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Ace Attorney Reviews

Page 1 of 3
Cinema-Maniac
Cinema-Maniac

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2014
Capcom's "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney" video game franchise has a small, but devoted fan base. The game themselves are known for being strong adventure games, having great presentation, music, and dialog, while at the same time criticized for being too linear, lacking replayability, and little in the way of innovation with each installments. What makes this adaptation questionable is this being director Takashi Miike second video game film adaption. His first was "Yakuza: Like A Dragon" which as a fan of the Sega franchise nailed the look, but failed in the story department. For Ace Attorney, Miike learns from some of his past mistakes to craft a decent film that can appeal to both fans of the video game franchise and the uninitiated.

Ace Attorney plot follows rookie Defendant Phoenix Wright, as he tackles a series of cases that slowly unfurl to reveal a twisted plot that stretches back several years ago. One thing that translates to the big screen successfully are it court cases and mysteries. As the further it moves along the more plot thickens while keeping you guessing. Throwing you off with twists and short usage of light supernatural elements. In the opening, we see a women being possessed and get introduced to a character be possessed by ghosts for a job profession whose only in used whenever it plot needs a push. Court trials are always high in creativity. Without being set into the real world trials are depicted like large sport events with a highly reactive crowd, CRT monitors that show evidence with holograms, and the varied personality of the witnesses. These trails session bring to center all the evidence gathered for a battle of wits between attorneys that goes back and forth in whose favor the case is in. Having five court cases these kind of scenes supply the film finest moments of writing even if some odd elements are in play. The weakest area is characterization being slim. Some backstory is given on why Phoenix Wright became an attorney and the relation between some of his friends. However, such moments become buried as the film thickens the mystery and court cases it forgets about its characters. They are likable characters, but not won't leave as much of an impression as the court cases and mysteries do.

Takashi Miike is very faithful to the visuals of the game while making necessary changes. This is the very reason for one of the film's most obvious additions, the holographic evidence windows. Ostensibly made to emulate the game's court record, they do far more by creating a way to make even the most mundane piece of evidence exciting and engaging. They also serve to set the time period, with comically large CRT monitors being used in flashbacks. Everything from the game is captured from the clothing, the locations, down to the varied hairstyles. The distinguishing hairdos get embellished right out of the realm of the possible, and are even used for some of the best jokes. But despite the spoofy approach the drama surrounding these characters still gets treated with a lot of respect, and the film retains a lot of heart because of that. Hiroki Narimiya gives a terrific comedic performance underneath the awesomely aerodynamic haircut. He creates a great contrast between a look that's supposed to evoke the slick, confident attorney and the knowledge that he is in way over his head. Akiyoshi Naako is a good foil as Wright's junk-dealer friend Larry Butz, while Takumi Saito plays Phoenix's opposite number as an ideal combination of smugness and dedication. There are a lot of other great little supporting turns, too, from Mirei Kiritani's charming Maya to Mitsuki Tanimura's brash Lotta Hart and Ryo Ishibashi's intimidating Von Karma. Music wasn't one of traits that translated into the adaptation. Granted they adds a lot in making courts trails far more exciting than most films do, but aren't as memorable for most tracks go for being loud over having a building rhythm.

Ace Attorney translates the video game series onto the big screen emulating the appeal of the series. Not only does it closely resemble the game series visuals, but also written in a way that will satisfy fans of the game and is accessible for newcomers. It's a step forward for video adaptations that shows respect to both the material and its fan base without alienating its audience.
September 6, 2012
A lot of positives and negatives with this one, on the positive side it was great to see the story of the first game again. It was pretty funny and the story was still as awesome as the first time. On the bad side the actor selection was just terrible, almost no one looked like they should have. An animated movie would have been a lot better. Also I would have loved to get a brand new story but oh well. Still probably a little better than I expected.
July 12, 2014
The games were great but going past that with a movie and musical is a good example of doing more that you can with a franchise. Unfortunately the lovable characters in the game cant really be captured in live action.
Cinema-Maniac
Cinema-Maniac

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2014
Capcom's "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney" video game franchise has a small, but devoted fan base. The game themselves are known for being strong adventure games, having great presentation, music, and dialog, while at the same time criticized for being too linear, lacking replayability, and little in the way of innovation with each installments. What makes this adaptation questionable is this being director Takashi Miike second video game film adaption. His first was "Yakuza: Like A Dragon" which as a fan of the Sega franchise nailed the look, but failed in the story department. For Ace Attorney, Miike learns from some of his past mistakes to craft a decent film that can appeal to both fans of the video game franchise and the uninitiated.

