So I'm sidetracking from Buffy for a moment to discuss a recent rumour that FOX acquired the rights to the anime/manga/franchise Sailormoon, and that they (FOX people I suppose), want Lindsay Lohan to star as Sailormoon (excuse me as I vomit on my keyboard), and Joss Whedon to write/direct (excuse me as I worship his holy name).
Now, let me just begin this with the fact that minus the whole Lindsay Lohan thing, this could have some serious potential. I've been a Sailormoon fan for 8 years now. I've read all of the manga (in English, and some in Japanese), seen all of the anime in English and Japanese, and I've seen the live action TV series shown in Japan back in 2003 (Pretty Guardian Sailormoon). Suffice to say, I feel I sort of have the creds to analyze the good, the bad, and the ugly of what this could turn into. If they look at past mistakes (DiC, Cloverway, Saban...the list goes on) and learn from these mistakes, they could avoid this turning into a giant Flop Beyond All Reason. Sailormoon has millions of fans across the world. Joss has millions of fans across the world. This can be a success - they just have to do it right. And I have faith in Joss. I really do. But he can't do it alone, and unwanted influence and ultimatums from the Probably - Severely - Lacking - Knowledge - in - the -Anime - Department People (a.k.a. FOX), could damage things. So, I've gathered some ideas out of the soup pot that is my head on what and what not to do, just to get it out there. And who knows? Maybe people out there can spread the word and perhaps the Powers That Be can see for themselves what the fans think (here's to Nonexistant Hope!).
Firstly, Joss Whedon must write and direct this film. No questions asked. I have an enormous amount of respect for this man, and seeing what he's done with Buffy (turning it from a flop movie to the greatest TV show ever created) and Firefly/Serenity (turning it from an amazing TV show on a crap network that didn't know what it was doing to an amazing and slightly more successful film), he can totally pull this off. So yeah. Joss all the way.
I mentioned this before, but no Lindsay Lohan. She's too...slutty and she has a bad image. And she's really just not right for this role. I feel that they should steer clear from huge stars and go to slightly lesser known people or complete unknowns. Maybe they could recruit someone good and famous for the villian (whomever that may be), but for the Senshi at least, no huge teen idols.
In order to make this movie a success you can't make it be a kiddie movie, like Spykids or something. Naoko Takeuchi did not intend Sailormoon to be like that. DiC tried the whole "making it kid friendly" thing back in the 90's and then look what happened. Males became females, episodes were cut and mutilated, meaning and plot was lost - the list goes on. Then, Cloverway came along, had no choice but to continue with DiC's original setup (for continuity), and made Haruka and Michiru "cousins." Gag me. Plus they didn't even dub the last season, leaving fans disappointed and a sense of incompleteness. And why did they not dub the last season? Well, Stars was a dark and somewhat controversial season, and they dug themselves into too deep of a hole to get out.
PG-13. That's what it should be. It should be comedic, because Sailormoon is a funny anime, but it should also be very dramatic, a bit angsty, and a little dark.
Now I'm not saying they should make it identical to the anime or manga or what have you. Each version of Sailormoon has its differences, and I like it that way. Plus it's a movie and thus the plotline has to be shorter than that of a season of television. However, it's important that they stay true to the characters and their personalities. If they include Zoicite, he is MALE. If they have Haruka and Michiru they are GAY. THEY ARE NOT COUSINS. In any case, there are endless ways to interpret the story of Sailormoon. PGSM, for instance, took it to a whole new level (Minako as an idol already, the conflict between Rei and Minako and the present life versus the past life, Dark Mercury, Sailormoon destroying the world, Kuroki Mio, etc.). That was good. PGSM was a really cool adaptation of Sailormoon. In addition, it prooves that you can do Sailormoon live action. This movie should be something new and fresh like that.
So they have two options here: film it in Tokyo and keep it more to its Japanese roots, or completely Americanize it and film it in New York. Now, I'm all in favor of interesting interpretations as I said before, but it's important to recognize that Sailormoon takes place in Japan. The characters are Japanese. There are some important culture things in there that the typical American wouldn't really "get," per se. That's my argument for filming it in Tokyo - to keep it to its roots. On the other hand, this is an American adaptation, so if they decide to go really radical, I think they should at least film it in a city similar to Tokyo, or the American equivalent to Tokyo. Thus, New York City.
They should not use the whole Magical School Girl thing to lure male viewers. Sure there is innuendo and that fun stuff, and sure the fuku should be cute, but SERIOUSLY PEOPLE. This isn't Japanese Fetish Porn or what have you. It's an American movie. Don't stray down the path of the Japanese business man.
As for some cool ideas, I'm thinking they should have some people from the Jossverse come in for a few major roles or at least for some cameos. Alyson Hannigan, for instance, could make a good Ami. Music-wise, I think Yoko Kanno (with Maaya Sakamoto) would be a great choice. She composes great music, and although she did not do the music for the Sailormoon anime or live action, she has a great track record, and depending on what the mood of the film is, I think she could do a great job. It would also go back to the film's roots as Japanese.
Overall, I think the prospect of having a Joss Whedon Sailormoon movie is pretty cool. If they listen to their gut, look at the past and learn from it, and do it right, then I'm all for it. I hope they go through with it.