Lupin III: The First (M) - 93 minutes
A fast-moving, rollicking adventure, Lupin III: The First concerns history linked back to the Nazi era.
Lupin III is a cheeky, audacious master thief out to get his hands on an invaluable diary distinguished by an elaborate clockwork mechanism on its facia.
But he and his cronies are not the only ones after it.
The diary is up for auction, but Lupin sends an audacious message informing the auctioneers that he will steal it from under their noses.
At the last moment one of the young guards, Laetitia, does the unthinkable and claims it for herself.
A distinguished student of archaeology, her motive is to assist her grandfather, a professor who has spent his whole life trying to unlock the mysteries contained within the diary.
Not a blood relative, he rescued Laetitia from an orphanage, however he is not a nice man.
In fact, far from it. He treats her with disdain.
All she wants is to attend the most prestigious archaeological university in the world in Boston.
To do so, she needs his imprimatur and that requires her to assist him in his scheming ways.
Laetitia’s real heritage is revealed as the movie opens up, as is Lupin III’s, whose endeavours are linked with Laetitia’s – the pair realising they can help one another.
With Interpol on their tail, they are in for many narrow escapes as their hunt appears tied to the reawakening of the notorious Third Reich.
The Lupin III franchise started in 1967 and has since spanned a variety of manga, TV, game, theme park rides and musical adaptations.
Twists aplenty distinguish this head-spinning animated feature, written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki, with English adaptation by Richard Epcar.
While I can’t say all of the convolutions and permutations made sense, I learned quickly the best way to enjoy what was presented was to go with the flow.
After all, we are speaking of a flight of fancy.
One thing I found difficult to forgive was the presentation of the character of Lupin III as a forever smirking goofball.
I found myself wanting to slap that smirk off his face.
There’s a lot happening here ... most of the time and you’ve got to keep your wits about you to keep up.
Except, and I found this rather strange, when there are moments of silence in a number of scenes – no sound, just pictures. I don’t get why and to me that jarred.
Nor did I particularly care for the extreme representation of the grandfather.
He could still have been a bad guy without what I considered the aberrant behaviour.
And the third act tended to drag.
Still, there is enough in Lupin III: The First to keep teenagers engaged.
Rated M, Lupin III: The First scores a 6½ out of 10.