Film Commentary

Why The Live-Action Film Adaptation of Akira is Going to Suck

July 1, 2010

King of the Capsules.

1. There is reason to believe that one of the Hughes Brothers (Albert) is going to direct the first installment, which of course, is the same guy that aided in grotesquely dumbing down Alan Moore’s From Hell for the American ADHD popcorn movie crowd in 2001.  And, have you seen The Book of Eli

No thank you. 

If you want your post-apocalyptic fix, go see The Road … or play Fallout 3 … or watch George Miller’s The Road Warrior (again) … or … um … take out your collector’s edition Blu-ray and watch the anime version of Akira (again), and rue the terrible new English dub that replaced the great original dub from 1988.  Or, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then don’t let me interrupt you from watching that intense World Cup game.

2. It’s live-action … which means not animated.  Which means it’s going to look stupid.  Which means Katsuhiro Otomo should hold onto his copyrighted six-volume manga and his subsequent 1988 landmark anime-adaptation like they were his balls.  He ought to take a page from Stephen King’s notorious trepidation in allowing just any big budget studio exec from harpooning the Dark Tower series and transforming it into a McDonald’s happy meal-powered ad campaign and bonus action figure.

3. It’s Hollywood.

4. It’s Hollywood.

5. It’s Hollywood.

6.  Henry Poole is Here writer Albert Torres will likely pen the screenplay.  If you’ve seen Henry Poole is Here, then you will know that Torres has absolutely no business writing a live-action adaptation of Akira.  What does he have in mind?  Akira the Music Video?  Is he even a fan of the manga?  Does he even know what “manga” is?  Will Shotaro Kaneda see a birdshit stain on his motorcycle and feel convinced that it is the spitting image of Jesus Christ?

7. /Film reports:

Albert Hughes just appeared on a Washington, DC radio show (via Film School Rejects) where he talked about the film being PG-13 and the idea that he might only direct the first of two planned films. (One adapting the first three manga volumes, and the second volumes four through six.)

PG-13 isn’t a big deal, nor is it a surprise. This is going to be a massive production, and after Watchmen I can’t imagine that Warner Bros. is terribly eager to drop $150m+ on an R-rated film with niche fan appeal. If The Dark Knight can work as a PG-13 film then so can Akira. As Hughes says in the interview, it’s a challenge, but it can be done.

Correction:  No.  It can’t be done.  Akira is R-material.  It always has been.  It always will be.  Period. 

Don’t believe me?  Please observe exhibit A:

PG-13. Sike.

That’s all for now.

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  • Reply alastor993 September 17, 2010 at 2:34 am

    I so agree with you! I mean; have you ever seen a good “Hollywood-live-action-manga”? Think of Streetfighter and shit like that!
    Akira rules! The novels where fantastic and the anime is brilliant!
    Hollywood should stop raping good Asian films!

    • Reply Skavinger October 18, 2010 at 11:53 pm

      Very much agreed. Akira is a milestone in manga and anime; Hollywood just has no right, I say. Especially the Hughes Brothers.

  • Reply More fodder for why the live-action adaptation of Akira is going to suck ass « In Harsh Light November 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    […] effused heretofore in my previous harangue in July, this is a predictably aesthetic misfire, one of post-apocalyptic proportions.  […]

  • Reply Les December 22, 2010 at 7:07 am

    The Hughes brothers are not good filmmakers. There best film is probably From Hell and even that sucked.
    There only really big hit was Book of Eli which also sucked and I attribute the success of that film On Denzel Washingtons power to open a movie. Overall, bad idea!

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