Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva
Famed puzzle solver and arhcaeologist Hershel Layton receives a letter from Janice Quatlane, a famous opera singer. Attending one of her concerts at the Crown Petone Opera House, the Professor and his apprentice, Luke Triton, is embroiled in a mystery centered around the mystery of Eternal Life.
Having followed the game series up to (and including) the third game, I was curious how the movie would do, given the lack of personal interaction from the audience.
Which is not to say the movie lacks puzzles as a topic. Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke has to solve a couple of them to get through. In fact, that's how the main plot of the movie starts off; with a string of puzzles to weed out the unworthy, as planned by the main villains.... once you get past the introduction with the prerequisite appearance by Layton's self-proclaimed arc nemesis Don Paolo, that is.
It's actually kind of disconcerting to see how close to the games' art style this movie is. If you've already played some of the games, you'd know what to expect; large, comically drawn heads. Either circular or thin and spindly bodies, with thin limbs and huge hands. In some cases, various attributes are played out to comical effect, like Inspector Clamp Grosky's hairdo, while the design of composer Oswald Whistler might be the source of some racially insensitive jokes. The animation generally looks really nice, though; almost everyone in the movie moves around to some extent, though in that respect, the CG work can get a little bit too obvious at times, and I don't mean just the huge machinery you'll see in this movie. (Pay close attention to the theatre scene for one of the more noticeable examples.)
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva also seem to have inherited the games' somewhat ridiculous story twists as well, along with the downright impossible machinery at display. Which is fine, really -- it's all part of the Professor Layton charm. (Though I must admit I didn't know about Luke's ability to communicate with animals. I must have missed THAT memo in the games.) You should also expect to see the Professor channel his inner MacGuyver in at least one glorious moment of WTFery.
However, for all its comedic fooling around, this movie plays a whole lot of subjects straight. The game is one of eliminiation, and while there are no literal onscreen deaths, the fate of the eliminated are still somewhat unclear. Also, with the reward being one of "eternal life", you can probably tell that a lot of people have their own personal reasons for showing up, and they're not all happy stories, or just ones explained by simple greed or fear of death.
That's why the reason you should ask yourself this before watching the movie: "Can I give up the puzzles?" Sure, the ones at the beginning are there for you to figure out if you can, but Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva isn't a title to be played, and you have to accept this to enjoy this movie. This might seem a little self-explanatory to you, but I'm only saying this now because I didn't really realize how much I'd miss the puzzle-solving. They're as integral a part to the Layton universe as anything that made it into the movie; the art style, the story elements and the characters. It's still a very good -- if ridiculous -- movie, and, to be fair, the rating goes into reflecting that. That's why you need to put two things on the scales before deciding on whether you want to watch this: the story and the gameplay. Which is the most important to you? If the games' stories are what's more important, you'll enjoy this movie easily. However, if the gameplay -- the puzzles -- were the more important part, you can still enjoy it, but there's going to be a feeling of something missing in the experience.
A worthy Professor Layton movie... if you are willing to leave the puzzles to someone else. If not, detract one star. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: For all the movie's warnings about people "going to die if they lose the game", nobody actually dies onscreen. It's actually doubtful anyone actually dies in this movie at all.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva © 2009 LEVEL-5 Inc., Oriental Light and Magic.
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