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Movie Review: Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

A true gentleman never disappoints his fans

Puzzle 001: How do you adapt a best-selling puzzle series for the big screen? The answer? Bring the puzzles along for the ride.

For most movies, shoehorning in memorable gameplay elements hasn't always worked out as planned — the first-person shooting segment from Doom was lampooned by many viewers, and Guile's Flash Kick from Street Fighter lacked that (dare we say it) 'flash' from its console counterpart. Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva attempts to bridge the gap between game and movie with puzzles and riddles, and while the film never fully capitalizes on the addicting puzzles and head-scratches, it successfully builds on the characters and universe that we have all come to know and love.

If there's one thing that Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva does get right, it's the setting. The series' distinct brand of Anglophile remains intact, with an opening set-piece set atop Big Ben in London, as Layton and apprentice Luke attempt to foil Don Paolo's evil plans once more. Soon after, the movie flashes back to one of Layton's first cases, set a bit after the famous professor first met Luke in Professor Layton and the Last Specter. The intrepid duo are called upon by Jenis Quatlane, an old acquaintance who is performing in a new opera set aboard the grand cruise ship called the Crown Petone. It would be ungentlemanly to spoil the rest of the story, but fear not! The rather absurd plot twists that you would expect from the handheld games are present, and while the ending feels a bit too rushed for its own good, the set-pieces and action scenes more than make up for it.

Aerial sequences, sword fighting, and a battle against a giant mech (which were also featured in the first three games, respectively) look great in motion, though it would have been nice to have seen some new moments. Nonetheless, the action looks great on a bigger screen, and the series trademark blend of European and Japanese animation styles (think Sylvain Chomet's Les Triplettes de Belleville mixed with any one of Miyazaki's newer films) creates a unique look that helps the series find its own identity amongst the handful of animated films that Japan releases year after year. Similarly, the charming characters from the games return in all their glory, with Emmy Altava, Andrew Schrader, and Flora making appearances. However, the stand-out character is Inspector Grosky, a bonafide bad-ass who manages to perform incredible feats of strength, (from out-swimming mechanically enhanced sharks to climbing up the side of a cruise liner) while keeping his hair, and more importantly his chest hair, intact.

And it's memorable moments like these that elevate Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva beyond mere 'average' status. While it might not offer the same compelling story or top production values of your favourite anime, it's a serviceable, 90 minute romp that gamers will enjoy, regardless of the time they've spent solving mysteries with Layton and friends.

Review copy provided by Viz Media

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User Comments (37)

Hokori

#3

Hokori said:

I watched it a while back and loved it, glad your reviewing great Japanese adaptations of video game movies :)

Bubbab5

#4

Bubbab5 said:

I loved this movie I reviewed it in the forums a while back but it got locked by TBD for some reason I don't remeber

zipmonStaff

#5

zipmon said:

Great review Shaan!! Can't wait to finish Spectre's Call & track this down! It's that Laytony time of year again! :D

Fudge

#8

Fudge said:

I really did have a good time watching this move. I thought it had a plot on par with the games and did the series justice in the way it looked and sounded. Excellent soundtrack, visuals, plot, and just being true to the games make this one of my favorite animated films.

Fidelin

#9

Fidelin said:

I got this movie waaay back when it was released (the special edition with the 300 page storyboard book and the Blu-Ray disc). Watched it again, still loved it! It has the classic ridiculous plot twist at the end, that we all know Layton for. Awesome soundtrack, and retains the style of the cutscenes in the games. All-round great movie.

HuntheUniverse

#11

HuntheUniverse said:

I saw this movie a few months ago and absolutely loved it, especially the music! That song was wonderful!
Also, it's referenced quite a few times in MIracle Mask, so I suggest watching it to understand them!

Chrno-x

#12

Chrno-x said:

Such a coincidence. A couple of minutes ago I ended watching the Eternal Diva cause of the hype for "Miracle Mask" and "Professor Layton and the Azran Legacies". And what can I say? It's a really good mix of eastern comics style from the mid 90's (vide: Tintins Adventure etc.) and original japanimation style with his own soul almost like productions of Ghibli studio.

ouroborous

#14

ouroborous said:

i keep seeing adverts that there is a demo of Layton for 3DS but it's not on the eShop, what the heck?

Henmii

#16

Henmii said:

It was a fun movie! And here is a little fact: There is a little movie reference in "The last specter"! You can find it in the big house to the left, you know, the one where you can't get in at first! I say nothing more!

Pastry

#17

Pastry said:

The only movie I've ever imported. Definitely worth a watch, its a great movie.

KneehighPark

#18

KneehighPark said:

@daznsaz - Yes, it uses voices from the game. However, the movie was first localized in the UK, and then Viz Media brought that version directly to North America. Because of this, some voices sound different, because you're hearing the UK voice actors vs. the American ones. The most noticeable is Luke, but I liked his voice.

@Geonjaha - Thanks. I'll (hopefully) be doing movie reviews for the foreseeable future, and I will not be assigning scores.

NintendoMaster

#19

NintendoMaster said:

This movie is great. I can't even count the number of times I watched this over winter break last year!

Lunapplebloom

#20

Lunapplebloom said:

Loved this one. It fit pretty well with the games, while trying to put create it's own feel. Only downside is that I didn't like the UK voice actors as much as the US ones, but that's because I'm used to them.
Good review @KneehighPark. :)

And Welcome to NL @HuntheUniverse. Enjoy your stay. :)

MagicEmperor

#22

MagicEmperor said:

Sorry to be that guy, but it's Sylvain, not Sylvian. I think this movie is surprisingly good, as well.

Prof_Clayton

#24

Prof_Clayton said:

Hey, great review! I'm going to have to get this movie. I actually didn't even know there was a Layton movie. ._."
Now I have to get it so I can replay every game and see any references! :D

Arthedain

#25

Arthedain said:

@professor_clayton since it's taking place after the last spectre, it's not referenced anywhere except in miracle mask.

I replayed spectre flute and rewatched this movie about a week ago. It makes it even more fun to play miracle mask now :-)

FonistofCruxis

#28

FonistofCruxis said:

Good review, I'll watch this once I've finished Spectre's call as it takes place after that game. It seems inaccurate for Don Paolo and Flora to be in this movie as they're not in the prequel trilogy and this takes place between two of the games in the prequel trilogy. Seeing as Layton knew Don Paolo before the events of The curious village, this might not be so inaccurate but he hadn't met Flora before that game so she shouldn't be in this film.

Tobias95

#29

Tobias95 said:

@FonistofCruxis remeber, the first minutes in the movie takes place between Pandoras box and thelost future, then I think the rest of the movie exept the very ending was an flasback

TheRavingTimes

#30

TheRavingTimes said:

I found the movie's portrayal of the games to be astoundingly amazing. Sure puzzles could use a bit of a deeper line of thought but the movie is still amazing.

KneehighPark

#32

KneehighPark said:

@FonistofCruxis - Yup, Tobias95 summed it up quite well. This is why, in the opening scene, you see characters such as Don Paolo, Flora, Inspector Chelmey, Barton. And then in the flashback, we see Emmy and Grosky.

KneehighPark

#35

KneehighPark said:

@NintendoCat14 - It is in English. The copy I received had option for English audio, or Japanese audio with English subs.

If you live in America or the UK, the movie has been released there, so no need to import.

Mattiator

#36

Mattiator said:

Probably the single best video game movie currently out. Yes, even better than Ace Attorney, though that one's a close second.

Apollo_Justice

#37

Apollo_Justice said:

I've sent numerous emails to the editor in chief about this, but why have you taken the author's name off the review, without his permission?

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