I’ve been pretty slow to get to this (I saw Dragonball Evolution over a week ago) and now I think I’ve forgotten most of what I wanted to say, but I’m going to try anyway.
Dragonball isn’t a bad movie. It’s entertaining enough and it looks pretty, but I doubt whether anyone who hasn’t watched or doesn’t like the any of the original series would like it very much.
My biggest problem with the movie is the way that they changed the story. I understand that some things needed to be chopped and changed (Dragonball in all its forms was a very long series) but why did they need to make Goku go to school? Maybe I am remembering it wrong, but I don’t think that ever happened in the show. Things like that alter the tone of the story.
Here’s what the director and stars of Dragonball Evolution had to say (from MTV SplashPage):
As a huge fan of the “Dragonball” series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” alum James Marsters (Lord Piccolo) was quick to remind audiences that, though “Dragonball Z” may be the more popular iteration of the anime in the United States, the first anime series ran for over 150 episodes before “Z” ever came along. He explained that while his version of Piccolo may not be the version we’re used to, it doesn’t mean that, sequels permitting, we won’t eventually see him in the more traditional, greener-skinned makeup.
Director James Wong attributes many of the changes to superficial necessities in pulling characters and costumes into the “real” world. Like the experience 20th Century Fox had with the “X-Men” films, Wong believes that just because Goku wears bright orange in the anime, that doesn’t mean it’s going to look right on-screen.
“We shot so many test with so many different versions,” said Wong, pointing out that fans should still get a kick out of the regular costume’s brief appearance.
For Justin Chatwin (Goku), the biggest issue was in making sure that the film captured the hero’s uniquely spikey hairstyle, going through 40 cans of hairspray to get down the right blend of real-world and cartoon. Likewise, Emmy Rossum’s Bulma went through quite a few iterations of all-blue wigs before the end-result of a partially-blue dye.
The other major change comes in capturing the tone of “Dragonball” — one that Wong explained was shifted early on for a family-friendly focus, a move that involved dropping some of the more risqué elements of the original manga. While Chow Yun Fat’s Master Roshi may look totally different than his animated counterpart, the cast insists that the important elements are still there.
“He kind of embodies the essence of Master Roshi,” explained Jaime Chung (Chi Chi), “Minus being perverted.”
Overall, the acting is okay, but not brilliant. I think the best is Justin Chatwin, who played Goku, which was a good thing considering he is the main character. I was impressed with how similar he is to the original Goku. It would have been difficult taking that character from anime to a live-action movie. There are differences, but when compared with the other differences between the TV series and the movie, it is not much. He captures the character very well.
I would say that I enjoyed Dragonball Evolution, but I am definitely in no hurry to watch it again.
Meanwhile, we can all watch Dragonball, Dragonball Z and the various other series for free at www.rawranime.com
Links IMDb http://dbthemovie.com/ Official Website Wikipedia