So many sites are reporting on Warner Bros. finally moving forward with a live action Akira movie, and the hot rumor is that now it will be a trilogy helmed by none other than Christopher Nolan.
Granted whenever Nolan’s name gets attached to anything (especially a licensed property well loved by nerds everywhere) people get excited, and rightfully so. Nolan is a fantastic director and he and his brother pen some delightful scripts as well, but I think even Akira is a bit out of his reach.
Now if any director could bring this to the screen Nolan is one of the best choices but I don’t know if Akria is going to translate well to live action. There is so much going on in the manga that even the anime movie adaption had to leave some things out. Not to mention the Anime ends at about the half way point of the manga. This was because the manga wasn’t completed yet. So here is the first problem with the live action adaption, will they just follow the incomplete anime, or the entire 2,000 paged, six volume manga series?
In my opinion I think an Akira film will speak more towards fans of the series than the general public, so trying to make a film based on the entire manga is a better choice. Akira will have some awesome set pieces but I feel will be too weird for most audiences, though having Nolan’s name attached will get butts in the seats. Also, given that WB wants to make a trilogy, following the entire volume would be a better choice since the anime is only 2 hours long, and since that is about the half way point you could easily take the other half of the manga and flesh it out along with other characters who are more fleshed out in the manga than the film.
The last two times anime has been given an American live action film they’ve been critical and financial failures. I am of course speaking of Dragonball: Evolution, and The Last Airbender (of course this is an American anime, but I’m counting it). This films were vastly changed from their source material in order to make them more relate able to a mainstream American audience. Both Dragonball and Avatar: The Last Airbender are not very complicated, and fairly as easy to understand as most American comics, so if these are changed for a mainstream western audiences what in the world are they going to do with Akira?
We nerds love when our favorite properties get the Hollywood attention, but when we really think about it, do we get good adaptations? Not that often, in fact a lot of times we often say, “well at least it wasn’t as bad as…” and we really shouldn’t be saying that, we should be walking out of theaters saying “holy shit that was awesome!”
People used to say that the Watchmen was un-filmable, but honestly it wasn’t, Zack Snyder just simply used the comic as a storyboard. You could say they could do that with the manga, but honestly it is too long to do that with just a trilogy,
I hate harping on it, but any studio doing this film is going to Americanize it (Neo Manhattan, instead of Neo Tokyo is just one), also pretty much any filmmaker is going to put his own spin on it, especially Nolan. Now this isn’t a knock again Nolan, but his Bat films were very much his movies with Batman as the inspiration. This isn’t a bad thing for Batman, Nolan’s take has very much the spirit of Batman. However, Batman has existed for over 75 years now and many creators on film, comic, and television have shaped the mythos, however, Akira has not. Akira has had one creator for both the manga and anime, Katsuhiro Otomo, so we’ve only had one voice directing this series so a new voice may alienate many Akira fans, and like I said above this series might be too weird for mainstream audiences.
In the end I feel a live action Akira film done for Western audiences in mind might be one of those things that are “be careful what you wish for…”
So what do you think about a live action Akira, are you excited, is Nolan the right director for it? Tell us in the comments section below.