Ace Attorney plot follows rookie Defendant Phoenix Wright, as he tackles a series of cases that slowly unfurl to reveal a twisted plot that stretches back several years ago. One thing that translates to the big screen successfully are it court cases and mysteries. As the further it moves along the more plot thickens while keeping you guessing. Throwing you off with twists and short usage of light supernatural elements. In the opening, we see a women being possessed and get introduced to a character be possessed by ghosts for a job profession whose only in used whenever it plot needs a push. Court trials are always high in creativity. Without being set into the real world trials are depicted like large sport events with a highly reactive crowd, CRT monitors that show evidence with holograms, and the varied personality of the witnesses. These trails session bring to center all the evidence gathered for a battle of wits between attorneys that goes back and forth in whose favor the case is in. Having five court cases these kind of scenes supply the film finest moments of writing even if some odd elements are in play. The weakest area is characterization being slim. Some backstory is given on why Phoenix Wright became an attorney and the relation between some of his friends. However, such moments become buried as the film thickens the mystery and court cases it forgets about its characters. They are likable characters, but not won't leave as much of an impression as the court cases and mysteries do.

Takashi Miike is very faithful to the visuals of the game while making necessary changes. This is the very reason for one of the film's most obvious additions, the holographic evidence windows. Ostensibly made to emulate the game's court record, they do far more by creating a way to make even the most mundane piece of evidence exciting and engaging. They also serve to set the time period, with comically large CRT monitors being used in flashbacks. Everything from the game is captured from the clothing, the locations, down to the varied hairstyles. The distinguishing hairdos get embellished right out of the realm of the possible, and are even used for some of the best jokes. But despite the spoofy approach the drama surrounding these characters still gets treated with a lot of respect, and the film retains a lot of heart because of that. Hiroki Narimiya gives a terrific comedic performance underneath the awesomely aerodynamic haircut. He creates a great contrast between a look that's supposed to evoke the slick, confident attorney and the knowledge that he is in way over his head. Akiyoshi Naako is a good foil as Wright's junk-dealer friend Larry Butz, while Takumi Saito plays Phoenix's opposite number as an ideal combination of smugness and dedication. There are a lot of other great little supporting turns, too, from Mirei Kiritani's charming Maya to Mitsuki Tanimura's brash Lotta Hart and Ryo Ishibashi's intimidating Von Karma. Music wasn't one of traits that translated into the adaptation. Granted they adds a lot in making courts trails far more exciting than most films do, but aren't as memorable for most tracks go for being loud over having a building rhythm.

