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Gyakuten saiban
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Reviews & Ratings for
Ace Attorney More at IMDbPro »Gyakuten saiban (original title)

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Best game adaption I've ever seen

8/10
Author: info-astute from The Netherlands
30 January 2012

This movie by Miike Takashi is based on the game with the same name by Capcom for Nintendo consoles. These two preliminaries might scare some off, but I can truly say that this is movie is the best game adaption I've ever seen, and one of the most mainstream films by Takashi.

Takashi, sadly enough, known for its more violent films was attending the World Premiere screening at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and requested everyone to watch this movie with the heart of a child.

And yes, even though this movie is intended for adults, its well suitable for young teenager as well.

The fun mix of anime, game and cinema is working very well. Not just in visual style, but also in storytelling and humour. The story itself is well presented and the viewer receives clues and information so that it feels involved in the quest. For the quick thinkers amongst the viewers, this way of story telling might take a bit of the speed out of the movie, as all information gets presented step by step.

In the end, Ace Attorney is a fun and stylistic movie. Not just for Japanese cinema lovers, but for everyone who enjoys a bit of silliness and a good mystery.

Great story, awesome visuals and good acting. The main flaw is that it failed to keep up the pace for the whole duration of the movie, but still interesting enough to stay interested.

Great show, watch it with the whole family!

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

This is what a video game adaptation should be like.

10/10
Author: kansaikitsune from Florida, USA
21 March 2012

I had the privilege of seeing this film in Tokyo while it was still in theaters. Having played all of the Phoenix Wright/Gyakuten Saiban games, I was very familiar with the source material. That being said, it easily introduces all of the characters in a very succinct manner, and their personalities show through brilliantly on the big screen.

The summary: Ryuichi Naruhodo aka Phoenix Wright is a struggling defense attorney who works for the Ayasato law firm. After a shocking murder, he finds himself in the high court defending a client against murder... pitted against a prosecuting prodigy... who just happens to be a childhood friend. The twists and turns of the case lead Naruhodo into an investigation of a long-closed case which is very relevant to current events.

For fans of courtroom drama or mystery, it's a very suspenseful and very clever murder mystery, but if you've played the first game, you already know how it turns out. For once, a director chose to go with the original story rather than trying to go off in a strange direction or "re-imagine" the details that people know and love (yes, I'm looking in your direction, Michael Bay), though some elements have been absorbed into one story to make sure the entire story takes place. All of the cases from the game are referenced, though not all of them are fully played out on screen (time constraints). Additionally, there are no clever "wink wink" moments to future games in the series, thank goodness.

Purists will be happy to know that some of the musical numbers come straight from the game, particularly in the courtroom, and the "floating box" evidence presenting element from the game is preserved as a very cool holographic system.

If I may level one criticism, it's that just like the game, the "investigation" portions tend to drag, but the courtroom scenes will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, pointing dramatically and shouting, "IGI ARI!" -- OBJECTION!

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic brought-to-life action combining the game and the manga into a dish with Miike's special sauce all over it to greatly enhance the dining experience.

9/10
Author: DJ Koenig from Netherlands
27 January 2012

Gyakuten saiban or Ace Attorney is a Miike take on a story based on the popular games and manga. It brings Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, Larry Butz and the Spiritual Fey family to life in a fantastic story of futuristic trials that are seemingly interwoven. Leave it to Miike to deliver a movie with incredible pacing control. The beginning races you through the characters to start with the crime that sets off the main plot to be followed. At times the movie is really intense in showing what the characters experienced, catering to the more understanding older viewer. However, he said so himself in the worldwide premiere today at the International Film Festival Rotterdam: you should watch this lightheartedly, like a kid. The way he adapts the famous series onto the screen is definitely one that combines his skills at bringing the best of a story with making it a very fun one. I can strongly recommend watching this if you're either a fan of his (later/(not lighter) work (like Zebraman) or of the games. I had my eyes glued to the screen except for a few moments where I looked at the audience and saw they were equally drawn into the movie.. It has great CGI for the court scenes and the spiritual moments with the Feys and as always with Miike; it caters to the idea of a greater plan. If you're taking the time to read this review; you should probably go see it already!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

