“Gyakuten Saiban” Ace Attorney. Best Videogame To Movie Adaptation?

No GravatarLately when moviegoers and gamers alike talk about great movies based off videogames, most think of Disney’s latest hit. “Wreck it Ralph.” but another movie was released this year, and unfortunately, due to its relatively quiet release in Japan, it didn’t get the appeal it deserved.

Equally, Ace Attorney is a videogame series that had been relatively unknown outside its fandom, but as the character was used on Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it has gained more recognition.

To many of you reading this, it may sound obvious, but with the success of the previously mentioned Disney movie, I believe it is as good a time as any to bring this movie to the masses’ attention.

“Gyakuten Saiban” or rather “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.” as it is known in the West, is the name of a movie released in theaters in Japan on February 2012, and it is probably the most successful adaptation of a videogame to movie medium. Period.

The movie stars our spiky haired attorney (played by Hiroki Narimiya) who begins his career as an attorney in the not so far future, and soon after his first trial, tries to unfold a dark secret involving his close friends, as well as his rival Miles Edgeworth (played by Takumi Saito), and many plot twists await, the sotry is based in the first game in the series, meaning that you probably know what is gonna happen.

The movie may follow the game’s story closely, but takes liberties by shrinking it down to the bare plot essentials, and it follows the game’s humor and atmosphere, which is both its high, and low points, but it succeeds in delivering the most believable setting during its course.

To an usual moviegoer, the movie will seem odd, random, and somewhat lighthearted (specially on character’s deaths), it also gets away with ridiculous plot points from the game that being seen on screen will make people question the writers (a parrot is summoned to the stand)  and the characters themselves seem way too comical for what is supposed to be a courtroom drama, not to mention the movie is a bit too long being over 2 hours long.

On the other hand, to the gamers/fans who want to check the movie out, you will find enough to love, the actors deliver a great performance giving them the personality that matches the characters, crazy antics that in real life may get you banned from the courtroom, (just like in the game) and over the top “Objections” given by both the Defense and Prosecution.

The soundtrack on the other hand is nothing short of amazing, it features orchestrated tracks from the game itself, but add something extra to the movie by becoming dramatic on its performance, helping the mood of the scenes, and bringing out the seriousness of the moment in which it plays.

Here is a trailer:

The movie’s setting is not very open, most of the time is spend on the courtroom, so it doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of variety, a moment Phoenix and his assistant are investigating, the next they are back in court, no surprise as the game does the same thing, and even if the movie tries to add great effects to the courtroom itself, this will still keep many from fully enjoying it.

The only sad thing about this movie, is that it hasn’t gotten enough attention, and as such, it is difficult to find it online, much less find it subtitled, I don’t condone piracy, but if you are intrigued, and you look hard enough, you may just find it hidden somewhere.

In conclusion, this film is great for those who enjoyed the games, as well as those who enjoy quirky, oddball random movies such as this one, Takashi Miike did a fantastic job in directing this, keeping just about enough things to make it at least appealing to casual moviegoers, as well as being loyal to the source material.

Now, if Uwe Boll could take lessons from this talented director…

About - I'm a gamer from a young age, I mostly specialize in Platformers, RPGs, adventure and odd quirky titles that may come stateside.

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