Anime Vice News

IFC's Not Sure About Live-Action 'Bebob' Movie

Interesting talk on the feasibility of live-action anime films.

Speed Racer: NOT A Completely Awful Film
Speed Racer: NOT A Completely Awful Film
Not my typo, theirs. Seriously.


Scarier is the way that highly regarded modern classics like "Cowboy Bebob" have suddenly become the inspiration for major feature films, with A-list actors like Keanu Reeves signing on to produce and star.”


The typo aside, however, IFC's John Lichman poses the question-- can a live-action anime film work? My personal feeling: yes, it can. It may not have happened yet (arguably: I maintain that the Speed Racer film, which poked fun so lovingly at its source material, was a fun movie), but that doesn't make it impossible. People thought that a decent Watchmen film was impossible, but even if you didn't adore the film, I think few people thought it was downright awful.


Not that I'm defending Keanu Reeves in Cowboy Bebop, mind. And Lichman does offer a particularly interesting thought:


Anime has split: it's both a means to move toys and merchandise and an auteur’s realm for crafting stories too broad or overtly creative to be shot with actors and sets.”

Again, I don't really agree that it's impossible to make a decent film based on this stuff, but it's an interesting idea. What do you guys think?
Sonata moderator on March 8, 2009 at 8:31 p.m.
I think it could be real possible also, Maybe some one could make a Kite Movie that might not totally suck, and be a decent movie.:)
Void_Wizardon March 8, 2009 at 8:45 p.m.
I think it's possible for anime like Bebop but not for anime like Gundam or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
Sigueon March 8, 2009 at 11:45 p.m.
DUDE I LOVE COWBOY BEBOB
SYLiENTon March 9, 2009 at 12:09 a.m.
Can a decent Cowboy Bebop be made? Yes... it's just the execution that worries me.

I got into Watchmen late - but I finished the comic before I saw the movie... twice. I loved it - and granted there were a number of scenes that I loved that weren't included (God Bless Director's Cut), none-the-less the movie was successful. I think the one reason why I loved the movie was the casting and the artistic direction. The main cast - I didn't know them by name at all (I had to search for them on Wikipedia... And then promptly die with giggles. Dr. Manhattan = Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke). They weren't A-lists celebrities. I didn't see them as actors wearing a costume, I saw them as the character - and sadly that's a make or break for me personally. As for the artistic direction? Everything was there. The posters, the newspapers, statues, toys, weapons, paintings, pictures - it felt real.

With the current plans for the CB movie... The Red-Eye script doesn't seem very interesting to me (since well... that plot device was used for the first episode, a way to introduce the series to everyone). Personally I don't want to see Keanu Reeves anywhere in the credits... save for "Producer". Whoever is running the show - they need a director who's focused on making a story, who will stay true to the source material, and will not make a movie for boatloads of money and only money (nothing else). A script that would be somewhat like the animated movie - a stand alone film, yet it connects with the series. Lastly - "unknown", qualified cast.

omoon March 9, 2009 at 4:35 a.m.
I don't think the IFC article says impossible anywhere.

I am inclined to agree with it. It's a bit of a fallacy to compare success of comic book adaptations with anime adaptations, mainly because anime is already ... animated. So the overall gain of having a live action equivalent is going to be less, and to what end is it desirable to see anime adaptation? Admittedly there are very few works which the director or creator preferred the animated medium out of their own favor, so potential targets are many. But hell, how long did it take Hollywood to do comic book movies right? How much money has to burn first before we get something half decent?

I think if there are any good anime-to-live action adaptations, they are either to move merchandising or to realize works based on some conceptual trick (like Cowboy Bebop). It's probably the same in Japan, at any rate. In both cases it just won't be adapting from "the anime" as much as from the baseline concept or story or manga or whatever.
transgojoboton March 9, 2009 at 7:07 a.m.
I think it's possible to film a live-action Gundam, Void_Wizard, and not leave viewers squirming in their seats. It would just have to take a very powerful producer to get things going, a healthy respect for the themes of the franchise, and a blank check for the visual effects team. The latter, of course, being the most important, otherwise you end up with turds like G-Savior. Although, I should note that a heavy dose of LUCK plays a factor too.

For a film adaptation to be successful, I think the right balance must be struck between adapting the source material and crafting an entertaining movie. Take Batman Begins/The Dark Knight, for instance. They're an adaptation of the Batman comics, but Begins/TDK wasn't a direct adapatation of any one Batman story. The producers crafted their own take of the character, lifting elements from a number of comic book storylines (i.e. "The Long Halloween").

That's why I believe an original Gundam live-action film can be done. And I feel the same about Robotech and even Ghost in the Shell. That doesn't mean I'm confident it will happen though. But I'm always ready to be pleasantly surprised. :)
HeeroYuyon March 9, 2009 at 8:45 a.m.
I also agree with transgojobot, a Gundam live action could be done, but you'd have to make sure that you have someone who truly actually realizes he's carrying a nuclear weapon in the form of a script... You don't necessarily need a blank check especially with today's technology, but you would definitely want a very large budget on the effects team nonetheless. I also agree on how transgojobot suggested an adaptation method. Though, in Gundam's case, (I know this would be a HUGE gamble) but it actually might make more sense to create a new main character with similar traits to Amuro or Seabook, or at least focus on just  a smaller portion of the original's main plot (covering the whole 1 year war would be nigh impossible, and doing an 08th MS team style thing may be asking a bit much for the audience in terms of just jumping in and expecting everyone to know what's going on).


Hell, all I know is once I'm rich as hell, I'm walking up to Nasu Kinoko and Takashi Takeuchi, and giving them a signed blank check and a blank script with my phone number at the top in case some smartass director feels like giving them trouble.
giaon March 9, 2009 at 9:14 a.m.
omo: Doesn't defining anime as "an auteur’s realm for crafting stories too broad or overtly creative to be shot with actors and sets" imply that it's not possible to do? I also don't buy that no one will ever try a Punisher movie again.

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