NYAFF 2012: NY Premiere of Takashi Miike's ACE ATTORNEY

I remember being vaguely aware of Ace Attorney, the unlikely basis for Takashi Miike's latest mainstreamer, but never realized the game series had such a huge following. How huge, you ask? We're talking over 4 million units sold. That's a lot of cheddar for what's essentially a Japanese style RPG of Rumpole of the Bailey.

I was skeptical whether a game where you find clues and argue in court would translate well to the big screen or not. Would the end result be a Super Mario Bros. sized turd? Or would we get the nameless opposite? (Nameless because I can't think of one videogame movie that was actually any good. Can you?) One thing's for sure, there'll be no shortage of bad legal puns in this writeup, because the verdict is in! Despite not being privy to all the references and in-jokes, I had no cause for objection.

And neither did the audience that gathered at Walter Reade Theater for the New York premiere. By a show of hands, there were more Ace Attorney fans than Miike fans, and they let their love be known. Every time they burst into applause I knew Miike was doing something right. And this was 2:30 in the afternoon on a 90 degree day, when most New Yorkers were enjoying themselves in Central Park (although we had air conditioning, suckers!)

For this outsider, the 130 minutes of silly hairdo's and shoddy lawyering were a welcome diversion, and made for excellent counter programming to the "they rebooted this already?" spectacle of the new Spiderman flick. I found ACE ATTORNEY to be funny, over the top, and largely unpredictable for a mass market film. (Of course, what constitutes mass market in Japan will not necessarily appeal to American audiences.)

Another great theater experience for me at the 2012 NYAFF. If you have any hopes of a retrial, ACE ATTORNEY screens again on Sunday July 15th at Walter Reade.

You can read Ard's full review of the film HERE.

Joshua Chaplinsky is the senior editor for LitReactor.com. He also writes for ChuckPalahniuk.net. He was a guitarist in the band SpeedSpeedSpeed, and is the poison pen behind thejamminjabber, although he's not so sure he should admit it


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