Thursday, September 27, 2007

Castle of Cagliostro

So on Wednesday Fathom Events had a special screening of one my favorite anime films, Castle of Cagliostro. Yes, it's a Lupin III film but more importantly it was co-written and directed by the awesome Hayao Miyazaki. The film may be old (1979) but it's definitely worth watching. What I really like is how you can know next to nothing about Lupin III and still enjoy the film, which is quite different from nearly every film based on an anime TV series these days. (The Naruto films are pretty much just "let's take 1-2 of the most popular characters and make a film starring them and Naruto.") I suppose some Lupin III fans object to Lupin's somewhat sappy portrayal (he's much more pre-Leia Han Solo in the TV series) in this film and that's definitely valid. That still doesn't mean this film isn't awesome though.

The film reminds me of films such as The Goonies and National Treasure. It's an adventure film that focuses on finding a treasure but at heart it's a character driven story. These kind of films usually end up being really goofy and campy (see the above examples) but there's a certain undeniable appeal to them. A story like this works out a lot better in anime than in live action because of the lack of realism. There are certain sequences of National Treasure where one's suspension of disbelief is sorely tested. (I guess I should say the same for the Goonies, but I saw that film as a kid and thus I truly believed that anyone my age could survive death traps as long as they had a group that included a fobby Asian kid with crazy gadgets. )

All the ridiculous sequences of Castle of Cagliostro work a lot better simply because it's an animated film. It's hard for me to imagine the sequence where Lupin drives up the side of a mountain being plausible in a live action work. I'm apprehensive about the rumored live action Lupin because I feel the characters and typical plot are so well suited for an animated series. (Though I'm interested to see who would be cast as Lupin and Fujiko.)

Regardless of my musings, I enjoyed watching the film on the big screen and I hope to see more anime classics brought to the big screen...or maybe just the Naruto films, because as much I make fun of them I'd totally watch them on the big screen. Believe it!

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