Sometime in 1988 or 1989, my neighborhood indie theater ran a two-week engagement of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. The local film critic actually encouraged parents to take teenagers. My father, having no reason to doubt the word of a published journalist, brought me to a matinée screening of this “cartoon.”
1. My father would never trust a movie critic again.
2. I went from “kinda aloof” to “full-blown nerd.”
I am not telling you this because I put on my cool pants today and want you to be in awe of the fact that I was one of the first people in the United States to see this film. But yes, Dad and I were some of the first people in the US to see this film, so ha! No, I’m pulling a Bill Cosby. I told you that story so I could tell you this one: The Akira live-action movie is still happening:
After spending years trying to get a live-action adaptation of Akira off the ground, it seemed as though Jaume Collet-Serra was going to be the man to do it – that is until plans imploded due to budget issues. However, two years after Warner Bros. insisted on re-working the script to bring down the $90 million tab, news broke that the project was back on track. In August, word got out that Collet-Serra was in discussions to re-board the production and apparently those discussions went quite well because Collet-Serra himself confirmed he’s actively working on the project.
“I’m focusing on Akira though; so hopefully that’s the next one.”
More than 25 years have passed since this indescribable hand-drawn masterpiece was unleashed upon an unprepared world. So, you’ve had your chance to watch it. Quite a few times. If you haven’t seen it, that’s on you.
If you have seen it, maybe you went and read the comics – er, manga. Did you have the colorized Epic/Marvel editions or the giant B&W tomes? Did you even get your hands on the Japanese movie flip books? There’s so much more to the story than Otomo was able to fit in the film. He also hadn’t fully finished the printed story before he began production on the big screen adaptation. There’s like four or five HBO seasons worth of stuff there. If only!
If Hollywood actually goes through with this, I’m all for it. Who cares? The worst thing that happens is that the remake is terrible and we’ll still have the comics and original film. The best possible scenario? We get a seriously awesome movie. Imagine seeing the destruction and chaos in Akira as live action. That’s a risk worth taking. This isn’t the first time they’ve built up a remake. Remember how the Hughes Brothers were going to do this with Morgan Freeman as the Colonel? Oops. At this point I don’t care if Kenny Ortega remakes it with Zac Efron as Kaneda and the Biebs as Tetsuo. I wanna see a giant amoeba boy eat a city and squish innocents in his cysts. I want to see those motorcycle fists and crowbar fights. In 3D.
And Dad, dear Dad. Not my Dad now, my 1989 Dad sitting next to his young bespectacled son, watching psychics make people’s heads explode and singing monster teddy bears terrorize a nursery. Thank you, from the bottom of my soul, for not dragging me out of that movie theater. Thank you for enduring what must have been a quite awful experience for you for the sake of your young budding geek son. This moment in time is more important than you could possibly realize, and I love you for it.
So when I say that it’s okay if they remake Akira, then dammit, it’s okay if they remake Akira.