I know that being down on reboots and remakes these days puts you in the same crowd as people who cry and complain about anything they decide they suddenly hold sacred, like Ghostbusters (you’re really that attached to a franchise with one good movie?) or even Power Rangers (though we can all agree those suits did look very stupid). I’m not usually one too critical of adaptations or interpretations, because they in no way get in the way of or steal the importance from their source material. They’re just other things--sometimes good, sometimes bad but always ancillary. I’ve survived the Oldboy remake. I can survive anything.
That said, if I see a Neo-Tokyo bullet train with Akira stenciled on its side blasting toward the heart of Hollywood, I’ll sure as hell scream for it to stop before it’s too late. I’m not a monster.
Have we learned nothing from Ghost in the Shell? Yes, I’d love to see that flashy cyber-punk dystopia splashed with sexy red and the weird intestinal body horror shit with the highest of possible production values. No, I don’t want it like this.
Akira and Hollywood just don’t gel together in my headspace, but it seems that they’re destined for each other as Warner Brothers and Leonardo DiCaprio have been offered an $18 million incentive to film in California. Does that mean it’s for sure bound to happen, now? No, but I would do literally anything for $18 million, so I imagine it has to be a good deal of grease to get that ball rolling.
Based on the manga and anime film by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira follows Shotaro Kaneda, who is a biker badass that undergoes scientific experiments. These experiments give him telekinetic powers which spiral way out of control. It’s gross. It’s weird. It’s cool.
If the remake continues as planned, Taika Waititi should remain attached to direct. I’ve only seen What We Do in the Shadows, which tells me nothing of what this man’s vision for a potential Akira film would look like, but we’re officially one hour closer on the Doomsday Clock to finding out. He at least stated that he would cast Asian teenagers in the lead roles, which is great if a bit silly that he had to mention that wanted to cast Asian teenagers in a movie about Asian teenagers. There was a time, though, where rumor had it that Keanu Reeves would star--which I think should demonstrate how far from Hollywood’s hands Akira ought to be.
This is all miles from happening in any palpable way, though, since I was still in high school when the specter of this remake first reared its head. George Miller turned down the opportunity to direct in 2015, Warner Brothers shut down pre-production in 2012, and the earliest news I could find on it was from 2008 (when Joseph Gordon-Levitt denied being cast for the lead). Over a decade later, here we are. One has to wonder how far whatever finished product Warner Brothers finally farts out will be from the original vision, if they even had one to start.
Given Waititi’s penchant for comedy, though, maybe this will actually turn out to be an adaptation of Bartkira, and that’s something I can definitely get behind.