Phoenix Wright Live Action Movie – Objection??!!!

The movie will not be officially released till February 11, 2012 in Japan, so there may not be a clear verdict yet.  Nonetheless, recent trailers circulating the web for this adaptation of the popular video game and manga series have given us, the jury, something to ponder.  Notable aspects taken from the game, as shown in thetrailers, are the inclusion of several major and minor characters from the franchise as well as a few notable story aspects from the series.  Also, there appears to be demonstrated an incredible attention to detail in character costuming down to the zany hair styles that would generally defy real world physics.

However, costuming and character design alone do not an epic film adaptation make.  So it might be worth noting that this film does have one going for it in that it is directed by veteran director Takashi Miike.  Mind you, this is a double edged sword.  Actually it might even seem like an odd choice if you consider that his initial rise to fame was partly due to the controversial film Ichi the Killer.  In fact it was so controversial, due to the high levels of graphic violence, that it was heavily censored in many of its international releases.  Furthermore, it was so over the top gory that the attendees at the film festivals where it was first shown were offered movie branded vomit bags, just in case.  Also, of concern is the fact that in many of his works, Miike seems to even show a penchant for scenes of the extreme macabre, ultra-violent, overtly bizarre and deeply twisted.  It is not surprising that he has cited admiration for directors such as David Lynch and David Cronenburg.

In his defense, however, Miike has seemed to become somewhat of a reformed man in recent years.  Lately, he has been directing films which are live-action adaptations of anime and manga series such as Yatterman, Salaryman Kintaro and even the family friendly Ninja Kids.  All of these show a softer side of Miike with scenes of unabashed zaniness in place his normal dark scenes of the macabre.  While the trailer for the Phoenix Wright movie may seem a bit dark and brooding, as compared to the lighthearted tongue in cheek video games, it may or may not ultimately be indicative as to the overall nature of the movie.  This of course, is all conjecture on my part and by no means admissible in court, so to speak.  However, it will be interesting to see exactly which part of Miike’s personality directed this work; or if in fact it skates a fine line between the darkly disturbed and deeply wacky.  Either way, this juror is prepared to do his civic duty in sitting through the entire hearing when court is marked to be in session.

Author: Jeremy

Jeremy was first introduced to anime with heavily edited versions of Mazinger Z (aka Tranzor Z in the US), GoLion (aka Voltron) and Macross (aka Robotech) while growing up in the 1980's. Since then his tastes have evolved into a fairly eclectic mix of anime with a soft-spot for underdog shonen stories, psychological/cyber-punk stories and select love comedies. Jeremy was also the head organizer of Anime Souffle anime club in Los Angeles. It was at an Anime Souffle meeting where he met Michael Huang and eventually was invited to join as a guest co-host for Scattered Cells Podcast episode #6 in February of 2007. Afterwards he became an official part of the Anime Diet crew.

8 thoughts on “Phoenix Wright Live Action Movie – Objection??!!!

  1. I’m pretty sure Miike will be fine. And it isn’t so much that his style has reformed in any way, but rather that the realm he initially came from (V-Cinema) is essentially gone, and his reputation has helped him secure gigs that only make the studios happy due to his almost legendary efficiency. In many ways, this is a hand-in-glove project for him in his post-Zebraman phase.

    As to whether or not this film will be any good? We can only wait.

  2. Don’t get me wrong, I pretty much agree that is the case. I like much of his work as well and think he is a talented director. However, most of the articles I was reading out there (that I saw anyhow) didn’t talk much about the director of this film. I didn’t even realize that he was directing it until my research later. I found it interesting and felt it necessary to give the readers a bit of background. I have to say that from my point of view it is kind of weird to see him make such movies as Ninja Kids now-a-days (of course he also recently made the excellent 13 Assassins recently). I also remember watching his work for the Masters of Horror series that was on Showtime a while back. The trailer for this movie does have a much more serious overtone than compared to the games so it will be interesting to see if he adds anything in that arena.

