05/04/2018

The Castle Of Cagliostro - Hints Of Hayao

Quick Thoughts: Lupin III: The Castle Of Cagliostro (ルパン三世 カリオストロの城, 1979)


A master-thief intent on investigating a massive counterfeit operation comes upon a stolen princess.


The Castle Of Cagliostro is Hayao Miyazaki's first feature-length film, and is, in very many respects, quite an alien pre-Ghibli film. Almost a world apart from Miyazaki's second film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, The Castle Of Cagliostro feels far more like a television show than a film. This would, of course, make complete sense as Miyazaki had worked on many television series throughout the 70s with his first feature-length film emerging from the show Lupin III Part 1 (which itself comes out of a manga) that he directed with Isao Takahata. Miyazaki, after completing The Castle Of Cagliostro, would even direct some episodes of Lupin III Part 2. This would not come as a surprise to anyone as they watch The Castle Of Cagliostro, however, as it bears the logic, plot contrivances and caraicaturisations that you'd expect to come out of an animated television show.

A combination of Fantomas, James Bond and every 'save the princess' story, The Castle Of Cagliostro offers little with its story and characters. Without every other cinematic work of Miyazaki's to look through, The Castle Of Cagliostro would be rather dull and disinteresting. However, seeing glimmers of Miyazaki's cinematic steampunk pseudo-European aesthetic whilst waters gush, light shines through surfaces and land rushes by falling or running characters before lighter elements (water, air) alleviate them of weight, sparks the imagination--and so does picking up on themes of aviation, the environment and noticing even hints of Miyazaki's humour.

Alas, whilst there are these details to find in The Castle Of Cagliostro, it remains only an ok film. Uninspiring and too much like a Saturday morning cartoon, this is enjoyable and well constructed, but ultimately lacks weight and substance.

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