Trying to transpose a movie from one medium of visuals to another is no easy task. Emotion is conveyed in a much different manner in animation than in live-action movies, and humans do come with their limitations, that only CGI and pen and paper can remedy. Movies which fall into this category are often extremely hit and miss, but with the Marvel blockbuster monopoly that we’re currently having to labour through, things are getting better. An extreme amount of attention is given to this sort of intellectual property to render them in a manner reminiscent of the source material. Whether that comes up trumps or not is a different story.
Unfortunately, you simply cannot recreate something, transforming it through another medium and just expecting it to work. The vision can never be the same, but you can certainly give it your best shot! This is why film-makers take liberties on a superhero’s comic book/animated TV show origins, and why some of these adaptations utterly fail (I’m looking at you, Green Lantern, Ghost Rider and Fantastic Four) where others succeed (Ant-Man, The Dark Knight, Deadpool). Really, it’s all about being faithful, and not churning out something for the sake of money. Despite how much you might think otherwise, at some point The Avengers will get stale (if they aren’t already), as we relentlessly hack off ever little story arc from Stan Lee’s legacy, and fling them all together so they can quip each other for 120 minutes. In a similar vein, it’s why J.J. Abrams is being praised for his lack of CGI and nostalgia inducing reboot of the Star Wars franchise, because it feels a lot more like A New Hope than whatever the hell Attack of The Clones was.
"The vision can never be the same, but you can certainly give it your best shot!"
Recently, animations turning into live-action movies are big news, as both The Jungle Book and Ghost in the Shell are getting the big-screen treatment. After seeing it myself, I can easily say that The Jungle Book actually works by mixing the two. CGI really has elevated to a point where it can be believable, and the only thing jarring about the film was hearing an orangutan with Christopher Walken’s voice. The film was directed by Jon Favreau, of Iron Man fame, so here’s a guy who knows how to work the source material. It was certainly a lot more dark and gritty than the original 1967 version, but that’s to be expected when you have a child actor in place to convey some serious emotions. It also helps when you have an ensemble cast of voice actors to really flesh out a role.
Ghost in the Shell though? I’m not so hopeful. Allegations of whitewashing aside, the original anime is a masterpiece that I don’t believe should be tampered with. Some things should be left well enough alone, and that’s one of them. Anyone who sat through The Last Airbender or Dragonball:Evolution will tell you that though.