The Fantasia Film Festival is the highlight of the summer …
I’ll come right out and say it: Takashi Miike’s Ace Attorney, based on the first entry of the popular Capcom video game series, is the single-best cinematic adaptation of a video game property of all time. Now some of the more snide readers out there will no doubt think that this a pretty low bar to clear. There’s at least a partial truth to that: the current all-time champion of video game (henceforth VG) movie critical acclaim is 2001’s Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, coming in at a cool 44% on Rotten Tomatoes (not that the RT metric is reflective of quality in any capacity, but that’s another discussion for another time). While the movie was a watershed moment from a technical standpoint (it had some of the most impressively detailed CGI in movie history up until that point), the consensus was the the film wasn’t engaging enough on an emotional level to be any good. The fact that it went way over budget and single-handedly killed off Square’s film production arm certainly didn’t help matters. As with anything, numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole truth either.
This latest effort is very much a hodgepodge of various ideas to shock and awe all cobbled together to make a two-hour long festival of insanity. In other words, Miike and the writers throw everything they can think of on the wall and leave it up to the audience to see what sticks and what does not. With a film that tosses in gags, both visual and verbal, at the rapid pace evidenced here, it comes as no surprise that not everything will land.
Few things in life are as shocking or unsettling as the betrayal of someone in whom one’s profound trust was invested. Close friends and relatives are two prime examples, but so are figures, such as priests (who have been caught in the spotlight for very un-Christian acts in recent years) and teachers.