Reaction to live action

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Michyla Lin

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I have a confession to make: I absolutely adore animated films, TV shows and anime. My favorite movie since childhood was “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” a film I still earnestly watch a minimum of 15 times a year and not because it has a particularly invigorating storyline. If I were to do an honest review of the movie, I would say it lacks of a lot of character development outside of a cliché coming of age story with a nearly incomprehensible sequence of events which barely push the thin plotline along in some direction, as indiscernible as it is. Overall, a solid four out of ten stars. But in hindsight, I never watched the movie for its storyline — does any three year old? Like any kid, I watched the movie because of the pretty pictures, and any fan of Studio Ghibli will know that Hayao Miyazaki is and always will be one of the most well renowned masters of making pretty pictures that move.

As I grew older and began to develop more appreciation for the power of great screenplay writing, I was more drawn to animated works that actually had a stimulating plot. I learned to appreciate widely renowned masterpieces such as “Death Note” and “Fullmetal Alchemist” (FMA). This is also the reason I am so violently shaken by the utter abomination that is Netflix’s live action rendition of FMA, a show I consider to be one of my favorite anime of all time.

Not only was FMA’s previously phenomenal storyline of intricately woven character and story arcs completely ruined by the Netflix’s failed attempt to shove more than 60 episodes of already trimmed plotline into a shoddy hour of mediocre action and visual effects, but it also completely botched its portrayal of the main character, Edward. Edward is characterized as clever, sometimes even too clever, which in culmination with his pride drives both the plot of the show; however, by removing this character trait, Netflix undermines the genius of the original author’s writing and turns their hour-too-long fanservice into a barely passable shell of a show.

I find this to be a common occurrence with most live-action adaptations. Yeah, don’t forget Netflix’s “Death Note” movie. Honestly, as a stand alone film, Netflix’s “Death Note” could be enjoyable; however, the live action actors and effects fail to translate certain aspects of animation which allowed the original show to have such success.  

The child in me that loves “Kiki’s Delivery Service” never left, which explains why I’m still willing to watch less than stellar movies like the “The Emoji Movie” or even any of the Disney princess movies (no offense to the hardcore Disney lovers).I can still appreciate a good animation regardless of the storyline because those pretty pictures are uniquely able to capture emotions or frame a single action in an exciting and visually stimulating way. Death Note fans familiar with the infamous potato chip scene can vouch for this. Without spoiling too much, the only way the inconceivable scene made sense was through the manner in which the animation conveyed the pure insanity of both the character and tension in the scene, something that a normal camera would capture as frankly uncomfortable to watch.

Netflix is not the only production company guilty of this. I’m talking about you, Disney, and your ever growing list of live action Disney classics. If we look back in history, the main reason Disney’s films garnered so much attention was because Disney animation was fairly advanced for its time, and not necessarily because of its storylines. I mean, what moral was there in “Snow White?” Kissing hot men will resurrect the dead? No, truly the only reason people revisit the live action adaptation of the films is for nostalgia. People only watch these films to remind them of the animated classic.

Admittedly, the live-action adaptation of “The Jungle Book” was amazing, although I found myself watching the movie because of the rumored amazing computer-generated animals: the part of the film that was technically animated. I would, however, consider “The Jungle Book” to be an exception to other CGI films, and here is where I regret to mention the M. Night Sham-atrocity of “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” I know, feel free to use the ad on the next page to wipe your tears, but I am sure avid Avatards (yes, that is the fandom name) can recall the unspeakably nightmare versions of Momo and Appa.

Believe me when I say I could go on a full fifteen page tirade regarding other failings of live action adaptations such as the inaccuracy of ethnic representation and incomprehensible plotlines, though I will leave that to the many Tumblr and Reddit fans instead. Despite my qualms with the manner in which my childhood shows were forever marred by their live-action counterparts, I have to appreciate the good intent behind creating the films which weren’t simple cash-grabs. After all, M. Night Shyamalan is only a fellow Avatard who happened to create a feature-length fan film… an incredibly misguided, uncomfortably inaccurate fan film, though who am I to judge his interpretation of art? So please, on the off chance that any movie production company may read this, please leave animated classics as they are: animated. And if you simply cannot suppress that urge to continue,

Oh Whale,

I hope Rotten Tomatoes can convince you when the new“Winnie the Pooh” comes out.