akira movie poster kaneda

Recently there was a rumor going around that saying that Zac Efron (High School The Musical, 17 Again) was up for the lead role in Albert Hughes‘ live-action film adaptation of Akira. Suffice to say nerds weren’t happy, a collective shaking of the fists you could say.

Well, you can all rest easy. Efron is NOT in the running to star in the film.

According to DigitalSpy:

Zac Efron is reportedly not in the running to star in a live-action adaptation of Akira… Representatives for the Hughes Brothers, who are directing the movie, have said that the rumors about Efron playing the lead role in Akira are “not true”.

There ya go, crisis averted. Pull your panties out of your ass and relax. OK, maybe not.

While we averted one disaster, there is another catastrophe to contend with. That being the story. Which, as you might have suspected is a rape of the source material.

Details for the live-action version of the film (dated 2010, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby and which is being directed by The Hughes Brothers) have now been revealed through a recent script review from our pals at Screenrant.

Here’s the description:

The story has been “Americanized,” with the center of the action taking place in New Manhattan after the decimation of the city ( an incident resembling a nuclear bomb explosion), has been blamed on the work of unknown terrorists, with the  iconic shot of Akira as the sole survivor clutching his teddy bear standing solemn in the crater at ground zero.

Flash-forward to sometime in the future where protagonists Kaneda and Travis (gone is the name Tetsuo – why not just keep it? ) belong  to one of several biker gangs that control the burned out old Manhattan, while the shiny new Chinese-owned-and-invested “New Manhattan” glitters back at them like a star that cannot be touched.

The story somewhat follows the animated film but introduces a new character, Ray Arcman, who is the mad scientist that created Akira by using psychic and kinetic experiments on children including the three Espers (the elderly looking 10-year-olds from the animated film).

Asian gangsters run the underworld along with several motorcycle gangs (sadly, the “Clowns” are not in the film). Illegal drugs are still in demand and the gangs in turn  have to pay tribute to their bosses, the ”Packies” (Pakistanis).

Liberties are taken with some of the characters: Princess Miyako is now an elderly trash-collecting lady in Old Manhattan and the Colonel’s part doesn’t come off as strong as he did in the animated version.

There are also continuity problems with the script. In one scene, the Colonel sets off a claymore mine in order to block the approaching Black Ops army and is wounded. Yet, in another scene after this, when he is captured, The Colonel is able to take out two military policeman and operate a .50 caliber mini-gun in a helicopter gunship in order to save Kaneda – then he promptly disappears for the remainder of the film.

Yes, Travis (Tetsuo) does expand and morph into a ballooning human amoeba, but only for one short scene. I think we can all agree that this is one of the landmark, crucial scenes that needs to be in the film, yet it’s only a mere fragment.

Kaneda gets a Tech 9 machine pistol instead of the high-tech-looking plasma-type weapon that was used in the original anime, and on the iconic Akira poster.

ScreenRant goes on in more detail, but basically they reiterate all the modifications and how much of a shitty script is it. Feel free to check out the full breakdown, but I recommend you don’t. It will just piss you off, at-least if you are a fan of the Anime.

Honestly, how many bad anime live action films do they need to make to realize it never works!! Last Airbender is the biggest reminder of that. Personally, I refuse to watch this movie ,no matter what. Forget about the anime, the actual manga is what they are trying to ruin, which in my opinion is one of the greatest stories ever told. It’s not time for a boycott. No. This is time for some poo flinging, torch wielding protesting. Who’s with me?

Category: Film

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