Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ace Attorney Review No Objections

I'm going to start off with writing that this film by celebrated and infamous director Takashi Miike is now where as outlandish as his previous work. Ace boils down to a mystery/drama with many comedic undertones being based on the excellent game series Ace Attorney of the same name.

As a fan of the video game series let me say it does capture the essence of the games and the characters you've played with.

The opening was silly enough with a look into the Japanese underworld to solve a crime. I know of different versions of the afterlife in Japanese folklore, but couldn't understand where the dead were hanging out, possibly Hell. A movie where you see an airplane flying through fire and people grudgingly walking in line isn't exactly where you'd expect Ace Attorney to start off.

Luckily, that was just a build up for the overall case, the film really picks up when you see Phoenix at an early case, setting the mood and style of the movie where when you win a case you have confetti thrown up in the air like you've just won a prize. It also establishes the rules of how fast cases are, three days maximum, some cases are so popular you can buy tickets to them like sporting events or concerts. The trials are quite entertaining as two lawyers fighting really act like a stage show as drama unfolds. It doesn't hurt that technology in the Ace Attorney film shows off evidence with holograms that spread  throughout the court room.

The case is around Phoenix Wright, a rookie attorney, losing his mentor, friend and lawyer partner Mia to a murder. Ace has to prove his former partners sister, Maya's innocence and solve and overall murder linked to her partners death. This involves detective work, ghost summoning through Maya, and a bizarre cast of witnesses. It also has Phoenix having to overcome different pompous lawyers like Miles Edgeworth and Franziska von Karma.

(end of spoilers)

Though not as playful as his other work, Miike captures some fun ways on how CSI and detective dramas break down murders and robberies, by going into the past and piecing together visuals with fun CGI animation or memory flashes . What he also brought was the colorful characters and their anime style haircuts to life. All the game characters with their bizarre speech and anime style haircuts are turned real ans believable misfits.

 Where style somewhat offends was Miike's choice for a darker tone movie and I literally mean that. The movie never has very light colors it seems almost like a detective noir setting. I understand how a lot of the movie is dark with murders going on, but the games are light-hearted and more colorful, it just seems like it should have a lighter tone to it.

The movie is predictable, it won't have you on your edge of your seat trying to figure out who did it. I figured out who did it early on, but getting there is quite the ride as witnesses get stranger and stranger and the story gets more convoluted.

You"ll come out wanting the movie to be a series. It be better then and crime drama in America, with more fun with outlandish cases and hologram court room spewing visuals. The movie even shows off some other cases making you pine for a sequel, hopefully there will be one down the road.

August shows the release of the movie in Japan on DVD and Blu-ray, but no word has come out for plans for America. Capcom has shown interest in bringing it to the US, but has told of any real plains just yet. I'm sure it will come out eventually, but no idea who'll be dubbing it. I'd pick New World for how they handles the Gantz series or it might go to Funimation.