What a bless seeing an Ace Attorney film: not perfect, but could hardly ask for more

9/10
Author: redrum_9 from Hungary
15 June 2013

I'm incidentally a huge fan of both Miike and the Ace Attorney game series, but I believe people who want to see this film, are mostly Phoenix Wright fans, so I'll try to review the movie from this point of view, to show fans what they need to expect.

Adapting a game like Phoenix Wright might seem easy at first, but in fact, it's something you have to be careful with: the game is basically like a comic book, a series a images well put together, with often intriguing, other times funny but never uninteresting dialogues and characters. Like a comic (or even a novel for that matter) most of the world is created by the reader (or in this case the player) who links these dialogues and images in a way, to create a motion picture in their mind. I loved exploring the crime scenes, and such (=the non scripted parts of the game), but it's the story and the characters that had a bigger impact on me. Each player has a different way of imagining this world while playing the game, and for that the film has to work in a way that it ruins the least amount a fans' expectations. Every single imagination can't be pleased, but this film tries its hardest.

First, what I liked about the film, is the attempt itself to create a Phoenix Wright movie. Second, the fact that this "distopic absurd world" of the source material is portrayed in the movie without the creators shying away from ideas that an average human being would find acceptable in a video game, but not necessarily in a film. In fact, that is a very strong aspect of the movie: it has a world without rules, limits, it's crazy, dark and fun, just like the game. It doesn't want to be just a movie, it wants to be THE Phoenix Wright movie. In other words, one of the films biggest values, is that it wants to translate the least amount of video game logic to film logic. It embraces video game logic, plays with it, and uses it to show the craziest ideas on screen. I mean for example by the trials with holograms, which is of course not like that in the games, but the idea is brilliant, because it translates the game's epic moments perfectly, when somebody pulls out the definitive evidence and shows it to the court. Third, the film is not only made by somebody who knows the source material throughly, but from the film's attitude, is a big fan of it as well. The most possible elements are compressed in these 90 minutes to please all the fans' needs: for example some unexpected characters from the series make short appearances (which, I'm not going to tell you of course) and many similar surprises..

All that being said, the movie has a few downsides for me: First, the Gumshoe character: I love him in the games (my second favourite character after Godot) and I'm sure many of us do, but he had a lot less screen presence that I wanted him to have. Because of that, his style, his whole presence could not be felt as much in the film as in the game. Also, I think it was bad casting: although the actor does a decent job, they should have gotten somebody with a bit more weight on him to do it, after all he's the big guy in the games. Second, even if I didn't care as much for the Maya character in the games, as much as for several others, I always loved his relationship with Phoenix. Here, the chemistry between the two can hardly be felt, Maya seems more like an assistant than a true friend/partner of Phoenix. Also, I think bad casting here as well, since I think the actress was a bit too old for the role, but that wouldn't have been a big problem if the chemistry between the two worked. Third, the judge character. In the game we discover two sides of him: a strict (but old and tired of it) and a humorous naive judge (the way I see it). Here, I felt that he is left only with the first, and frankly least interesting side of him. And here again, I know this is tiring, but I think the judge having hair was a bad decision (I'm sure many of you think of this as astonishingly stupid nitpicking, but hey, the bald bearded guy: it's one thing that made him memorable for me, and if you make him have a beard, then cut his hair as well) Last, but not least, is a key scene which has been slightly modified by the writers. I'm not going to say which scene it is, all I can say without spoiling is that this key scene, was moved to another location in the film (the location in the game was one of the aspects which made it great). I think it was an easy choice, but they might have had a reason for it.

