Yesterday, prompted by my childhood memories, I went to see the live movie version of Dragon Ball (one of the most popular manga series of all time), aptly titled Dragonball Evolution.
It was upsetting. I didn’t like it. However, due to my fascination with the anime, I considered everything and I was able to finish it all through the end. There were a number of other viewers around in the cinema, and I noticed that they watched it after only one screening (if it was really great, people would have stayed for a second or maybe a third screening of it). I couldn’t blame them. I blamed the movie instead.
Dragonball Evolution tried to retain the elements found in the Dragon Ball manga and anime series. But it never came close. In the anime, the setting was in a futuristic and well-developed Chinese or Japanese community. In here, the community wasn’t Oriental enough. Some original characters were not present like Krillin, and although some were, they weren’t doing their anime counterpart roles. Like Yamcha. In the anime, he’s a dignified martial arts fighter. In here, he’s a thief. There were just a lot of deviations from the original, that anyone not familiar with the Dragon Ball universe would mistake everything if they watched this flick. Add to that, the absence of Son Goku’s Candy Clound (Kinto-un) and Mind Stick (Nyoi-bō). 😀
Maybe because it was difficult bringing an animated series into a real live movie. I guess it’s understandable. The makers had to make it more realistic. Take for example, the animated Son Goku with hair pointing into diffirent directions. The live one (Justin Chatwin) didn’t have it and thank goodness, because it would really look stupid. Now imagine the live Bulma (Emmy Rossum) with a whole head of blue hair. 😮 By the way, the live Bulma really looks cute! 😀
I just wished they did the movie with the child Son Goku instead of the teenage one. If I remember, Piccolo was defeated by Son Goku as a child, and not as a teenager as portrayed in the live movie. It would also looked better if the colors were a little more bright and the general atmosphere more light. The overall feel was rather dark, what with the whole earth being covered with clouds all the time. It would have been real representative if they also retained the talking animals found in the anime. And since Dragon Ball was of Oriental origin, they should have added the beautiful Chinese scenery we see in Chinese movies for dramatic effects. Maybe they should have done the movie in the capture performance style similar to that done in Beowulf (2007) or the animation style in A Scanner Darkly (2006).
I found out that this isn’t the first live adpatation of Dragon Ball. The first was released in 1989 entitled, Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins. Well, although I never saw this one, I would guess Dragonball Evolution is way better than this old flick.
Although I’m disappointed, I’m happy to see that Dragon Ball is still alive and was able to inspire another live action flick. Judging from the end of the movie, there would be a sequel; and I guess it would feature other Saiyans and other characters that fans had all come to love. And I hope the next one would be much, much better.