Lights, camera, live action!

Will the dreams of hundreds of nerdy 15 year old boys finally come true? No, it’s not hundreds of hot, slutty, college-age girls to take their virginity. It’s their other dream. It seems a little more likely that there will be a live action Dragon Ball Z movie. 20th Century Fox has started production to make a live action DBZ movie in Montreal. It supposedly has a budget of at least 100 million dollars and is being filmed along with a sequel to Night and the Museum and a remake of Fantastic Voyage. What was once just the purview of internet hoaxes and fan boy speculation might actually become a reality. But is this actually going to be a movie you can watch in theaters or is this yet another doomed dream (or nightmare depending who you ask)?

This makes me laugh. A LOT! There is no way, none, zero, zip, that this movie could actually be GOOD. In my mind, it is 100% impossible. Inconceivable for my tiny brain! How could it be? Dudes running around in orange suits and silly armor with nutso hair, then add in the CG effects for all the moves and let’s not forget going super saiyan! Certain things that work fine in anime just aren’t going to cut it for live action. And I don’t see anything in Dragon Ball Z that would work in live action. It seems like some colossal joke.

You know the silly things is there are people out there who still want this. Despite the fact that it’s almost surely huge bundle of failure and pain. If you go around to enough anime forums the topic of who would you cast in the live action version of X anime invariably comes up. I’m sure if I were the type of person to read Dragon Ball Z forums I would have seen hundreds of threads like this by now.

Okay, now that I’m thinking about it. It could be kinda good. IF they did it like a Stephen Chow movie! Because Shaolin Soccer, among others, is great and funny and over the top. So if they did it like that, like they know it’s ridiculous, then it could be good. But they would still need Stephen Chow.

For the longest time, James Cameron has the rights to produce the live action version of Battle Angel Alita. He has kicked the project around for years but constantly put it off for one reason or another. Recently he announced that he would use the CG technology from his latest work, Avatar, to work on Battle Angel. It’s supposedly in pre-production and will be released in June of 2009, but that is so far off that it just seems like nothing more than a place holder date.

ADV used to talk about making a live action Evangelion movie for whenever they had the chance to do so. ADV seemed to have these huge plans to team up with Gainax. Evangelion has always been one of ADV’s and Gainax’s best selling series, so it seemed that if they could ever get the project made it would rake in money like gangbusters. They even got Weta Workshop involved in the project. ADV kept talking about scripts being written, directors and producers being interested and courted, and people making deals. There were articles being written in trade magazines and financial magazines. Then all the talk seemed to stop, and ADV mostly just says that they are waiting and so should everyone else.

I remember all the hype about that years ago. There were character designs and name changes and rumor after rumor! And you still can’t go to a con without someone asking ADV about it in their panel. Someone did make this totally awesome fake trailer for the movie, too. It Eva would look like this trailer, I’d be in.

I wonder how much the end of the talking had to do with Gainax doing their own independent remakes of the Evangelion movies. An optimist might say that ADV and Gainax are waiting to see how the remake movies will do and they work on the live action after that. A pessimist would assume Gainax just gave up on ADV and decided to just do what they could on their own. I assume the truth lies somewhere in between but maybe one has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

I guess that begs the question of, how long has Gainax planned on doing a remake of Evangelion? Because the live action rumors have been flying for at least 5 years I’d say.

I have heard rumors of a live action Voltron and a live action Gatchaman movie. Supposedly people are interested in mining some nostalgia of our childhood and making movies based on anime that were popular on American TV back in the day. The live action Voltron seems to be based on the American version of the cartoon and not of Go Lion as expected but the Gatachaman movie seems to be based on Gatachaman and not on G-Force or Battle of the Planets. If either of these movies actually gets made has yet to be seen.

I also heard that New Line Cinema optioned Monster to make it into a live action movie in the US but I have not heard anything about it since. Of all the movie possibilities mention I think this one has the best chance of working out well if a good script and cast was but together. The story is realistic enough that it could easily make the transition to live action. The story is smart enough and good enough that if you got together a good cast and a well adapted script it could do really well.