Ace Attorney translates the video game series onto the big screen emulating the appeal of the series. Not only does it closely resemble the game series visuals, but also written in a way that will satisfy fans of the game and is accessible for newcomers. It's a step forward for video adaptations that shows respect to both the material and its fan base without alienating its audience.
March 4, 2014
Possibly the best Video Game adaptation ever translated to film!
October 17, 2013
While the costuming seems a little goofy and there's many moments where I just went "What?", Ace Attorney is a surprisingly good video game adaptation with an intriguing story and some genuinely funny moments.
August 10, 2013
tries too hard to be too serious. would have worked better as an animated film, that way all the cartoony-ness of the game and especially the music could have been better utilized.
July 18, 2013
Albeit far too serious than it's inspiration, Ace Attorney is the greatest video game movie ever made. However, only watch it if you're ready for it's length and knowing that it is really a silly movie.
October 10, 2012
A review from an avid Ace Attorney fan. *note: I watched the original Japanese version with translated subtitles* To start off, this film is based on the original GBA version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and doesn't feature the popular "Rise from the Ashes" episode introduced in the DS re-release (in fact, the movie mostly only focuses on the second and forth episodes of the first game; the first and third episodes are made into footnotes and happen at the same time). Some of the problems I see in this movie is that some of the actors don't look at all like the characters they're playing (Shunsuke Daito as Dick Gumshoe being the worst), some aspects about the cases primarily featured are altered for no reason, some of the characters have had their personalities somewhat altered and they are nowhere near as endearing as their game counterparts, there are several awkward moments that come up and is a bit too much on the serious side. However, watching this film one can feel a true passion from the director that he wanted to create a live-action video game film that is (for the most part) true to the games, it is enjoyable to see some of the actors that do resemble and act like their game counterparts in the film, the soundtrack is very good and the rearrangements of the music from the games are done well, some of the comedic moments did get a laugh out of me and as a fan of the series, I did enjoy the plentiful references. Overall, this is an okay movie; not the best film based on a video game but still a fairly enjoyable film that will simultaneously please and annoy fans.
June 6, 2013
The movie adapts the first game in the franchise very well by showing a focus on the majority of the cases that brought the game's plot together but still evoking the spirit of what made the games so great. All of the actors portray the characters very well with a few small exceptions. The movie is also not afraid to embrace the silly nature of the game it is based off of from a witness ripping his toupee right off his head to the inclusion of the parrot cross examination. In the end, fans of the franchise will enjoy this adaptation.
Daze
June 5, 2013
Fast action, anime-like effects, pleasing result!
April 29, 2013
A superb mystery film, with an investing plot, intriguing characters, and a few good laughs, that makes this film worth viewing.
4.5/5
April 16, 2013
Ace Attorney is simply too long. 2hr and 15 min? Come' on, so much could've been cut. The long ride is an unbalanced one too. The comedy is over the top, and the drama is deep. There's no middle ground.
March 19, 2013
I'll admit I started Ace Attorney with an almighty fear in my gut; the jist of the popular video game would simply not translate well to film. Luckily, the game has not only made the transfer to film, but it manages to do so in-addition of being an entertaining feature.

Among the stronger aspects of the adaptation is its visual style, which it uses to completely set the semi-ridiculous tone. Any fan of the series will tell you not to take the games completely serious due to the "turnabout" natures of the cases, and the film understands this completely. The giant futuristic computers set in the public courts create the blatantly silly aura Ace Attorney needs. Silly hairstyles, over the top shouting and large CG setpieces are frequent throughout the film.

Hiroki Narimiya's performance came off strange to me, as it's almost wholly separate from the Phoenix Wright portrayed in the games. On its own it's he does a decent job of creating a sympathetic character, but not one who is easy to relate to. Mirei Kiritani's performance as Maya Fey, however, is disappointing. She virtually has no character in the film and is massively unrepresented in the mass of the arc. Most of the other actors do a fine job, but none of them particularly stand out, a shame considering the material.

Ultimately the wacky antics of Phoenix Wright and his group of crazy lawyer helpers and villains won me over. Fans of the games will be delighted by the little details included in, but disappointed in the shortened narrative and smaller changes to the story and characters. Viewers new to the series should find the movie fun, but of little consequence.
March 7, 2013
Surrealista, exactamente igual que la mayor parte de la filmografia de este extraño genio... Juicios con pantallas enormes que se utilizan para visualizar las pruebas, confetti que cae del cielo tras cada veredicto, y una trama que de puro enredo resulta entretenida... Un videojuego mas convertido en pelicula. Y seguramente no sera el ultimo que Miike convierta... Impagable el loro en el juicio siendo interrogado...
shogunt
December 20, 2012
Whoever first proclaimed that the court room is akin to a battlefield must have had Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in mind at the time. Based on the wildly popular series of Capcom video games, Ace Attorney is the perfect example of an adaptation done right, capturing the frenetic and confusing storylines while remaining fresh and engaging enough for newcomers.

Few directors could have captured the Ace Attorney craziness better than the prolific Takashi Miike, who has probably completed two more movies during the time it took to write the last paragraph. He is the quintessential jack of all trades film maker, as comfortable with the uber-violent Ichi the Killer as with a classical samurai epic like 13 Assassins. Film adaptations of video games, especially Japanese ones, are almost never successful when brought into the Hollywood system. The styles don't translate, as directors get too comfortable presenting them the way they would any other film. Lots of dialogue and explanation isn't going to work for Ace Attorney, which is essentially set in a courtroom for the bulk of its 130 minute run time. Miike wisely uses a number of brilliant camera tricks and sight gags, like having the entire court room trussed up to look like an episode of Let's Make A Deal.