Although I devoted the bigger paragraph to negative aspects, I wouldn't call them flaws, more like things, ideas I would have done/solved differently. To end this all, and to clear all misunderstandings (if any happened): i loved the film. I think it's an absolute treat for fans, and a very well made piece of work, in terms of cinematography, screenplay, direction and everything else. Although I thought that the problems I had were worth mentioning, they didn't affect my viewing, since I was blown away by seeing Ace Attorney as a movie, and I thoroughly felt that only passion has been put in the making of this film and little to no laziness, which is sadly rarely the case of films nowadays. Does the film work? Absolutely. And that is what matters.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Miike playing

9/10
Author: kosmasp
3 January 2013

I wouldn't call myself a fan of Miike. Actually with "Audition" I might have started with one of his most wicked movies, very disturbing and very different and I might not have been open to that. This on the other hand (must be the tenth movie of his I have watched to date, not a lot if you consider his output!) is very easily accessible.

And that rings true, even if you're not familiar with the source material this is based on. I myself didn't know the game and haven't played it yet. But the essence of the movie is a courtroom thriller with a few twists. And it has a very wicked sense of humor, which might not be to everyones taste. If you don't like the first 5 minutes, don't bother watching more. Otherwise it'll be a hoot (and those hair styles ... awesome!)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Final verdict, not guil...... OBJECTION !!!

7/10
Author: Reno Rangan from Somewhere in the Cosmos
8 August 2013

'Ace attorney' is a courtroom drama about crime solving theme based on a popular video game called 'Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney'. The trademark of this story either movie or video game is that main character Phoenix Wright shows his index finger like a style Ambedkar statue saying 'objection'.

Its hard someone to understand who are not familiar with Japanese movies or culture. If you are then this movie will be so fun which is directed by one of popular Jap director Takashi Miike, the '13 assassins' fame. Not so long ago I watched an another courtroom comedy called 'A ghost of a chance' which these both are kinda totally enjoyable. If you like any one of these you will like another too.

This is a story of a not-so-popular attorney Phoenix Wright who starts to claim best period of his professional when he bags back to back cases to his hand with successful results. The structure of movie plot was brilliant especially solving crime puzzle which opens new sub-plots instantly towards the last quarter of the movie. The story happens in the courtroom is like a wrestling match between two without physical contacts, if someone wins they qualify for the next round. Like I said it is a comedy genre so there's no seriousness in movie characters. I did not get a couple of jokes which I believe are pure Japanese which we won't get in translation. The movie was good to have once especially if you like Takashi Miike movies.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The most human acting in here comes from a bird

7/10
Author: kluseba from Gatineau, Canada
14 October 2013

This is a quite entertaining movie adaption of a series of successful mangas and video games. You don't really need to know the originals to appreciate this mixture of a fantasy and a crime movie. The film has some suspenseful and mysterious moments but also humorous parts. The movie has several short side stories that are rather appealing and don't take too much space. They involve childhood memories and the sightings of a strange monster for example. In fact, the movie adds a lot of diversified genre elements into one big potpourri but none of the elements is really dominating or impressive which is maybe one of the movies biggest flaws. It's always entertaining but sometimes lacks depth.

The story itself is divided into three parts that all lead to dramatic courtroom discussions. The three different cases are closely connected to each other and become in fact more and more interesting. A well done and short introduction, some outdoor investigations and a few flashbacks add some diversity and depth to the different characters. The story isn't hard to follow and only the first few minutes feel a little bit rushed.

While the cases are all realistic and grounded, the movie has some fantasy elements in form of holographic elements in the courtroom that could come from a science-fiction movie and a few supernatural elements involving mediums and other appearances. I happened to find these supernatural elements rather distracting and useless. They don't add much to the story and make an otherwise solid plot feel a little bit fluffy.

The most important thing that may be controversially discussed is the acting. Some fans of the games and mangas said that this movie was one of the best video game adaptions ever done, others said that this movie lacked the charm and genius of the originals. I neither know the games nor the mangas and that's probably the best thing for a neutral point of view.

