This month, an article in Variety, solidified a geek’s worst nightmare. The well-known and beloved “Ghost In the Shell” series will be made into a 3D live action movie. At the helm will be Award-winning director Steven Spielberg, and be written by Jamie Moss, of “Street Kings” notoriety.
Ghost In the Shell franchise follows an elite covert government team that fights information/technological terrorism. The original incarnation came in the form of a manga, created by Masamune Shirow. Its many adaptations have included anime movies and video games. Recent releases include: “GITS: Innocence,” “GITS: Solid State Society,” and the TV series “GITS: Stand Alone Complex.”
After heavy fighting over the rights — Sony and Universal has bids too — DreamWorks Studio ended up on top. This has been a change from the cartoonish image and low-profile movie choices of recent year.
The choice seems to be a personal one.
“Ghost in the Shell is one of my favorite stories,” Spielberg said. “It’s a genre that has arrived, and we enthusiastically welcome it to DreamWorks.”
Early fan outcry is pointing toward a dismal, disapproving, if not blatant disregard for the source material. This has been a curse when many manga or comic properties have been taken “directly-from page,” but ended up not pleasing either the hard-core fan nor attracting new fans to the franchise.
I’m very sure the film will neither garner new fans, nor take the hard-core fans to new levels. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within, as a major example. That movie was made with the Square Enix’s own movie division, Square Cinex, and yet still managed to flop in the box office.
Another icon of Japanese animation will be making it’s jump over to big screen with Akira jumping on board with Warner.
The name alone garners 20,200,000 Google hits. So when Greg Silverman, executive at Warner Bros., announced it’s acquisition of the rights to Akira a similar outcry was heard.
Akira is an epic story involving two teenagers’ lives through the dramatic genetic change of one of them into a being with super destructive power.
The original six-volume manga, written by Katsushiro Otomo, has since been made into an iconic anime movie. Though Warner Bros. states that it will take it’s material directly from the manga, not the 1988 anime.
As with the “Ghost In The Shell” project, these are still in Pre-Production and as such, are going to be under development and anything concrete is strictly rumor. Only time and money will tell whether the right choice was made in either ventures.