Friday, November 14, 2014

Movie Review #43: Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

Last week, Cox's service went wonky in this area for a few days. We could access the Internet, but everything moved slowly, and download speeds were far too low to stream video. So, while looking around for something to watch that didn't involve streaming, I happened to come across a movie file I got back when Jeff and I were regularly watching movies based on video games in order to discuss them on the Fangamer Podcast. That didn't pan out, though, which is fine, since that meant I got to finally watch it last week!

Short review: Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva is exactly what you'd expect from a Professor Layton movie: there's puzzles, a mystery, a grand reveal somewhere along the line, and altogether a fairly cute story. However, the movie format doesn't bring much else to the table. It's a competent, adventurous movie, but watching it won't give you a deeper understanding of yourself or the Layton universe.


Sometime during the prequel years, when the Professor was still being assisted by his studious, energetic helper Emmy, he received an invitation to attend an opera from an old student of his. So, he and Luke attended the show while Emmy explored the nearby town, trying to figure out what sort of mystery might be going on that required the Professor's attention.

At the opera house, it turns out that most of the attendees were there because of a promise of immortality. However, only one attendee would get that immortality--the rest of the attendees would perish. Their host proposed a puzzle. Those who could figure it out would stay and move on to the next round, while the rest...

In any case, through this method the crowd would be whittled down until only one remained.


Of course, Professor Layton isn't actually that dark. The people who failed were shown to be simply hidden away and later released without harm. The one placed in the most danger at any time was Grotsky, the detective from Scotland Yard, who consistently proves himself to be more than manly enough to deal with hungry sharks, wolves, the ocean, explosions, and everything else thrown at him.

The primary thought exercise in the movie seems to be about the concept of immortality. Certainly many influential people are determined to acquire it at any cost, even after they know full well that the only way they can get it is at everyone else's expense.

This turns out to be more true than they realize, as it turns out that immortality is indeed possible through Descole's machine... though the immortal person would not be the person strapped to it. Rather, the stored memories of Oswald Whistler's daughter, Melina, would be transferred into them. Thus, in theory, she could live forever, given a new host every lifetime or so.

Whistler doesn't count on the fact that his daughter might not want to live at other people's expense, though. And so, the idea dies, and Whistler must come to terms with the loss of his daughter.

Although the puzzles are fun enough and the world is as charming as ever, there are a few problems with this movie. First, there isn't much of an exploration of the movie's main characters, Luke and Layton. They're there, and they do their thing, but the movie isn't really about them specifically. Though, perhaps that's a normal thing in mysteries? Regardless, my favorite Layton stories involve a significant personal stake for the Professor, and this movie did not have that.

Still, it was a fun movie, if not a terribly deep one. If you like Professor Layton, you'll probably enjoy the movie.

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