As reported extensively by The A.V. Club’s own Sean O’Neal, the live-action, Americanized version of the classic anime/manga Akira which was eventually abandoned by Warner Bros. a few years ago was a perfect example of exactly the sort of soulless Hollywood approach to adaptation that produces lackluster, faithless quasi-approximations of beloved works (see also: M. Night Shyamalan’s universally reviled The Last Airbender). Even before its budget was dramatically slashed and its original directors backed out, the production showed a lack of understanding and love of the source material that meant it was never going to be more than disposable summer fare.
In contrast, take a look at this fan film produced by The Akira Project, a group of filmmakers and fans based out of Montreal. Using funds from an Indiegogo campaign, they've spent the last two years putting together a trailer for their own live-action Akira, and the results are remarkably good.
While the short film fails to capture some of the animated original’s more eye-popping setpieces, like the grotesque flesh-nightmare spectacle of biker-turned-psychic-God Tetsuo’s final transformations, it does ably display the speed and grit of Neo-Tokyo’s highways as Tetsuo and fellow biker Kaneda (played by Xavier Yuvens and Osric Chau), glide through them, dispensing violent beatdowns on rival gangs. Even if it lacks the professional polish on a Hollywood film, it’s still a great testament to how far an adaptation can go when the people behind it love what they’re doing.
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