I just heard that they are making a live action version of My Neighbour Totoro. Worse yet this is part of a series with a live action version of Kiki’s Delivery Service already in production. Who is making these abominations? Studio Ghibli. This comes on the heals of the announcement of a Live action version of Ghost in the Shell.
For fuck sakes, do you people have no shame? These are masterpieces. They are as iconic and treasured as Guernica, or Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. To make a live action version of one of these films is to debase it. It’s the equivalent of doing a copy of the Mona Lisa in multicoloured shit. Yes it is possible, but that does not mean you should do it.
It is impossible to make a live action version of an animated subject that isn’t excruciatingly terrible. So now, for a quick buck Studio Ghibli is defiling these treasures, these masterpieces with live action copies. Copies that, limited by the human actors, will be painful and do nothing but detract from the legacy of Miyazaki. Shame on you. I think I now know why Hayao Miyazaki retired. He was disgusted with the direction his studio had taken.
About fifteen years ago I discovered the work of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki. At the time I said that the worst crime against human culture would be if some utter idiot tried to make a live action version of any of his films. That day has come to pass. I weep for humanity. Let me put it bluntly you cannot make a good live action version of an animated film. Period, it cannot be done. Why?
I look for characters that cannot be done in live action. That is what animation is all about. – Chuck Jones
That is why live action copies of animated subjects are without exception terrible. They are trying to remake something magical with non magical tools. Miyazaki did Totoro, and Spirited Away and Howell’s Moving Castle, and Nausicaa and the rest as animated films BECAUSE they cannot be done live. To try to remake them, or even Rocky & Bullwinkle or Pete’s Dragon, or the Flintstones or Mushi-Shi in live action is to start with a basic misunderstanding of what made the stories special. You cannot make a good live action version of a cartoon for the same reason you cannot play a good version of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on a kazoo. It’s the wrong instrument.