Monday, April 4, 2022

Professor Layton And The Eternal Diva

An unexpected example but honestly one of the best.

When I heard tale that there was a movie based on the popular puzzle video game series of Professor Layton, I was quite shocked but fully ready and waiting to get around to this. Though I am base level novice when it comes to the games, I've only beaten the first game, I think I'd be hardpressed to find more faithful video game adaptations than here. And I truthfully think as far as my knowledge goes, the reason the film works so well is because the same team or at least the major developers of the games had hands on crafting of the movie. The story akin to the games takes basically an anime version of Sherlock Holmes, where Professor Layton and his young apprentice Luke are puzzle solvers and have had a habit of accepting cases around the world, where the latest involves an opera theater being held hostage with the audience members forced to solve clues to find the mythical location of the elixir of life. It's a pretty outrageous story but it's a pretty outrageous world in the games too, mostly taking a more old world style with bits of steampunk thrown here and there, yet still keeping a timeless and anachronistic look. The animation is wonderful, effortlessly bringing the character designs in fluid motion, with some of the most intricately designed beautiful backgrounds that I more would see in a Studio Ghibli or Pokemon 3 type project. It's entirely unique to this world and the effort shows in aces throughout. The mystery aspect though not as in depth as I originally thought it to be, there's only a total of 4 puzzles max, still kept my interest and certain problems got me thinking and half the time correctly on top of that. It sure does throw curveballs at you, granted I had no idea where the story would go but I figured oh cool a mystery at the opera. Awesome! Nope. The theater turns into a boat. Yyyyyeah. Then you think oh it's a mystery on a cruise liner. Nope. And it just keeps going from there, and you can bet your ass that ending reveal pulled a venusian akido flip on me. It's certainly watchable for kids, and keeps a light adventurous feel to it but the ending handles some serious life stuff and almost passes into Fullmetal Alchemist territory though nowhere near as f***ed up. I was heavily impressed all the way through, and while I could poke fun at the ludicrous stuff, or go on another Phantom tangent because how could I not, or make the joke that the day is saved by music and green water a la´ Pokemon 2000, but I like it too much. It's the epitome of escapist adventure/mystery fiction. Now I will say the soundtrack is spectacular, dare I say sublime. There's just something that happens, and most of the time magical when a japanese composer creates music for a traditional orchestra. Like the music is so good I'm kinda pissed how good it is, like how dare you be so beautiful and immaculate? There's just so much to enjoy here and goes straight to the top of video game adaptations like Animal Crossing. In all fairness I'll give it a good 4 stars, 9/10, and I can't find many more video game movies so we're talking Sonic before Sonic 2.

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