Castle of Cagliostro, The (UK - BD RB)
Marcus takes a technical look at another Miyazaki classic released this month...
The Castle of Cagliostro tells the tale of super-thief Lupin. Beginning with a thrilling heist at a Monte Carlo casino, he discovers the mountain of money he’s stolen is counterfeit. Lupin traces the fake bills to the country of Cagliostro where an evil Count is generating forged money and distributing it worldwide. With partners in tow, Lupin heads to Cagliostro where he also finds a promise of hidden treasure and Clarice, a beautiful princess in need of rescuing from the Count’s dastardly clutches.
Presented in a 1080i transfer, I was expecting the worst with plenty of interlacing issues and an image that would need to be forgiven a lot. I have to say, the interlacing wasn’t a massive issue beyond the odd jagged edge but the fairly poor overall presentation is. The opening credits are just awful with lots of blocking, fuzzy digital noise and an overall grubby look. Thankfully this changes as the film really begins, with bright colours a sharper image and a solid but dated looking appearance. When you look closer however, the image is full of dancing grain, especially in the larger areas of blue sky (which there is a fair bit of). Additionally it’s not the cleanest of prints with plenty of artefacts and flecks showing up on the screen. I haven’t sat down and watched The Castle of Cagliostro since the days of video, so of course the improvements in HD are very much felt and the ageing animated feature is doing well all things considered but this title doesn’t appear to have received the same love as many of the other Miyazaki movies released in HD and it reflects throughout the rest of the disc.
Both the English Mono track and the Japanese 5.1 track feel thin. The Japanese track spreads things a little wider and has a little bit more going on but it’s not really a 5.1 attack like you’d hope for. Watching the film in English (as my kids wanted to see it) I have to say that the mono-ness is very much felt, with tinny sound effects, shrill upper levels and just no real oomph to anything. The dialogue is the best thing about the track as it’s the only element that remains constant throughout, everything else never really sticks to a formula. Gunshots can pierce out of the centre speakers and in the same scene feel lost behind another element. Music can do it’s feel good thing and have a bigger sound to it but then disappear as the volume drops right out. None of this is done in a distracting way but if you’re listening out for the sake of a review, as I was, this is a track that feels distinctly flat and hollow and really ages the film.
Sadly, The Castle of Cagliostro does not get the same treatment as many of the other Miyazaki titles. Gone are any lengthy featurettes or tiny but fun EPKs (mainly due to the fact that this is a pre Studio Ghibli title I guess) and all we get is the picture in picture storyboards and the film’s trailer. Oh, and a DVD copy, mustn't forget that.
The Castle of Cagliostro has never been a film I much liked. It’s still got that wonderful blend of humour, simple yet effective technology and magic that Miyazaki is much loved for in his adventurous outings but this one has always felt a little too zany for my liking. I really struggle to like the characters every time that I watch it, I'm not sure why that is as they aren't massively different from Miyazaki's other creations but I've never really warmed to this bunch. The disc just about gets by on its looks but look closer and the film’s age is showing beneath the pretty boosted colours. The audio is thin and off putting and the extras are only good for those who adore seeing the sketch work storyboards behind their favourite animated films.
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children
Release Date: 12th October 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Japanese, LPCM Mono 2.0 Japanese, LPCM Mono 2.0 English
Extras: Storyboards, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Cast: Yasuo Yamada, Eiko Masuyama, Kiyoshi Kobayashi , David Hayter
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Crime and Drama
Length: 99 minutes
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