Each character has its unique traits which is great. Phoenix Wright is your chaotic, determined and nervous young attorney who fights for ideals such as friendship, justice and truth. His antagonist is the aged, bitter and self-possessed Manfred von Karma. His childhood friend and colleague Miles Edgeworth happens to be a rather arrogant, cold but very smart prosecutor who could come from a medieval court or a visual kei band. Another childhood friend called Larry Butz is a humorous, ingenious and tricky fellow. His assistant Maya Fey is a rather emotional, sometimes even hysterical but also intelligent woman with stylish looks. The judge is old, patient and wise. Even the secondary actors in form of different witnesses have their own unique characters such as the broken and isolated Yanni Yogi or the dark and mysterious Redd White.

What I liked less about the acting was that many parts were simply overacted. I know that this is the case of many Japanese movies and this element seems to want to underline the manga style of the story but it feels quite redundant after a while. This element is used way too much in this film and fails at its initial attempt to put some emotions and humour in this film. Sometimes, the characters feel more like birds. Phoenix Wright is the nervous chicken who always gets upset, Maya Fey is the colourful but sometimes difficult turkey, Miles Edgeworth the proud rooster, Redd White the strange raven, the judge the wise owl who is always ready to attack when the chances are good and so on. The funniest thing is that at some point, a cockatoo comes into play as a witness and happens to play the most grounded part of the entire movie. This bird feels the most human among all characters. At some point, all this exaggerated acting may feel somewhat childish.

In the end, it,s hard to rate this movie. If you just want to watch it because legendary Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike has directed it, better stay away from it because it doesn't have much to do with his most famous works. Those who like the games and mangas either hate or love this movie. Watch the movie and choose your camp. Anyone else might get very well entertained but you should know that this film is very Japanese. It's colourful, diversified and always over the top. Some might find this mixture dynamical, others rather annoying. Fans of Japanese cinema should definitely give this movie a try, those who prefer traditional courtroom dramas or thrillers should stay away from it.

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2 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Why this movie sucks in so many ways

3/10
Author: pandarus from Brazil
13 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all, I'm a huge fan of the series Phoenix Wright. It's really an awesome game and has some unique qualities that in my opinion were totally destroyed in this movie. I don't think the movie HAS to be exactly like the game, but what happened here is that the movie is just awful by itself. If you played the games you will think the movie is terrible, and if you have never played it you will have a generic movie with many plot holes.

Speaking about the plot, it has so many problems that it's hard to decide where to begin from (and without spoilers). Let's just say that the game is very famous because of the plot, especially on the trials, they are awesome. What happens in the movie is that the trials are just lame (and the monitor effects are bullshit that don't add anything). In the first case the attorney will prove that the witness was in the scene of the crime (therefore, he MAY know more than he is telling, or maybe be the killer itself), and then the judge will give a non guilty verdict to the defendant. Hell, it doesn't make sense! It just give an amazing jump to conclude something that he could not (at least yet). And the key case has problems like this one (I will not pinpoint them, just to avoid major spoilers, but the trial scenes will be as terrible as the first case).

Talking about the characters, the only one that I liked was Larry, Phoenix was OK and the others were just terrible. von Karma was the worst. They tried to give some humor to the film by using some Japanese expressions. Hell, why not use the games expressions? The only character that will do it is Phoenix (and it will add to the movie).

The sound was lame too, most of the soundtrack sounded like a generic thriller movie. Near the end they will play one of the games songs on an violin version, and guess what, it sounds great! I just don't understand why not using more of this during the movie, at least it would be less generic. The sound try to create a darker atmosphere that don't match the movie at all, they just couldn't balance the humor parts and the serious parts.

In my opinion, this movie is just a waste of your time. If you like the game, you will hate the film, and if you never played the game, you can find many movies better than this one.

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