptional and it's clear to see why people like Spielberg like it so much. Sure, it took away the adult humour from the main series but that makes it much more enjoyable. A worthy loss as it no doubt made room for more development of story and character. I'm done. I'm taken away by this tremendous masterpiece. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend you watch it as soon as possible, you will not be disappointed. It's hands down my favourite film of all time (big thing to say but, hey).

The best animated film I have ever seen and my favourite film. A true masterpiece.

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