Japan’s most famous mecha anime franchise, “Gundam” is getting a Hollywood live-action treatment by Legendary Pictures along with Sunrise Inc, the animation studio of said anime.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the announcement of the collaboration was made on Thursday at Los Angeles’ 2018 Anime Expo, and the project will be overseen by Cale Boyter on behalf of Legendary with the Sunrise creative team.
Details of the upcoming movie adaptation are scarce, but here is a brief synopsis for the premise of the original anime series.
“The original Gundam series, which began in 1979, is set in the Universal Century, an era in which people have emigrated to space colonies because of a growing population on Earth. Eventually, the people living in the colonies seek their autonomy, and launch a war of independence against the people on Earth. Battles are fought by piloting robots known as mobile suits.”
So “Gundam” is one of the most popular anime franchises in Japan and also around the world, spawning numerous television series, OVAs, films, manga, novels, video games, and not to mention that it has a huge following as well.
With that being said, making a live-action out of this beloved franchise is a huge risk and we’re pretty sure that the anime-turned-movie format never works out well. That is why, we got a feeling that Legendary’s upcoming adaptation won’t turn out as decent as many would have hope for, and here are 5 reasons why.
1. There has never been a decent live-action anime movie by Hollywood.
Over the years, Hollywood has experimented with plenty of popular anime titles and most of them turned out to be horrible. Some examples include “Dragonball Evolution”, Netflix’s “Death Note”, the 1995 “Fist of the North Star”, The Wachowski Brothers’ “Speed Racer”, and last year’s “Ghost in the Shell”. None of the films mentioned got a decent score by film critics and all of them are box office flops.
2. The recent “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is already a flop.
Legendary Pictures is also the same company behind another giant robot franchise, “Pacific Rim”. While the first movie is a huge success as it received generally positive reviews and huge box office returns, the sequel “Pacific Rim: Uprising” didn’t do quite as well. Furthermore, Cale Boyter is also one of the producers for the “Pacific Rim” sequel.
3. The movie will definitely get whitewashed.
Since this is Hollywood, we don’t think Legendary would get an all-Asian cast for this huge project, at most, the studio may cast only 2 to 3 Asian for some key roles, while the other characters may either be changed, omitted, or replaced so that white, black and possibly Latino actors can play some roles in the movie. Also, previously there is Canadian movie adaptation of “Gundam” called “G-Saviour” in 2000, and it was pretty bad.
4. Some plotlines will be changed.
When you’re adapting a film from another source, it is impossible to stay completely true to it – especially a popular anime series which got like hundreds of episodes. So this part may be a bit unavoidable. Plus, if point number 3 does happen, all the more reason for the studio to change its plot.
5. Hiring Japanese actors and director wouldn’t make a difference.
There’s a chance that the studio might hire an all-Japanese team to make the film work (Though we feel that is highly unlikely), but if they do, the film would work out either way, because even the Japanese couldn’t make a decent live-action anime film. Some examples are “Attack on Titan”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Tokyo Ghoul”, “Blood: The Last Vampire”, and more. Nevertheless, there are a few rare ones that are somewhat enjoyable like “Rurouni Kenshin”, “Death Note”, “Oldboy”, “Nana”, but they’re still lacking compared to the originals.
In conclusion, we understand that adapting a popular source is not easy – be it an anime, novel, TV series, or remaking an iconic film – because the studio would need to meet the expectation of thousands of fans.
But Legendary Pictures already has the knowledge and experience of creating a giant robot franchise, and the first “Pacific Rim” is actually quite good. So, we do hope that for the upcoming “Gundam” movie, the studio would put effort to hire the right director and cast, and also work closely with the original Japanese animators and team to make this highly-anticipated adaptation as good or better than “Pacific Rim” franchise.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter