I guess this Lupin film had the capacity to upset some people, since it’s full-on CGI, but for this fan, there were no missteps.
Lupin III: The First (Rupan Sansei Za Fāsuto) 2019
Everything looks fantastic and the translation of 2D characters into CGI works really well. I think that’s in part to the original designs naturally lending themselves to exaggeration, which in turn helps things along when the characters and their stories are adapted to different forms (as I see it, at least).
Having said that, my favourite part was actually the heavy Indiana Jones feel to the story and settings.
Without spoilers, I’ll just note that Nazis and prop planes, deserts, caves and secret treasures, archaeology and mysterious powers do feature in the film enough to evoke that Indiana vibe, without also taking over. It definitely felt like a fond tribute to me, and contains a lot of classic Lupin hi-jinx too, as most of the gang still get to play their parts.
New character Laetitia is a nice contrast to most of the gang, considering her earnest nature, and her ‘grandfather’ is a slimy bastard indeed. Probably a better villain than Geralt the Nazi, actually. (And on that note, it was pretty satisfying to see Hitler as a prop, used as an object of ridicule, a prank to be played on Geralt, and of course, it’s always great to witness the Nazis lose).
(And just quickly, the OST by long-time Lupin composer Yuji Ohno fit perfectly too).
Lupin himself in this film slips into a bit of a mentor-like role at times, offering as much advice to Laetitia as he does quips to everyone else. I guess you could argue that other cast members could use a bit more screen-time, but that’s not a small task, considering the large cast and a running time of a single film.
Most definitely recommended for fans of the franchise, and possibly perhaps even for sceptics of CGI… so long as you’re also a fan of Indiana Jones, perhaps.