Friday, July 13, 2007

Live-Action Cartoons....

I had originally planned an article on the transformation of cartoons into live-action movies/tv series. Specifically as related to trying to bring more... respectability? to anime and cartoons in general. Well, part of what I had written so far involves the fact that I would like to see a G.I. Joe movie. So, imagine my surprise when this article came waltzing across my RSS feed tonight. Apparently, I'm not the only person that wants a G.I Joe movie, apparently Hazbro and Dreamworks do as well.

Anyways, here's the article in question...

A week or so ago, on The AnimeBlog there was an interesting article/write-in poll discussing the potential of live-action movie versions of various anime series. Then additionally, I had to write a blog entry when I heard about the upcoming Thundercats live-action movie. Comic-books and cartoons have long been a source of fodder for Hollywood quite often with mixed results at both the box office and in home-video sales. I mean, there have been some gems such as the original Superman and Batman, and then there have been others such as Superman IV, Batman Forever, Howard the Duck and Masters of the Universe.

Frankly, I'm of two minds of this phenomenon.

On the one side, I still remember atrocities to my childhood, such as those listed above.

On the other, I want to see the field of anime improve, and it to become more acceptable in wider-culture. Hopefully even at some point for the powers that be realize that not everything that is drawn is for children.

Anyways, the article/poll asked the question which anime we want to see made into a live-action movie.

What I found interesting is that a lot of the folks over there in the comments pointed to a lot of action-oriented animes, over the drama-based ones.

Personally, I think that would not be helpful for anime as a genre.

Why do I think that? It's quite simple actually. For every good comic-book or cartoon based live-action movie, there are a dozen that are... well calling them tripe would be nice. In the end even the good ones are ignored by any type of awards not generated by the fans. The same applies to most action movies, or anything described as a summer blockbuster.

Would I like to see some good action series turned into live-action movies? Of course. G.I. Joe, Inuyasha and The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers are some of the many cartoon action series that I would l love to see made into live-action movies. I mean imagine Mark Wahlberg running around as Duke or Famke Janssen as Niko.

But, at that point I have to question just why I would want cartoons made into live-action films. After all, the things done in cartoons are easier and often more over the top than what is done in live-action. Consider, they blew up the Earth in Titan A.E. how much more over the top can you get than that? Basically, you can destroy things, make bigger explosions and pull off a lot more interesting special effects in a cartoon over a live-action movie.

Frankly, what I would want changed, is that tendency of most adults in the USA to ignore animated fare, or worse, deem it for children just because it is animated.

In the end, just saying, "hey we want explosions!" isn't good enough to fight that.


Because no one would care.

At all.

It would be impossible for it to be a critical success, forget any type of awards. Consider, when was the last time an action flick made it to the Academy Awards for best picture? Or really, anything that could be considered a summer blockbuster?

I guess my qualification would be that I want an anime turned into a live-action flick which my wife would want to see. Mainly, so I can point at it, and say "See Princess, cartoons aren't just for our four year-old. You can stop mocking my watching them now."

So, what types of stories would that need to be? A drama of course. Those types of emotional movies that the Academy loves.

Which leads me directly into the two animes I would want to be made into live-action first: Air and Kanon.

Both of these are very good storylines with strong protagonists. Of the two, Air would probably be the better choice, as it's storyline would be easier to condense into a two-hour movie. Kanon's would need a bit more due to the number of plots going on in that series, actually in Kanon's case, it would probably be better off as a television series rather than a movie.

There are a lot of good dramas and slice-of-life animes out there, few of which ever actually make it to the states (for some odd reason, the licensing folks have a tendency to think we all want the action stuff aimed at 13 year old males). Happily though, that appears to be changing.

My question to everyone else would probably be what cartoon/anime/manga would you like to see be made into a movie? And why?


Thrawn said...

I was just talking with my brother recently about who to cast in a Joe live-action Joe film. It would get pricey after a while. :-)

Stephen Wrighton said...

And I think it might've been a post from you that made me realize how perfect Wahlberg would be as Duke.

That said, you'd only need a "name" for his character and maybe one or two others, everyone else can be second stringers.

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