By now I am sure we all know that Warner Bros along with Leonardo DiCaprio are currently developing a live action ‘AKIRA' movie based on the Katsuhiro Otomo's six-volume graphic novel and the Japanese animated classic. A live action Film was bound to happen, it was only a matter of time. Better that it happens now then back in the 90's that's for sure. With the technology we have today, there is no doubt the film will look fantastic. But what about the story? That is the backbone of any film and us fans want to see this movie dealt with in the best possible way.
Latinoreview got itself a review of the script from one of their readers. It sounds like it will be extremely faithful to the story we all know and love. But there are a few things that are just really kind of weird. The main character of the film is Kaneda I assume DiCaprio will take that role. But what about Travis. Travis? You ask? It looks like they changed Tetsuo's name to Travis? Good grief. Yeah that was a major joy kill. They really went out on a limb there to Americanize it didn't they?
They also say that the film will be split into 2 separate movies. So there will be a Part 1 of Akira and a Part 2.
Here is part of the review from the first script:
The people out there who demand faithfulness in adaptations and remakes should be pleasantly surprised, even if not outright delighted by this script; sure, a few elements are slightly watered-down, Hollywood-ized, Americanized - but there is no outright wrecking, ruining, or childhood raping going on here. All things considered it is shockingly faithful to the source material, at times reading like a flat-out transcript/description of the animated movie, and even incorporating aspects of the original manga that were left out of the anime version. It is faithful not only in plot and character details, but in tone. It retains the darkness, the violence, the epic qualities and even some of the themes, though they've been tweaked, Americanized, and updated to apply to current events. They are also maybe a bit less complex, but still this is admirable. This adaptation actually retains a lot of the style and, more surprisingly, substance of the original. If you are already a fan, you will probably like this adaptation, because a lot of the same things are good about it.
The other side of that coin, though, is that it's not bringing many fresh ideas or perspectives on the material to the table. What I love about good remakes or adaptations, what in fact makes some of them good, is that they are opportunities for artists with distinct voices and visions to take already existing works and re-interpret them, pay respect to them but use them to say new things and make them their own. There is very little of that happening here. Don't get me wrong, as much as I'm talking about how faithful it is, a lot of that reaction is due to my surprise that it's not a complete bastardization. We're not exactly talking Gus Van Sant's Psycho levels of slavishness here. But it's not a particularly fresh take either. Neither infuriatingly dumbed-down nor invigoratingly creative and exciting, it just kind of exists - at least as a script.
The big, looming unknown that remains now is if the quality of the filmmaking can not only do justice to the words on the page, but ultimately to help justify the whole thing's existence. The original is known as much if not more so for being a stunning visual feast as it is for its story and themes, so if this project fails in that regard it will probably be a disappointment regardless of how true the script is to the source. And at the same time, I think what I've said above applies to currently slated director Ruiri Robinson just as much as it does to the writer; if he just apes the visual style and shots of the original it'll get points for being faithful but won't be very exciting or interesting. It's going to need to look just as good, but at the same time different to really stand apart from the other version, at least in the eyes of this fan.
This first film is being fast tracked for a Summer 2009 release. I am not sure how far into development they are but I don't see how they are going to make a decent movie in such a short amount of time. Look at ‘Iron Man' that's on the fast track and it wont get a release until 2010. Good lord I hope they don't screw this up by rushing it.
Joseph Gordon Levitt is rumored to play Travis.
Head on over to Latinoreview to read the rest of the review.