The Dragonball Paradox

Thursday, April 9, 2009

When I initially heard that a big Hollywood studio was finally making an adaptation of the beloved and arguably the most popular anime in the world, DragonBall, I jumped like an excited little fat kid who just received an entire chocolate cake! (No offense to all little fat kids or chocolate cakes out there) But then more info about the movie leaked out and then I found out the true horror they were making! It’s Goku in High School played by a 28 year-old white guy?! Piccolo is basically Spike from the TV series Angel! Yes, same actor and make-up! Chow Yawn-Fat (misspelled on purpose) plays Master Roshi, he looks completely opposite from the anime! In the anime Master Roshi is extremely skinny, 80-years-old, and has long white hair. How is that Chow Yawn-Fat in any twisted abstract way?! Well anyway besides the horrible casting, they completely skewed the plot of the original manga/anime and put the characters in high school, a real typical Hollywood 90210-esque high school! Hollywood seems they just wanted to cash in on the massively popular DragonBall name and make a product solely to make a quick buck. But here is my quandary, despite the movie looking like a terrible adaptation of one of my most favorite childhood cartoons I still want to ironically see it! I think it might one of those “It’s so bad it’s good” movies, and just campy good ole fun. The fact that this movie was made in the spirit of DragonBall where Goku and rest of the gang were young kids, not like DragonBall Z where the tone was more serious and action-oriented. The light tone where the movie doesn’t take itself too serious just seems like a good campy action movie that Hollywood took a dump on but manages to retain its playful spirit. Now this no Speed Racer by any means, which in my opinion was an amazing adaptation of another classic anime series. Speed Racer was actually a well-though out movie with amazing art direction and visual effects. But just like Speed Racer was a nostalgic experience of one’s childhood, DragonBall: Evolution seems to provide the same effect. So I’m very tempted to catch this movie in the theaters despite the horrible reviews and bad word-of-mouth. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that a big Hollywood Studio decides to invest plenty of money to make an epic series of 4 big budget films based on DragonBall Z (similar to Lord of Rings).

Here’s my outline of how it would play out as a 4-part DragonBall Z film(s):

  1. Saiyan Saga: Ending in a cliffhanger announcing the upcoming arrival of an insurmountable threat, Frieza!
  2. Frieza Saga: Possibly the epic climax of the entire film series ala Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Captain Ginyu Saga would be cut.
  3. Android Saga: Perfect cliffhanger sequence: You’ll see Cell finally being unleashed, but right before he breaks out, screen fades to black, credits roll!
  4. Cell Saga: Yes, I decided to cut the entire Majin Bu saga, since I find it too difficult to adapt it to the big screen. Majin Bu Saga unfortunately is too grand in scale and at-times way too campy. A gigantic 10-foot pink ball for a villain will not be intimidating at all on the big screen. So the Cell saga will be a more than sufficient epic ending to a DragonBall Z film.
If I were to write the script I would also emphasize on the heavy themes regarding the eastern philosophies of Taoism, Zen, and Shintoism expressed in the anime. I would make into The Dark Knight of anime films!