Thursday, 17 October 2013
The Phoenix Wright Movie
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (or Gyakuten Saiban 逆転裁判 as it's known in Japan) is a series of mystery solving video games that are half visual novel and half point and click adventure. You play as Phoenix Wright, an up and coming defence lawyer who takes on various cases for people who have been wrongly accused of something that's usually murder. You spend half the game trotting around various locations talking to people and collecting evidence and the other half of the game in the courtroom having a sort of evidence war with the prosecutor.
Now 9 times out of 10, video game movie adaptations are a pile of complete wank, but Phoenix Wright is actually pretty good. If there is one thing that I can say about this movie, it's that for the most part, it stays faithful to the games. The story follows the I think the second and final cases from the first game but they do a good job of setting everything up so if you haven't played the games you'll still be able to follow the murder mystery.
The characters are well acted and the costume and makeup work is really really good. It's not completely perfect with Dick Gumshoe being a little bit too thin and competent for what I'm used to and Maya not quite matching her in game personality 100%, but it's not changed enough to the point to be offensive. The core character is still there and when it's backed up by costume design that would make even the best cosplayers green with envy it's a lot of fun to watch.
They also do a good job with the camera work trying their best to mimic the shots that you would see from the game. Granted the actors do move around a bit more than they would in the video games but if it was just 3 people behind desks talking and slamming tables it wouldn't really be all that good for a movie.
Really it's the care that was taken to make this movie resemble the games as close as possible is what makes it so good. If you're a fan then pretty much everything is here and you'll feel really familiar with all the characters right off the bat. All the key scenes are there too including the infamous cross examination of a fucking parrot so you there aren't any points where you'll feel frustrated because key points from the games are excluded from the movie.
Finally, the movie does take some liberties with the setting a little bit. The courtroom has this steampunky projector system that they use to present evidence with. I see why they did it but it just seems out of place within the setting. Also there are parts of the movie that seem a bit dark and grim where they shouldn't be such as the visiting room in the prison. In the movie it's a really dark, dank and horrible place but it's never shown in such a way in the games. Also the shoehorning in of the police mascot was a little silly but it didn't really ruin anything.
So to round off, Phoenix Wright is quite frankly, the best video game movie that exists right now to my knowledge. If you're a fan go watch it, you'll get a kick out of it as you see all your favourite parts from the first game acted out. If you're not a fan, go watch it anyway since you'll still be able to follow it and it's a pretty good murder mystery movie if not a little bit on the silly side.