The world of Ace Attorney is what sets it apart from others, and it's not far fetched to think it could exist alongside the restrictive, totalitarian future of Battle Royale where truants fight to the death as entertainment. In this version of future Japan, crime has escalated to the point where the court system has become too crowded to function. So the government has instituted a "bench trial" system, where every case, no matter how serious, must be completed as fast as possible, with three days the maximum. Cases can last as little as a few seconds, an incredible thing when a person's life is at stake. Trials have basically taken on a pro wrestling level of competitive aggression and showmanship, with the primary goal to attack the other side with as much evidence as possible, or defend against an oncoming barrage of evidence. The winner is usually the side that can prove just one piece of evidence as indisputable, no matter how inconsequential it may be. The prosecution and defense literally hurl giant holographic images of crucial evidence at their opponent, an example of Miike's clever visual quirks designed to keep the proceedings fresh. When a particularly harsh piece of evidence lands(or in Phoenix's case he makes a bluntly obvious point), the audience literally tumbles over in shock like the crew of the Enterprise. It's just ridiculous enough to work.

Phoenix Wright(Hiroki Narimaya), a rookie defense attorney with a Dragon Ball haircut and a dorky disposition, has barely eked out a win in his first case, defending his hapless buddy, Larry Butz(their names say it all) in a pointless and barely noticed trial. However he soon finds himself thrust into the spotlight after his colleague, Mia, is found murdered in their office. Phoenix discovers that the clues all tie into a 15 year old murder case involving the father of an old friend and deep levels of legal corruption. While that may sound like it was ripped from an episode of Law & Order, when you start throwing in things like the emergence of the Loch Ness monster, talking parrots as witnesses, and ghostly apparitions invading the court room, obviously this is a case unlike any seen before. Testimony is given almost entirely in flashback, so as to keep the film's energy from stagnating and allowing us a chance to see the witnesses as full-fledged characters and not just minor pieces of the puzzle.

Miike perfectly recreates the circus atmosphere of the games, and devoted fans will recognize many of its signatures right away. The ridiculous hairdos are one thing, but you'll also find many of the best catchphrases, like Phoenix Wright's infamous "OBJECTION!!!" are used frequently. Based on the first five cases in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, there are practically dozens of silly and memorable characters. Most of these are done faithfully, although some will balk at the changes made to an important supporting character like clueless veteran cop, Dick Gumshoe. He's far too brave and young here. Having the story cover such a large number of cases does prove to be an issue, as the run time is way too long and the motivations of some characters gets muddled. Sometimes the incoherence works, while other times it can be a distraction.

So who does a movie like Ace Attorney appeal to? Well, I'd like to say "everybody" but that's simply not true. It'll be too wildly over-the-top for some, and that's understandable. Some of the in-jokes are distinctly Japanese and don't quite land for an American audience, but that's an issue for any foreign import. On the other hand, fans of the games will feel right at home with the zaniness, while those looking for a unique comedy experience will get all that and more. Video game movie adaptations don't have to stink, after all. Ace Attorney proves some of them can even achieve a certain level of greatness.
August 5, 2012
no objections to this loyal and insane adaptation of one of my favourite games.
October 13, 2012
It perfectly reflects the feel from the video games, and amuses with its silly humor and mind-bending, totally random scenes of utter chaos. Ace Attorney's mysterious cases are actually pretty obvious to be figured out after a few minutes, yet they still bring a lot of fun. With likable, weird characters, fantastic costumes, smashing special effects, and memorable intensity attached to the courtroom sequences, Ace Attorney is one of the most successful game adaptations ever.
September 19, 2012
A very faithful adaptation to the game, the director and actors perfectly captured all the crazy wackiness from the game. Even if you haven't played the games, you will still enjoy this film. This is honestly the best video game movie to ever be made.
September 12, 2012
This is obviously directed at fans of the games, but the movie itself is nowhere near interesting beyond that demographic. I did enjoy the title card at the direct end, but other than the visuals, this was very lacking.
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