Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva: A Good Video Game Movie

Geek Culture

The Professor Layton video game series, developed by Level-5, is one of the most popular puzzle games for the Nintendo DS systems and even made it onto one of the GeekDad Holiday Gift Guides.

However, my kids haven’t yet played any of the games, which made them perfect test subjects to watch the movie Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva. Viz Media developed the anime which features just about all of the familiar characters from the games and the puzzles that made them so popular.

The question I had was whether it made a good movie, as translations of video games to movies have had mixed results at best. The answer from our household was that it’s worthwhile, though my sons were far more enthusiastic than I was. Watching the movie also prompted them to ask about the games.

The movie is about a former student of Professor Layton’s who is now a well-known opera singer. But she’s heard about someone in the city who’s offering eternal life and the Professor, his young assistant Luke, and the Diva all go to a show where a presentation is scheduled about this wonderful new opportunity.

In one of those leaps of imagination that makes anime so fun, the entire audience is then taken prisoner by a mysterious someone who promises them eternal life if they play the game right. If they play the game wrong, it’s death.

The puzzles come into play as Layton, Luke and the rest of the audience have to solve the ones presented by their captor to stay alive. And then things get stranger, as the audience is transported from the opera house to the possibly other-dimensional world of Ambrosia. There’s also a young girl who is possessed by a spirit who holds the key to the mystery. My boys thought it was wild and intriguing but I admit, I was creeped out a bit by the possessed girl. The audience who don’t play the puzzles right appear dead at some points in the narrative too, so I wouldn’t recommend this for younger children or those easily scared like, uh, me.

It retails for $19.99, but I noticed it’s currently on sale at Amazon for $14.99.

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