[MA-SOC] Live-action "Akira", redux

Mandisa Washington mandisaw at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 25 13:00:35 EDT 2011

Serdar said:
> The politics and mysticism and pseudo-science are confounding enough to existing fans of the material. The first time I saw the whole thing, I was lost.

The first 2-3 times I saw it, I thought I was getting more info and understanding each time, but then I started reading the manga and realized that the movie is less useful than Cliffs' Notes. When they did the re-dub and theatrical re-release, I had read the first 1-2 volumes (of 6) and that alone was enough to have a *much* better grasp on who was who and what the motivations were, rather than being swept up in the ol' ultraviolence.

Man, if I had a genie-wish for this project, I'd want it to go to Chris Nolan - I think he's approaching the status of mid-career Stanley Kubrick (dir. of Clockwork Orange), and could strip away the unnecessary aspects (some stuff just won't work) to produce a damn fine movie. But kids, girls, and truly supernatural weirdshit are not his thing. (The Prestige comes closest to supernatural, but he's avoided that aspect in the Batman movies, and Inception was "just a heist movie". *heh*) Ridley Scott of maybe 20yrs ago (dir. of Bladerunner) would've been a good choice, but he's not in that angry/snarky mode anymore.

>My thesis was that the only reason they're set up as anything remotely approaching protagonists is because they're younger than the 
> opposition and still in the position of being able to learn from their mistakes -- and they're /still/ pretty insufferable.

> I suspect the casting reflects a change in the story where the ages of the characters have been shoved ahead. Now that I think about it, it 
> might well be a comment on the fact that in their future, people are capable of indulging in prolonged adolescent behaviors far more easily than before

Yeah, sure. Or they're just shounen heroes/villains of a Crapsack World. That "can-do" spirit gets so warped into selfishness and utter-immaturity that it's almost a relief when horrible stuff happens to them. Making them older is a Hollywood-necessity, but I'm only willing to accept grown-up adolescents so far before it just makes a person angry. Besides, the story's deeply rooted in cyberpunk principles/tone - it's got to be kids or teens/20s because then it feels like their potential has been denied or stripped away. If it's folks in their 30s/40s, you feel like, well they lived a life already.

Even The Matrix had main characters that were kind of old for the material. But I guess they were going for the code-monkey/cubicle-jockey audience (and successfully!), so they went with the age-range they did.

> I also worry that if it stiffs or has its plug pulled in production, it'll be bad news for a lot of other such productions currently being considered.

Actually this already happened. Akira *had* a greenlight a few years back, but they saw how Speed Racer failed to thrill audiences over the age of 10 - it's brightly colored and frenetic just like anime! - and got a bit wary of big-budget projects of this sort. Then DB:Evolution shocked everyone in Hollywood by failing miserably and strangely not sparking a new franchise - it's faithful to the anime characters! guys in masks/crazy wigs so they look the same! - and instead of realizing that good writing and acting are still a requirement, they just concluded that these anime-adaptations were more trouble than they're worth.

Since Hollywood has decided to focus squarely on male (and occasionally female) tweens, they might forgo making a good Akira adaptation, and just make something with lots of "your head a-splode". But it's still Warner Bros., makers of nearly a century's worth of great stories, so I hold out some hope. (And the writer-director may well change again before production ends...)


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