There's been a minor trend in Hollywood lately towards getting live-action film rights for various popular Japanese cartoons: as they've already done (or are planning) movies for all the major American superheroes it makes sense to get your hands in some other properties before Well A runs dry. Unfortunately for all the studios, two big studio movies based on anime have come out and bombed: one was Speed Racer, which was awesome and everybody involved knew would tank, and the other was Dragonball: Evolution, which was fucking terrible and everybody involved knew would tank. I would dare speculate that the failure of Dragonball in particular has put some fear in the studio heads who've already put themselves behind other live-action anime projects, of which there are a few.
Well, gang, count one down. The Akira live-action film, which, if I recall correctly, has been on and off in the planning stages since the early 90s anime boom, is once again dead. This isn't to say that this particular movie's dead for good, or that the Ghost in the Shell and Robotech productions are doomed, but perhaps it signals a, shall we say, cautious attitude towards our beloved big-eye catgirl robot maid cartoons?
So is it a good thing or a bad thing that this trend seems to be getting finished before it started? I've already pre-emptively insulted all the people who want Hollywood to stay away from their anime forever (Nippon banzai wai wai sugoi kawaii), but it's not like I'm not cautious. On the one hand, "anime movie" could become the next "comic book movie": we could have a nice 20/80 ratio of quality to shit, and maybe a couple of those movies would be outstanding adaptations or even outstanding entertainment in their own right, completely apart from their source work. Maybe somebody would make a really good version of something shitty, like, I dunno, all those old Ohata OVAs. On the other hand, "anime movie" could become the next "video game movie", nearly all of which I have ignored and been better off for it.
The way I figure, Hollywood is just a total crapshoot, but I'd rather they take the 99-to-1 chance of making a decent movie than not take the shot at all. That said, you can usually tell whether the movie's gonna suck or not when they tell you who the director is and you take a look at his past work. And remember that sometimes, even terrible movies are salvageable, and you get a beautiful stroke of cosmic luck, like Raul Julia getting to play M. Bison.