Miike Takashi has a reputation for dark, violent films. So it was a surprise when he announced he would be adapting a light-hearted Nintendo game (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney). But he proves capable of pulling this off. A funny, comic-strip-like, charming film.
Miike Takashi made a film adaptation of the popular Nintendo game Ace Attorney, about the young, rather clumsy lawyer Phoenix Wright, who was also the protagonist of the first three Capcom games. Wright, assisted by old school friends Miles Edgeworth and Larry Butz, has to win several court cases in this story in order to solve a 15-year-old mystery.
Among all the comedy and sci-fi gadgets of the lawyers, the film provides a caricature of the show-business character of Japanese law. Through the immense pressure on the legal system, in the near future of Ace Attorney a case will only be allowed to last three days before the judge takes a decision. Under the enormous pressure of time, it is increasingly important for lawyers to intimidate the other party and give a smooth presentation, even though they say that success is determined by strong evidence. Miike’s typical cartoon style, combined with dynamic game visuals, results in a playful crossover between live-action, game and manga.
Big Talk: Sat 28, 19:15, before the screening Miike Takashi will be talking to Groene Amsterdammer journalist Gawie Keyser about his film Ace Attorney.
Programmer Note by Gertjan Zuilhof:
The film is based on the game Ace Attorney, originally developed for the Game Boy Advance, but later also adapted for the Nintendo DS. I have to admit that I had never heard of the game before I saw the film, let alone played it. Even after seeing the film, I couldn’t really imagine what the game was like, but that wasn’t difficult to correct.
On this website you can find a free trial package: http://aceattorney.sparklin.org. Through the trial package, you also come into contact with the enormous social community that has emerged around the game. A whole plethora of internet forums gives fanatical players an opportunity to exchange insights and tips with each other. These forums make it especially clear why someone decided to turn the game, which is not very visual, into a film. There was already an enormous interested audience. It doesn’t say much that I was not part of it.
Ace Attorney, as the trial package reveals, most resembles a complex and extensive non-digital board game. A bit like Colonists of Catan. Lots of cards. Lots of characters. Lots of rules.
If you add the fact that players can start their own court cases and that magic is allowed, then you start to get a picture of the addiction of the game. Only those who know many characters and rules have any chance. Just like in real court cases.