Professor Layton, true English gentleman and the world‚Äôs greatest amateur super sleuth, embarks on his most daring adventure yet when he receives a letter from his old student, the famous opera diva Janice Quatlane. She is to perform at the legendary Crown Petone Opera House and invites him to attend as her special guest. Meanwhile, a spate of disappearances hits London. Two young school girls are the latest victims, and the Professor suspects it‚Äôs related to the mysterious occurrences at the theatre. The Professor and his loyal assistant Luke travel to the Opera House to solve their toughest puzzle yet, the mystery of Eternal Life!
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (sometimes called Professor Layton: The First Movie, 2009) is the first feature based on the popular series of mystery games for the Nintendo DS, which has also been adapted to manga and novelizations. The story unfolds in a prolonged flashback, after the events in the fourth game, "Professor Layton and the Last Specter" (2009). The adept but understated Layton is an archeologist, puzzle-solver, and British gentlemen; Luke, his self-declared "No. 1 apprentice," serves as narrator. A message from Janice, a former student of Layton's who has become a celebrated singer, summons the Professor and Luke to the opening night of a new opera. But the musical premiere turns into an elaborate series of puzzles that an unseen perpetrator plays, and for very high stakes. The characters are drawn in a simple style that recalls the work of Osamu Tezuka, but the elaborate CG backgrounds clash with the minimal characters (as they did in the film of Tezuka's Metropolis in 2001). Given the popularity of the games--which have sold over 7 million copies--sequels will probably follow. This engaging and agreeable mystery-adventure will appeal to children who enjoy Famous Detective Holmes and Case Closed. (Not rated: suitable for ages 6 and older: cartoon violence, minor alcohol use) --Charles Solomon