Thursday, June 18, 2009

One may die: The Akira live action that never was

So the other may live.

Well it’s not that messianic, but it seems official that the Akira live action film is totally DOA as of a little while ago. I think I can participate in the collective sigh of relief with much of the movie watching community to know that “Akira” will not go the way of Speed Racer, Dragon Ball, and Street Fighter, and descend into the collective utter crap-fest that is the cinematic evolutionary branch of “Hollywood Re-make.” Such a feeling however, must be tinted with a shade of regret for what might have been. Could an Akira live action be a good movie? Sure it could. Would it have been? Almost assuredly not. The only way to make it a good movie, would be to re-make it, shot for shot, with as much of the original story intact as possible. What would have happened though, is the inevitable “new vision” or “updating” or “tweaking for a new audience” that would have run roughshod over any actual script/technical advisers they had on the project… if any. I could see an ending where some Caucasian looking Kaneda modding his motorcycle A-Team style with rockets controlled by a PSP or some shit, for a final showdown with Tetsuo who doesn’t have psychic powers or a disgruntled anti-social youth culture mind set, rather he’s been taken over by some A.I. which runs all of future-mega-tokyo-robot-land and slowly turns him into a cyborg which allows him to do shit like fling garbage trucks at Kaneda while rolling down a highway all i-Robot style as he rides on his future-bike to the center of the city to finally free his kidnapped love interest who was invented for the movie and is played by played by Kristin Kreuk. And they wonder why people don’t bother going to movies anymore. Thank you “Legend of Chun Li.”

But whenever the noodly appendage closes a door, the great Flying Spaghetti Monster opens a can of awesome somewhere else. Futurama is finally getting the Family Guy treatment and is getting some new episodes made. I like Futureama a lot, but after feeling so fucked over (not as bad as “who is Cartman’s Father fucked over, but fucked over none the less) by the Family Guy “DVD Movie” (that shit was so bad I actually gave it away in front of a Best Buy to prevent someone from buying it and wasting their own money), I didn’t get that into the Futurama “movies” even though they were cleaver, a fun watch, and animated just fine. But, I am happy about this new development and hoping for Hulu distribution, even though from here in Tokyo I have to keep going to new lengths just to get around Hulu’s international filtering bullshit (FYI it works better if you… wait, no they’ll probably find out about that just that much faster if I spill the beans here). I know what you’re thinking and don’t even start.

The resurrection of Futurama is a positive outcome of an otherwise dismal development of producers being terrified of new and creative ideas in Entertainment, aka “Hollywood is out of Ideas,” which is so awesome when you see smart new films like “The Hangover” beat total shiat like “Land of the Lost.” It’s not that I want to see movie theaters go away, but they are the single only collective group which still enables the MPAA and their stifiling of the creative process. Labels and studios would gladly leave those fuck-wads in the dust if theater box office receipts dipped low enough to make them less relevant. The fact that the MPAA is a private and not a government organization will allow movie makers to drop their participation in the “voluntary” rating system without a single bit of interference.

But the “out of ideas” disease is unfortunately in full swing here in the land of Otaku culture as well, as we get ready for more reboots. One which I am particularly loathe to see is the Azumanga Daioh manga republication. It’s the same story… drawn again. This time however the art is disturbing much more on the Yotsuba side of things. Now artists can get better and one look at the early atrocities of Kozuke Fujishima when compared to later works, show that this is an almost universally good thing (except for Rumiko Takahashi who has gotten worse, and Masamune Shiro who went from meh to awesome to crazy). Not in this case however, where the signature style of what made Azumanga Azumanga are gone, only to be replaced with what looks like lazy practice drawing. The notion that time and money are going into something we’ve seen before and not something new. You can see Azuma’s poor excuse about pulling a George Lucas on the series on his personal site here (Japanese). Look for the new and improved Azumanga Daioh anime to have the airgun replaced with a walkie talkie in the matsuri scene, and for the character of Tomoe to be played by Jar Jar Binks.

If it sells books then great, but if the story is the same and the art has less detail, then I’d rather have something I haven’t read before.