Finally, a videogame movie that seemingly lives up to its inspiration.

Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Gyakuten Saiban — unsurprisingly the Japanese film uses the series’ Japanese title — doesn’t hit movie screens until early 2012, but based on this trailer things look very promising.

Apparently the film follows the plot of the first Phoenix Wright — sorry for the culture shock, but I’m using the American terminology from here on out — game, most crucially the death of Mia Fey and the drama that spirals out of that. Fans of the game, even those who can’t speak Japanese, should be able to make out familiar touchstones in that trailer. The judge. Maya. Phoenix’s physics-defying hair. Tell me those things don’t look spot on. Go ahead, I dare you.

I don’t know why I’m acting so shocked here. The film is being directed by the brilliant Takashi Miike. Capcom’s series is defined by its mix of pathos and wacky comedy, so Miike’s unmatched ability to switch genres at the drop of a hat should come in handy. After all, this is the man who directed the phenomenal, Kurosawa-esque 13 Assassins, only months before the family-friendly Ninja Kids!!!

And I think his work on Ichi The Killer — specifically that hilarious/disgusting opening bit — proves that Miike can blend human emotions together at will.

On a depressing note, the odds of Gyakuten Saiban — this article needs a localization team — ever making a big splash in America are slim to none. The Phoenix Wright series is popular enough here that we’ll likely see a subtitled release of the film at some point, but I wouldn’t hold out hope for some Hollywood studio giving this movie the big budget treatment.

On the upside, that means I won’t ever have to write an article speculating on who might star in the American remake. Which is good because nobody wants to read 1,500 words of overt praise for Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

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