Posted By Gabriel B. about 2 months, 3 weeks ago
Recently, I sat down and watched Professor and Layton and the Eternal Diva with my family. The movie is set during the current trilogy of Professor Layton games (a little after The Last Specter, to be specific) and has Professor Layton receiving a request for help from a former student, Janice, who is staring in an opera about the mythical kingdom of Ambrosia, a kingdom whose residents found the secret of eternal life. Janice writes that there is a little girl claiming to be her old friend Melina, who passed away over a year ago, and that she has discovered the secret of eternal life. This leads to Layton and Luke having to unravel a mystery that may lead to the truth behind the Kingdom of Ambrosia.
If you want a short review, here goes: it was well animated, a lot of fun, and a great family movie. While there were some issues, such as too many superfluous side characters, I was impressed by one thing: my family wasn’t confused at all and enjoyed the film just as much as I did. Now, I’m not implying that my family has trouble watching movies–they have as healthy an attention span as anyone else–but I worried that they wouldn’t enjoy it since the only experience they’ve had with the series was getting frustrated at the trash puzzle from Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box. However, they never had to pause the movie to ask me who a character was or why a character was doing something. They just enjoyed the film and said it was “pretty good” as the credits rolled (which is high praise from my family).
I found it interesting since, as a fan of the series, I thought it was a faithful adaptation of the games’ style, narrative, and atmosphere. In my opinion, Professor Layton lost nothing by being on the big screen. Now, while The Eternal Diva isn’t a pure adaptation, as it is an original adventure and not a retelling or reimagining of the franchise, I think Hollywood could learn a bit from how well the Eternal Diva brought the characters to the big screen.
On that note, I feel it is prudent to share why I like Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva and consider it a good continuation of the series. Be warned, there are SPOILERS in entries #3 and #2. If that bothers you, why don’t you calm yourself down with a puzzle?
Puzzle 01 (15 Picarats)
Recently, I stopped by Austin’s place and asked for a drink. He pulled a gun on me. I then thanked him profusely and left. Now, if I didn’t have a death wish and Austin wasn’t driven to homicidal rage over me not having a list, why did Austin pull a gun on me?
One thing that made me smile immediately during my first viewing of the film was the sheer number of cameos and short appearances by the franchises’ colorful cast of characters. From the introduction, where Don Paolo, Flora, and Inspector Chelmley make an appearance, to cameos by other characters like Granny Riddleton and Mr. Beluga, all of the appearances are a delight. What’s more, none of them are too intrusive to viewers who aren’t fans of the franchise; they’re just nice little treats for the fans who have followed the series from its inception.
That’s to say nothing of the side characters. Emmy might have only appeared in the Last Spectre, but she gets to really shine in this film by doing Layton’s legwork and later kicking the crap out of some henchmen. Then there is Inspector Grosky, who steals the show at several points due to all of the crazy perils he has to endure. The two of them quickly won my family’s praise and it was a delight to see them on the (sort-of) big screen.
Speaking of things from the franchise that were a delight to see, let’s take a moment to appreciate all of the little details that were lovingly recreated for the film. For example, even before the film starts, you get to watch the master footage from the first four games’ cutscenes accompanied by Professor Layton’s memorable theme. This gets followed up by a series of accurate references and recreations. Everything from Layton’s car to Doctor Schrader’s apartment is lovingly recreated. Even Layton’s finger-pointing and Luke’s diary writing have been recreated. The movie’s ending credits are styled after the games’ with storybook illustrations showing what happened to the movie’s characters in the top of the screen while the credits play out below.
Speaking of features that were borrowed from the games….