By Comic Relief
If you’re a fan of comic books adventure or science fiction, you have heard that there are plans to do a live action version of the cult hit manga (or Japanese comics series) and groundbreaking anime’ movie, (or animated movie) Akira. When news of this event spread through both communities speculation ran wild regarding: who would make it, how it would be made, whether CGI had likely advanced enough to do the series justice, and who would star in it?
Eventually answers started to flood in. Warner Brothers (Batman and the Harry Potter franchises) would develop the effort. Recently naming Jaume Collet-Serra (“Orphan,” “Unknown”) as the director, production would be speared headed by Leonardo DiCaprio’s (Gangs of New York, Basketball Diaries) Appian Way (The Aviator, Shutter Island) artistic label. Variety claimed: Gary Whitta was the first writer attached, while Albert Torres and the team of Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby also contributed drafts. Steve Kloves, WB’s go-to scribe for its lucrative Harry Potter franchise, most recently polished Torres’ draft . There was confidence that CGI had advanced enough to handle both the apocalyptic story and all of the explosive morphing and telekinetic visual effects. Yet the production budget was recently lowered to a nine million dollar budget. A veritable “Who’s Who” of Hollywood’s most prestigious young acting talent including: Robert Pattinson, Chris Pine, Garrett Hedlund, Andrew Garfield, James MaCavoy, Michael Fassbinder were all supposedly contacted to put in their bids for starring roles of Kaneda and Tetsuo. And if the casting seemed odd than the notion that Akira would be a westernized version that was supposed to occur in New Manhattan rather than New Tokyo (as it was in the comic) might surprise you even more.
If any of this information is startling, you might appreciate a commentary on why this production is having such a hard time making it to the screen near you. What are the most likely reasons Akira has moved so slowly.
Is it because remakes are rarely successful artistically or financially? Concurring with this sentiment web critic Peter Hall claims:
“Sometimes a considerable amount of the movie will be changed for the better, other times it will look like some exec just ran the original script through a translator, but as a general rule, American remakes tend to be inferior.” .
Is it because Americans culture don’t fully understand day- to-day Japanese Culture well enough to execute the project? The embassy of the United States suggests some tension in the relationship between the two countries but suggests great continued area for mutual support:
“However, the economic problems in Japan and United States associated with the credit crisis and the related economic recession and how the two countries deal with those problems will likely dominate their bilateral economic agenda for the foreseeable future. Japan has been hit particularly hard by the financial crisis and subsequent recession. Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined 0.7% in 2008 and is projected to decline by 6.2% by the end of 2009 with a modest rebound expected in 2010. At the same time, the United States is showing some signs of recovery, at least according to some indicators.” .
Is it because of all of the hostility already expressed by fans of the series? Staff writers at Angry Asian man.Com claim:
“Honestly, we knew this was coming. It’s the Hollywood Whitewash doing its usual scrub. But this one definitely stings a little more, not only because the source material is a revered Japanese classic, but because taking it out of its original context and transplanting the story to “New Manhattan” completely changes the underlying issues and anxieties behind the story” .
According to Variety, Katsuhiro Otomo who wrote the graphic novel and directed the 1988 animated film has been hired to executive produce the new film. Do you believe this change will resolve all of the previous problems with this film project? .