The character of Arsène Lupine has had a fascinating fictional life. Appeared in 1905 in the magazine Je sais tout , it is the fruit of the fertile imagination of Maurice Leblanc. This Norman hero was the delight of publishers until 1941, date of the death of its creator and the end of the series of books. He will then begin a second editorial career in Japan when the manga artist Monkey Punch creates Lupine III (alias Edgar de la cambriole in French) grandson of the great burglar. The paper success attracted the attention of Japanese television stations, which produced between 1971 and today no less than seven series and 30 television films.
The arrival of the series on the big screen is not long with a 1 st feature film in 1978. A first apotheosis comes in 1979 with the release of Castle of Cagliostro directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki (who had previously worked in the first half of the first series). Like a phoenix, the prince of burglars has stood the test of time with nearly ten feature films produced since. Illustration with the release of the last film of 2019, a daring, generous and pleasant modernization of the character.
Lupine III: the first and the adventurers of the lost journal
During the 1960s, Lupine and his acolytes Goemon and Jigen traveled to Paris to steal Bresson's diary. This room contains the secret work of an archaeologist who was killed by the Nazis for refusing to collaborate with them. Between the pages nestles the location of the eclipse, a powerful artifact. Obviously, the object arouses many desires. First, that of Fujiko, an expert thieves, competitor and sometimes partner of Lupin. That of Laetitia, then, a young student who is fascinated by Bresson. And also, that of Inspector Zénigata from Interpol, still on Lupine's footsteps. Finally, that of former Nazis determined to restore the Reich.
Lupine then finds himself embroiled in a story much more complex than a simple treasure hunt. He quickly discovers that his ancestor is intimately linked to this diary and that the young and pretty Laetitia is hiding a dark secret. Faced with difficult choices, not knowing who to believe, the cunning burglar relies on his fearlessness and his team to break the secret of the diary.
Lupine III: the first. A perfect technical demonstration
Thanks to Eurozoom for allowing us to admire this new iteration of the character. Because Takashi Yamazaki, the director of the feature film, a master in 3D computer graphics, has decided to give the series a facelift. All his film is made in 3D synthetic images. A daring bet, risky but brilliantly taken up. His work will dazzle you from the first seconds: elasticity of the characters, textures, sets. Everything exudes technical mastery. The visual effects teams deliver a work without false notes. Urban scenes, interiors, chases form the setting in which Lupin's colorful universe unfolds.
Because, in addition to the beauty of the sets, the film responds perfectly to the other requirement of this universe: dynamism. The Lupine III spirit is adventure without limits. Chases, exotic landscapes, permanent action, twirling fights. The film of barely 1 hour 30 goes quickly, transports us on land, on sea, on different continents. The animation must follow and does it perfectly. Everything is fluid, readable, nervous, colorful. Whether for urban scenes, aerial combat or barehanded confrontation scenes. The film does not lose its energy.
We even admire the director's ability to perfectly manage the different tones: action, comedy, drama. The work on the faces is so familiar to perfection as we can identify their characters from the first glance: Fukijo the extravagant opportunist, Goemon the stuck samurai, Jigen carries him disillusioned gun. The whole forms a production of very high quality allowing to enter full foot in history.
An uninhibited pulp story
If the film goes so well, so quickly, it is because it is based on a terribly endearing atmosphere. This Lupine III feeds on multiple references from popular culture that have been fully assimilated. Indeed, the multiple story first of all winks at Indiana Jones. Nazi antagonist archaeologist, a secret base, while the cocktail of the 1 st film in the saga is taken to give an epic. The 3 rdopus is moreover almost entirely quoted through the tests to reach the eclipse. A visible loan but which goes well. Let us also underline the role of music. The sometimes jazzy, sometimes distressing, sometimes nostalgic composition ideally accompanies this archaeological quest a bit like that of John Williams in The Cursed Temple .
The film is also inspired by a second popular figure: Tintin. On the one hand, the universe of the character of Hergé nourishes the impression of permanent adventure. As in the best adventures of the intrepid reporter, you will witness aerial stunts, incredible rescues, twists and turns. Tintin's influence is also found in the construction of emotion. This is based on the relationship between Lupine and his team. A family that does not say its name, as in its time Tintin and its adventure partners. The sweet and funny household scenes, the constant complicity underline the strength of their links.
The film also likes to use the figure of James Bond. He portrays us a Lupine worthy of Agent 007: effective in combat, charmer, endowed with unpredictable gadgets. He is always one step ahead. With in addition a dose of humor sometimes daring (the photograph of Hitler!), The art of the good word in the pure spirit of pulp. Moreover, at times one wonders if the director has not also seen OSS 117 by Michel Hazanavicius as he makes fun of the Nazis without limits. Takashi Yamazaki thus builds a solid narrative supported by a protean hero, modern at the crossroads of archetypes.
Lupine III: the first . A film too short
Generous, funny, beautiful, the qualities of this feature film are not lacking. However, at the end of the viewing he lacks something to come and equal Myazaki's film. We can first underline a small flaw in the narration: the “deus ex machina”. If this is an integral part of the Lupine spirit, some rescues are a bit forced and should have been brought more subtly.
We can also regret that the plot focuses on its main plot and leaves out important secondary elements: the role of Lupin's ancestor, how the newspaper was lost for so long, how Interpol was he had knowledge of the maneuvers of the neo-Nazis? The story opens many doors on Lupin's ancestor and leaves unanswered questions: did he survive the riddles, why did he leave… Questions that may serve as the basis for another film ..
However, these remarks are not enough to tarnish a more than positive overall impression. Lupine III The first has a charm, an energy, a mastery that gives hope for a bright future for the franchise.