  3. Furthermore, it’s rather tongue in cheek for me to say that he is reformed. Certainly he is the same person in many ways with no-doubt a preference to make the type of films of he enjoys more. However, he also has been reformed by needing to make a living in what is a tight film market in Japan. Much tighter than film market here to be sure.

  4. I’m not super familiar with the franchise, but I do know that Miike has always had a taste for the goofy, and to say even in a tongue-in-cheek way that he’s “reformed” isn’t all that accurate since he’s always done a pretty wide range of things (The only thing that needing to make a living has done is cause him to make literally dozens of movies a year). Ichi the Killer and Audition are well-known but probably the exception: I’d say the bulk of his flicks, be they horror, gangster, or something else (even the theatrical ones), have had a screwball B-movie quality to them that could work pretty well for a super-powered unrealistic courtroom epic.

    Maybe it’ll do well enough that he can rest for a second, and go shopping for some fancy tracksuits or whatever he’s into these days (sadly google images couldn’t help me find the pink tracksuit I wanted).

  5. Okay, maybe it’s time to have a “re-trial” since my use of the word “reformed” seems to have created some “legal controversy” here. I had no intention of stating that Miike is literally “reformed”. The only reason I used the word was to be “tongue-in-cheek” (like I said in my earlier replies) because of the term’s connections to the legal system. Notice I used words like “jury” when referring to the audience. Did I literally mean that I thought they were a literal jury in a in literal courtroom? Of course not, that would be just plain silly. Nonetheless, the court of my otaku peers seems take some umbrage to my saying Miike is “reformed”. XD

    Perhaps that is my fault in that I have not “made my case clear”, so much so that some have ended up taking it more seriously than it was intended. However, let me “approach the bench” and assure you that I did not mean this statement in the manner it seems to have been taken. My entire point was to compare the interesting differences in Miike’s earlier works (which I primarily knew him for) to this project and other recent ones in a humorous court related way.

    Nonetheless, I freely admit that I am speaking about something that hardcore Miike fans and asian cinema otakus know much more about than myself. To that I humbly bow my head and freely admit I am not worthy of your greater expertise that you have so freely bestowed upon me with your comments. Please forgive my blasphemy and do not condemn me entirely. XD

    Finally, be advised that this article was really meant to be a fluff piece and not a totally serious one. So please, try not take it that so seriously and I will try not to take your comments so seriously as well, okay? XD I throw myself on the mercy of the otaku court. Please strike my previous statement of Miike being “reformed” from the court record of you troubled minds and appreciate (or hate) my piece for what it is and not what it isn’t.

    P.S. I really would like to see pictures of Miike in a pink track suit. Thanks creating a truly bizarre image in my mind. XD

  6. the courtroom metaphors! You’ve made me say uncle. Didn’t mean to be too harsh on your wording, just wanted to express that as a big Miike fan I think he could swing it. At the very least, it’s always good to see what he turns out just for the head-scratching factor, even if it’s not “good” per se. I will continue my search for that pic on the web, I have it in a book.

  7. Actually, I quite agree with you and never meant to truly imply otherwise. I actually think he is a good fit for the job (especially after seeing trailers for some of his other works). I actually can’t think of anyone else that I would rather see do it. I was less familiar with his more zany works previous to this and actually have been inspired to check them out. I just find it kind of interested that the director who was once made such controversial ultra-violent exploitation type films is making these kinds of movies now. It’s seems akin to Quentin Tarantino making a Super Mario brothers movie (although I sure he would have done a much better job than that horrid flop of a SMB film that was made). Thanks for the comments.

  8. I actually wouldn’t mind waiting for the opportunity to see the Phoenix Wright movie. The trailer is pretty authentic to the game, so that is great. The hair, while gravity defying is not anything different than a sentai show or the live action Sailor Moon series. I would actually love to see Nintama Rantaro and read the manga eventually. Yattaman that was released a couple of years ago to much fanfare in NYC was a decent attempt for its revival status. I see this director is taking the usage of familiar faces for those who follow Japanese entertainment.

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