It’s strange; anytime I read a good book, I cannot wait to see the live action adaptation. Heck, anytime I read a book, I pray for a live action adaption.
But not with anime. Anime is like a treasure that is best observed from its box but which should never be tampered with, not even for purposes of satiating curiosity.
Yes, Hollywood has made a thing out of filling the rumor mill with stories of anime and manga concepts finally coming to the big screen, only to let us fans down with a bang.
Does any body remember the Bleach talk that surfaced some years back. Those rumors persisted for ages, until someone had the common sense to finally shelf the idea of a live action adaption of a once great anime series.
And the thing is, Anime would make for some pretty impressive live action movies. But, I think most us can agree that there is a world of anime and manga stories that would be a far better match for Hollywood than Naruto.
I mean, an anime like Deathnote would be perfect for any Adaptive approach you could take. Make the cast Asian, white wash all of them. Expand the shiningami plot, or remove it completely. Make the tone brighter. Add humor. Remove the school setting.
It doesn’t really matter what you do with Deathnote, so long as you maintain the theme, which essentially revolves around Light’s growing god complex and the rivalry he develops with L.
Naruto. Naruto cannot work. Say what you want about the show, Kishimoto created a highly distinctive anime, with a very specific collection of traits and quirks. When the Live Action Last Air Bender movie was announced, very little interest was aimed towards the story and whether M.Night could truly bring Aang’s world to life.
Rather the majority of the Fandom only wanted to know what the bending would look like. And that’s because The Last Air Bender is not a story about mutant freaks that can throw the elements at each other but a cast of special beings capable of utilizing elegant dances to manipulate the forces of nature.
And, if you’re one of those people that expect this particular rumor to eventually die away, prepare to be disappointed, because it isn’t a rumor. Lionsgate has already secured the rights to produce a Live action Naruto Movie.
And the word on the street is, they are bringing Avi Arad on board; this is the same producer that brought us the original Spiderman movies. And say what you will about Spiderman 3, Avi’s work must be commended for those first two movies.
So, maybe there is hope here, especially with Lionsgate’s decision to possibly bring Michael Gracey on board, an individual primarily known for his visual artistry; and if there is one thing they need to get right with the Live Action Naruto Movie, it’s the visuals.
Most of you fans of the franchise understand; the moment the Naruto Movie becomes a bunch of little kids sailing on wires while shooting fire at each other, Liongate will have failed.
Every fiber of my being wants to be optimistic about this movie. And every fiber of my being is consistently telling me to expect the worst.
As the marvel movies have taught us over the years, the simplest method of achieving success on the big screen is striving to stay true to the source material; but it is that sort of thinking that will essentially sink the movie before it even starts, especially if they decide to adapt the entire first part of Naruto into a single movie.
That means ridiculously fast pacing, a whole load of irrelevant cameos, a flashy fight or two and a climaxing battle that doesn’t deliver, not because of the visuals, but the lack of any noteworthy emotional connection with the combatants, Sasuke and Naruto.
A better approach would be to take a single arc, the Zabuza Arc for instance, and it use its limited source material to deliver the best story possible; not the most accurate adaptation of the Land of Waves Arc, but the most impactful story. That means cutting some beloved moments, scenes and even characters in favor of a more cohesive 2 hour plot.
Then again the Samurai X way might be better; taking the original material and mixing and matching it to produce a story reminiscent of the anime but which more or less follows its own route towards the same goal.
ARGH! I want to get excited for this movie. But I know the disaster it will probably be. Fans of The Last Air Bender movie adaptation often criticize M.Night for failing to understand the essence of the cartoon/anime.
However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. M.Night stated on several occasions that he not only understood the spirit of the Avatar cartoon but that he never intended to bring that spirit or essence to the live action movie. Rather it was his goal to essentially ground the movie, eliminating those elements that he thought were too fantastical or out there to work on screen.
Someone is going to get the brilliant idea to ground Naruto in the real world. We are all going to hate that person for it, because it means removing Naruto from the fantasy realm of the hidden villages and throwing him into some city like New York.
Naruto will become some skateboarding punk that cannot keep his eyes off of Sakura, the waitress at a local eatery. And just when he finds the courage to walk up to her, Sasuke Uchiha, businessman from Tokyo, waltzes in and sweeps her off her feet.
Now Naruto must fight a myriad of unknown foes to get to Sasuke and Sakura before the pair leaves New York.
This movie could literally become anything; and because the property we are dealing with is Naruto, anything that isn’t Kishimoto’s original story will probably suck.
There is nothing to be done. I know, its weird. We call ourselves Naruto fans and we are the one’s crying out against a Live Action Naruto adaptation. Honestly, as a Naruto Fan, I don’t think I even need a Live action Naruto movie.
The only way Hollywood can get things right is if they take the CGI route, sort of like Advent Children. Otherwise, we might as well prepare for the nightmare.