Incredibly, Eternal Diva is probably the first movie based on a video game that is actually good.
By my definition of a good video game movie, I’m referring to how the film is able to capture certain elements from the original game, while managing to stay entertaining and watchable.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children does not count, because I never played FFVII. And half the time, I couldn’t decipher what the heck was going on in Advent Children’s story.
For the uninitiated, Eternal Diva is a prequel movie to the popular Professor Layton series of puzzle games for the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS.
The two internationally-released DS games so far, Professor Layton and the Curious Village and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, have sold millions of copies worldwide, and are incredibly popular for their brain teasers, quirky characters, and mystery-adventure stories.
Eternal Diva manages to incorporate the game’s puzzle solving into the film pretty well (fear not, that’s not the entire point of the movie). And in true spirit to the Layton games: there’s the careful unraveling of a grand mystery and whodunit, some over-the-top moments, and a couple of ridiculous bits and minor plot holes added for good measure.
But don’t worry. Unlike Diabolical Box, there are no outrageously implausible plot twists this time round.
Layton fans will instantly recognize many of the references and cameos in the film.
Ace Attorney fans will also get a kick at all the Phoenix Wright finger-pointing (an intentional reference by the film’s creators, perhaps?), as well as Layton’s logic-processing scenes — a clear throwback to Miles Edgeworth’s logic puzzles in Ace Attorney: Investigations. Comes complete with epic “brain-swooshing” sound effects.
Rounding it all off are the excellent soundtrack and voice-acting, the brilliantly crisp and colourful animation, some action sequences… and yes, there’s also the obligatory Michael Bay explosion.
Even if you’ve not played the games, Eternal Diva stands out on its own as a great animated film.
Wholeheartedly entertaining and heartwarming, with a dash of British wit and eccentricity.