Sunday, 4 December 2011
The live action Akira movie, a sign of even more Hollywood incompetence.
"Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother, Tetsuo, is abducted by government agents led by The Colonel. Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers. Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind. Kaneda clashes with The Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island, as he did thirty years ago."
The first change that is clear is the changing of Kaneda from a teenage delinquent to a bar owner. This was probably done due to the actors being older, but that doesn't mean he still cant be the leader of a biker gang. The opening bike sequence from the anime is a fantastic display of kinetic action and brute force on bikes. It demonstrated the harsh gang violence situation plaguing Neo-Tokyo, and at the same time further conveyed Akira's themes. Changing Kaneda to a bar owner possibly means a sequence like this will not be appearing, but also means that some of the source materials themes will be missing, which is very disappointing.
The other disappointing change is that the film be be set in Neo-Manhattan rather than Neo-Tokyo. once again this removes the heavy Japanese themes form the manga and anime. The setting of Neo-Tokyo explores themes ranging from the atomic bombing of japan all the way to its post war crisis. You cant just abolish those themes in favor of a different setting, because in the process you make the prevalent themes form the source material completely pointless.
Tetsuo's role is also different. He is Kaneda's brother and he is being used to release Akira, rather than going on a rage fueled rampage due his inferiority complex. He did seek Akira in the source material, but it was because of his own curiosity on the powerful being. This synopsis seems to suggest that the colonel and military want Akira to be released, while in the source material they are hell bent on stopping it. It says "Kaneda clashes with The Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late.". Why would the troops stop him from preventing Akira's release? do they want Neo-Manhattan destroyed?. This also changes an aspect of the colonel's character. His character dislikes what his country has become, but he will do anything he can to stop its destruction. Here it seems like he is trying to release Akira to destroy Neo-Manhattan for unknown reasons.
The synopsis doesn't mention any of the political aspects of Akira, such as the revolution and the failure of the country's leaders to maintain the country's economic problems. If this means that those aspects will be also absent then it is another set of themes that will be missing.
In conclusion this short synopsis reveals a huge amount of things that have been changed and abolished. So far this film seems like a huge insult to all of Akira's fans and its legacy. It also seems like Hollywood doesn't understand the films themes, or why they resonate with an audience. Its seems like they saw the keywords "government" and" destruction" and pieced together the plot from that. Akira is a lot more than just a story about a rage fueled teenager using his powers to destroy things, its also about the nature of civilization and how tampering with a greater power or failing to control one can lead to civilizations destruction. It portrayed the apocalypse as the end of a civilization, but also as the start of a new one, where society can rebuild as long as competent people lead the revolution.
It almost showed destruction and economic turnmoil as not being the ultimate end, but being the a way into a new beginning. It treated it like a cycle where the end is still followed by a beginning in which a new society rises from the ahses and rebuilds itself. The manga and anime's themes still have meaning today, with economy's in disaster, revolution in the streets, and the military crossing the line. only time will tell if the film will be any good, buts whats for certain is that Hollywood is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.