Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Many people believe that the “Age of the Superhero Film” will be coming to an end sooner rather than later. Audiences have to grow tired of these big over-the-top comic-book films at some point, right? While that’s a discussion for another time, it starts an interesting conversation. What’s going to become the next “big thing”?
It seems like the go-to answer as of late has been video game films. With Angry Birds coming out this weekend, Warcraft next month, and Assassin’s Creed this Christmas, there is definitely a possibility of that prediction coming true. If it is, how long will it be until Nintendo, arguably the most popular video game company, jumps back into the game? (Pun slightly intended) Nintendo has been silent in Hollywood since they released Super Mario Bros. in 1993. But if a recent report is to be believed, Nintendo is working on making a comeback with one of their biggest franchises, Pokémon. The interesting thing is that it could, for the first time, potentially be in live-action.
There are two obvious questions to ask when talking about a live-action Pokémon movie. First, would any major studio be willing to produce it, and secondly would a franchise like Pokémon even work in live-action? Both are good questions, and both have somewhat complex answers.
Let’s start with the first. Would any studio be willing to finance and produce a live-action take on Pokémon? Contrary to what you may think, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, about a month ago there was a report that there were actually several studios in a bidding war over the property. It’s a bit of a reversal on that classic “Gotta catch ‘em all” catchphrase, with many studios all striving to catch one property. According to the Hollywood Reporter, there were three major studios actively pursuing the franchise. The frontrunner at the time was Legendary Entertainment, who was narrowly beating out Warner Bros. However, Sony Pictures was also interested in the film.
The controversial thing is that Legendary Entertainment, a Chinese-owned company, is looking to take over one of Japan’s most popular franchises. The two countries haven’t always been the best of friends, and there has been “disagreements” about the film industry between these two nations in the past. One disagreement resulted in a three-year ban on Japanese films in China. However, if Legendary acquires these rights, it wouldn’t be their first major Japanese property. They also produced the new 2014 take on Godzilla and look to expand upon that film in Kong: Skull Island next year and Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020.
The fact that three major studios were in a bidding war for the Pokémon franchise proves that a live-action Pokémon film is one that studios believe audiences want to see, but would it work? Personally, I believe the answer is no.
The Pokémon franchise is one that is widely related to fantasy. We’ve all grown accustomed to seeing cartoon versions of all of these characters and creatures. Personally, I think there is a reason for that we haven't seen them in live-action yet. I can’t imagine these creatures translating out of animation well. Would you keep their cartoon designs or would you make them look more like animals that already exist in our world? Neither option seems like a solid one. That’s one of the reasons why I believe a live-action Pokémon film wouldn’t work. On paper, this film is a great idea, but sit down and imagine what that would actually be like. It would be weird, and not necessarily in a good way.
If they do decide to make a new theatrically released Pokémon film, I believe it’d work much better as a 3-D animated feature. We’ve already seen that traditionally two-dimensional animated features can transfer very well over to the three-dimensional world. A great example of this is last year’s Peanuts movie. At first, it seemed a bit odd at first to see these characters fully fleshed out three dimensions. However, after a few minutes, the audience got used to it, and Charlie Brown and all his friends actually worked extremely well in that animation style. I believe the same could be true with Pokémon. Plus, they could keep the classic look of the characters and creatures, without it looking atrocious.
For argument’s sake, let’s say they do decide to make a live-action version of Pokémon. There would undoubtedly be some major changes they’d have to make. First, they’d have to make the lead character, Ash Ketchum, a lot older. He’d have to at least be 18. Otherwise, it’d be unrealistic seeing him travel alone, fight the gang Team Rocket, and do all sorts of other things too dangerous for a 10-year-old. Also, they’d have to change the battle mechanics up a bit, add more of a reason for the fighting. If they don't they’ll have to tread very lightly. The accusation that Pokémon approves of animal cruelty is a bit of a joke now, but if it came off wrong in live-action, that argument would suddenly have much more ground to stand on.
So what do you think about the potential of a live-action Pokémon movie? Would you be interested in seeing it? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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