This seems like a good fit. Although based on a rather lenghty story, it seems to have the right elements to attract non-anime fans, too. Althoug , I could never really figure out if people actually liked this series or that is just happened jt to be hot on the heals of Death Note manga popularity. Either way I have it on good authority that is deserves all the attention it gets.

The problem is, big movie studios option movie ideas all the time, and sometimes with only a slight idea that they will ever make such a movie. So despite all this talk, it might all amount to nothing. Unless actual filming begins, most people tend not to believe anything because even if it’s not just a rumor, it does not mean such a project will ever get off the ground.

The one live action anime that is actually being made into a movie is Speed Racer. The Wachowski brothers are making a Speed Racer movie that has a cast and seems to actually be filming. There are some big time stars working on this including: Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon, and John Goodman. With the Wachowski brothers attached, it would take a master disaster to stop this movie from making it to theaters. I never really cared about Speed Racer one way or another, but I hope this movie does well. Why? Because if it does well, it might open the door to other anime being made into American live action movies. (Plus something will have to get the bad taste out of people mouths after the live action DBZ.)

I’m not really that keen on the idea of live action anime being made here. I dunno, I guess I’m a snob but if it isn’t something nostalgic, I figure they will change it so much it will be unrecognizable. Of course, at this point it is completely baseless because nothing has been done to compare it to. Well, I guess there is Transformers. Meh. So, for once I’m being pessimistic. Besides the Japanese do a good many live action adaptions that are pretty good, so I’ll stick with that!

While they have not been that many attempts at making a live action anime movie in the west, they are very common in Japan. Next time we will be talk about live action anime in their homeland.

Narutaki Currently!
Watching Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei
Reading Death Note
Listening to L’arc-en-Ciel

Brainwasher Detective (Hisui) Currently:
Watching The Story of Saiunkoku
Reading Akira
Listening to A Cruel Angel’s Thesis by Yoko Takahashi

2 thoughts on “Lights, camera, live action!

  1. Lothos says:

    The thought of a dragon ball live action movie tickles my brain and makes my belly chuckle. I just can’t…no matter how hard I think about it, and this topic made me think about it quite a bit, see that movie actually turning out to be good. The only reason I would watch it would be to see how ridiculously bad it turned out. Granted, I’m not a dragon ball fan at all, but even if I were…I don’t think that movie could ever be good.

    Monster I don’t think would make a good movie, simply because there is way too much story there to compact into a 2 hour time frame while keeping it cohesive. I do think it could make an excellent mini-series though. Perhaps 6+ 1 hour episodes, that would allow them to cut through a lot of the filler “oh Tenma is such a good person” episodes and focus more on the actual meat of the story.

    I also think that the time we are in now would be a great time for such projects. We’re seeing TV series and movies being made that 10 years ago studios would probably never seriously consider making, or never seriously consider being successful. Shows like Heroes, Buffy and its spinoffs, Charmed, and Smallville all were quite popular and were primetime network shows with multiple seasons. What I think is important is that these shows weren’t all focused on comedy, most were actually quite serious and geared towards an older audience. Right now I think a show like Monster, or Death Note, or other well written plot heavy shows with a penchant for the supernatural could be both seriously considered by studio execs and be successful in a domestic market. Such things are, for now at least, gaining a mainstream popularity.

    However…something like Dragon Ball, or Bleach, or Flame of Recca, or any other of the variously similar shonen titles out there I just couldn’t see as being a GOOD live action movie.

  2. phatbhuda says:

    Okay, after watching Dragon Wars in the theater, one thing I thought of was how they can make a dragon ball movie now that I’ve seen a believable representation of a serpentine/Asian style dragon in a movie.

    But then you think about all the craziness that’s in Dragonball, and it just doesn’t work. They can go 3 routes. One, make it like the anime/manga and it will suck. Two, tone it down and it might stand a chance. Three, go over the top comedy style like you guys mention.

    I’d watch it. It’ll be bad, but train wrecks of movies are enjoyable that way.

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