Movie Review: Ace Attorney (2012)

For the second time in this blog’s history I am posting a movie review. Like the one I did for Wreck-It Ralph this one’s exceptional.

To my fellow Ace Attorney Fans: In case you’ve been living under a rock and/or missed my panel at Anime Boston, a movie adaptation of the first four cases in the first Ace Attorney game was released last year. As of this writing there is no English dub official or otherwise.

Someone did upload the full movie with English subtitles, though (Turn CC on):

I’ll do things backwards and give this the rating first: 8/10. The time constraints of turning it into a movie is the main reason I didn’t give it a perfect 10. You could obviously tell certain parts–specifically at the beginning–were rushed. Even so the movie struck that balance between being recognizable to fans of the source game and telling a damned good story.

Before I continue the rest of this review contains MAJOR SPOILERS for events from cases 2 through 4 of the game as well as the movie. Only read on if you don’t mind being spoiled.

I’ll break this down by case in the order they were done in the movie.

Case 1-1: More or less skipped to the end of the trial. Mia literally walks in and solves the case for Wright. The confetti after the Not Guilty was an AWESOME touch as was Frank Sahwit throwing his wig at Wright’s face just like he does in the game.

Case 1-3: Same as above only Wright is not there. Edgeworth is the prosecutor against an unnamed public defender. Again, the case is solved by the time the scene happens.

Case 1-2: The Ace Attorney and The King of Prosecutors face off in court at last. We also get to see some channeling action from Maya during the trial. Unlike the game April May and Marvin Grossberg (and references to them) don’t appear in the movie. In fact the Gatewater Hotel is not even mentioned. With a little help from Mia (being channeled by Maya) Wright solves the case only unlike in the game White doesn’t deny to the end.

Case 1-4: The main event. The actor playing Von Karma just sells it. For every move Wright makes Von Karma is always a step ahead of him. Even after Wright proves his guilt in the DL-6 Case Von Karma walks out of the courtroom under his own power.

For the purposes of the movie the changeup worked.

There are two moments from the movie I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

This one:

And this one:

All I can say to the production team is WELL DONE. Hollywoodhad its chance and thankfullt Capcom went with a Japanese studio for the live action movie. Hopefully they can bring Justice For All, Trials & Tribulations and possibly even Apollo Justice to the big screen.

Now, since I know some of you are gonna wanna know how the characters in the movie were in comparison to the games, I’ll break it down:

  • Phoenix Wright was spot on. The look was fine and his skills in the court were impressive to say the least. As Edgeworth indicated no one in their right mind would willingly face Von Karma in court expecting to win. In the games the only person who got close was Gregory Edgeworth (Miles Edgeworth’s father). Even though the senior Edgeworth lost he was able to prove Von Karma forged evidence during the trial.
  • Miles Edgeworth’s personality was there. Unlike Wright you didn’t see alot of his courtroom mannerisms from the game though the charisma was definitely there.
  • Mia Fey’s appearances where brief though I’d say the actress did an excellent job. The trump card she mentions at the beginning isn’t referenced again until the exact moment Wright needs it the most at the end of the last trial.
  • Maya Fey served as more of a support in and out of court than she did in the games. She didn’t play comic relief though with Larry Butz in the film things turned out fine.
  • Larry Butz’s movie portrayal was exactly how I thought they’d do it. He played the dual roles of being the comic relief throughout the movie and supporting Wright and Edgeworth. You could feel it more in the movie than in the game Larry’s testimony blew the case wide open.
  • Dick Gumshoe…whew. They made him competent! For the movie it works. He doesn’t really do anything outside what he does in the game but the way he’s portrayed you can’t help but respect the guy.
  • The Judge doesn’t provide much comic relief like he does in the game. Even so he keeps things orderly.
  • Manfred Von Karma’s actor must have done his homework. He had the attitude down. Some people say he (The movie version of Von Karma) wasn’t bad enough. I think he was spot on. For me, his most powerful moment was at the very end when his guilt is established. Obviously they couldn’t do the hand-banging he does in the game but the speech he delivers at the end reminded me of the one Light Yagami does in the final episode of the Death Note Anime.
  • Redd White had a different look and a slightly different persona but the arrogance was definitely there. Killing him off was an unexpected touch.
  • Yanni Yogi…in the end you really feel sorry for the guy. Because of the DL-6 case he lost his wife, his reputation and I’m pretty sure his sanity. In my opinion the movie does a much better job with his character than the game.
  • Misty Fey’s appearance has me convinced they’re going to do a movie for JFA and T&T at some point. Otherwise why bother to give her an onscreen role?
  • Matt Engarde’s cameo at the end was out of left field and a mistake in my book. Anyone who’s played 2-4 (The last case in JFA) knows that case was a turning point in Wright’s career. They could just have the second movie focus on Morgan’s animosity towards Maya but they’d have to be careful not to dip into T&T.


That’s all I have to say really. I’ll leave the video embed up for folks to check out the movie. Here’s hoping an Eglish Dub is eventually released.




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