Ace Attorney (2012)

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Released 17-Apr-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 129:08
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Takashi Miike
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Akiyoshi Nakao
Takumi Saitô
Mirei Kiritani
Hiroki Narimiya
Shunsuke Daitô
Akira Emoto
Mitsuki Tanimura
Takehiro Hira
Eisuke Sasai
Makoto Ayukawa
Seminosuke Murasugi
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Kôji Endô


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, closing credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Ace Attorney (or Gyakuten saiban) is based upon the popular video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and is directed by the prolific cult director Takashi Miike, who currently has 92 titles as director listed on the IMDb. His films are often confronting, often violent, but always interesting and include Audition (1999), Ichi the Killer (2001), Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) and 13 Assassins (2010) although Miike, does have his more goofy moments such as Yatterman (2009). Ace Attorney is again director Miike in a lighter mod.

     Phoenix Wright (Hiroki Narimiya) is an inexperienced attorney defending people from the low end of town. In contrast, Miles Edgeworth (Takumi Saito) is an up-town prosecutor who has a perfect win record and is trying to emulate his hero, ace prosecutor Manfred von Karma (Ryo Ishbashi) who has not lost a case in 40 years. When Phoenix’s associate Mia Fey (Rei Dan) is murdered after seemingly finding some new evidence relating to a 15 year old murder case, her sister Maya (Mirei Kiritani) is found at the murder scene and charged with killing Mai. Phoenix is convinced that Maya has been set up and he defends her, coming into direct conflict with Miles, who is prosecuting. Because of rampant crime, cases are tried before a single judge and run a maximum of 3 days before a verdict is given. Against the odds, and with a little help from his friends, Phoenix wins the case.

     Shortly after, another murder occurs. Miles is arrested and Phoenix decides to defend him. As he investigates, Phoenix discovers that the victim in the old case Mia was investigating had been Miles’ lawyer father, and that the man Miles is now supposed to have murdered was another lawyer involved in that old case. It becomes clear to Phoenix that the three murders are linked and that, if Miles is innocent as he claims, then someone has something to hide and is covering their tracks. And when Miles comes to trial, Phoenix has only 3 days to uncover the truth and expose the real villain.

     Ace Attorney is full of outlandish characters; as well as the principals there is, for example, Larry Butz (Akiyoshi Nakao) with his spikey red hair, the over the top frizzy haired Lotta Hart, the dastardly Redd White (who is dressed all in black) and the policeman Dick Gumshoe complete with trench coat. Indeed, all characters, reflecting the film’s game origins, have different, often spikey, hair and a distinguishable costume which they always wear. Clearly, someone is having a lot of fun, and the film retains an air of good humour. The courtroom scenes play out as theatre, with exaggerated theatrical gestures, a clapping cheering audience and a deadpan judge (Akira Emoto) who is great fun.

     At almost 130 minutes the film feels long for what it is, but Miike is an experienced director and throws in a some camera pans and cuts along the way as well as flashes of colour to maintain interest. I am not familiar with the game upon which the film is based, but from reports it seems that fans of the game are generally positive about the film version. I can only judge the film as a film and the short answer is that it is an outlandish, over the top experience that is very entertaining in its own right. The film is a bit manic, the characters cartoonish (or perhaps I should say game like), the acting theatrical, the gestures exaggerated, but the film is good fun and good natured. While some knowledge of the game background could help, a viewer does not need to be familiar with the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game to enjoy the film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Ace Attorney is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     I am not sure what to make of this print. Close-ups are good, but in wider shots the print can look quite soft. Colours are dull, especially interiors where the court scenes have a browny tinge, while in exteriors the colours and skin tones look quite light. There is some glare when the light source is behind the actor (such as at 7:07) and evident noise reduction in a number of dimly lit scenes. The result was that blacks were not as solid as they could be while shadow detail can be indistinct. There was a bit of aliasing and ghosting with movement but marks were absent. Around 118:56 there were a couple of frame jumps.

     The layer change at 73:23 resulted in a slight pause.

    English subtitles are in an easy to read yellow font and seemed to be timely. There were no spelling or grammatical errors that were not deliberate; when Lotta Hart was speaking we get sentences like at 40:14: “ It don’t werk with trashy girlz like you”. Captions, for example identifying witnesses, are in white.

     The print is a bit of a mixed bag.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio choice is Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     The audio is good. Dialogue is clear and centred and the surrounds are used frequently for crowd noise in the court and ambient sounds elsewhere, such as rain. Sudden sounds, such as the gunshots or the judge’s gavel, resonate loudly and effectively. The sub-woofer added nice bass to the music, the gunshots and the thumps of the gavel.

    Lip synchronisation was good.

     The original score by Koji Endo nicely augmented the on screen action.

     A good enveloping audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Making Of (9:03)

     This extra consists of some on set behind the scenes footage plus interview snippets with director Takashi Miike and most of the main cast, mainly saying how they felt when the offer to be part of the film came in. Nothing particularly revealing, or important.

Theatrical Trailer (1:29)

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for The Silent War (2:09), Big Man Japan (1:42), Maiko Haaaan!!! (1:41) and Motorway (1:33).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There is currently no Region 1 US or Region 2 UK version of Ace Attorney listed. The Region 2 Japanese release is a 2 DVD set that includes as extras an audio commentary, making of, stage event, game creator interview and various promotional materials. However neither the feature nor extras have English subtitles. Region 4 is the only choice for an English speaking audience.

Summary

     Ace Attorney feels a bit long but is full of larger than life characters, the courtroom scenes play out as theatre, and the film retains an air of outlandish good humour. This is director Miike in a lighter mood and the film is good fun, even if you are not familiar with the game.

     The video could be better, the audio is good. A short making of and trailer are the relevant extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, July 12, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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