Approx. Runtime: 99 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes)
Language Watched: Japanese with English Subtitles
Other Language(s) Available: English
DVD Extra Content? None
Type of Movie: Mystery, Puzzle, Adventure
Overall Impression: Enjoyed it! A slow start but a strong finish. And lovely music, too!
PRE-REVIEW WARNINGIf you haven't played the 4th game, Professor Layton and The Last Specter, and you are somebody who likes to experience their franchises in order (I am one such person, usually), you may NOT want to read this review yet. Professor Layton and The Eternal Diva contains a character who's introduced in the 4th game. If you don't mind, then go ahead and read!
PERSONAL STANDING (Pre-exposures, thoughts, etc.)Ever since I played the first game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, I have always thought that this series could be made into an awesome anime series or anime-style movie. They [Level-5] were already partway there with their high-quality, uniquely-styled, animated cutscenes. All they had to do was attach the cutscenes together, and create a few more cutscenes as transitions.
So when I found out that there was an animated movie out in Japan, and that it was getting licensed, I was very happy and excited!!
STORY/PACINGEngaging plots were always a strong point the Professor Layton games, and this movie does not disappoint. Professor Layton receives a letter from former student (now famous opera singer) Janice. The letter talks about Janice's deceased best friend, Melina, coming back in the body of a young girl with the same memories as Melina. Melina claims that she has received the gift of eternal life. So Layton, Luke, and Emmy travel to investigate the matter. Ooo, mystery!
Left to right: Emmy, Luke, Layton
PACINGIt's very minor, but I thought the pacing was a little slow in the very beginning. The movie starts with Layton solving a completely different mystery, which we know nothing about. It's probably there to establish Layton as a puzzle, mystery-solving expert. For me, it was a little unnecessary and distracting -- I kind of wanted to know more about that mystery, but we never get to find out anything more about it. The pacing gets better after that.
PUZZLES IN A MOVIE?
No Professor Layton movie is complete without puzzles! And there are a few here. For those who have played the games, it would definitely bring an air of familiarity, seeing those numbers and hearing the same puzzle music track that's played in the games. The puzzles weren't detracting from the movie at all.
ANIMATED STYLE + VOICE-ACTINGAs you can tell from the screenshots, Professor Layton and The Eternal Diva is done in a different style from anime, and it works. The characters look charming; the setting and atmosphere look charming; everything about Professor Layton looks charming, simple, and unique.
The voice-acting is good and believable. I watched the movie in Japanese with English subtitles. I listened to a bit of the English dubbing and it sounded quite good as well. Layton, Luke, and Emmy all had British accents, which fits. The English dubbing doesn't always match with the English subtitles, though, which makes me wonder which script is more... accurate to what each character says.
MUSIC (Awesome, as always)The music in Professor Layton and The Eternal Diva follows the same style as the Professor Layton games, and it's awesome -- string and piano pieces done in Baroque style (sooooo gooooood!). The music enhances the mysterious atmosphere and works in expressing every scene, whether light, comedic, tense, or emotional. Some of the music from the games are also featured as re-worked tracks, while other tracks are new. You can take a listen to the opening movie track, which is a slight re-work of Layton's Theme in the video games.
STAND-ALONE-FRIENDLY? (Yes)There isn't much to say here. You don't have to play the games to understand the story or the characters in Professor Layton and The Eternal Diva, as the key characters are introduced well enough. A few character relationships aren't explained, but it doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment.
CLOSING THOUGHTS (Hmm...)Watch this movie! I greatly recommend it! It's a lovely story told by charming characters and wonderful music. It's a very enjoyable experience.
P.S. As always, if you're curious about anything or would just like to comment on anything, go ahead and respond! :)