Friday, December 19, 2008

Dragon Ball Evolution

You are probably familiar with at least some the story of Journey to the West, a classic Chinese novel that features the mischievous, free-spirit Sun Wukong, known in the West as the Monkey King.

Recently, Jet Li portrayed the Monkey King in the film The Forbidden Kingdom:

Journey to the West inspired the Japanese manga Dragon Ball, which is essentially a children's story spin on the original Chinese myth that morphs into a sci-fi spin later in Dragon Ball Z.

Take note of the child-like exuberance and naivete that characterizes both the Monkey King and Goku from Dragon Ball. Now prepare yourself for Dragon Ball Evolution, the live action adaptation releasing next year.

Something is missing. The humor and joyfulness of the original Dragon Ball, and indeed, the Chinese novel Journey to the West that the series is based upon, seem to be gone. Perhaps the tone does not translate well to the big screen. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether or not this new Hollywood bastardization --er, evolution-- of a classic tale can survive without the charm of the original.


Jay said...

I actually wanted to post this video because it does a better job of showing Goku's naivete as a child and as an adult, but the uploader disabled embedding.

fulleju said...

lol....but i thought bride meant "something to eat."...

SuiginChou said...

There are only two things that I know of that "chichi" means in Japanese: boobs (乳) and one's own father (父). Either way, that's pretty bizarre for Toriyama to name her Chichi.

Jay, if you honestly thought that a Western movie was going to keep fat pad slapping, think again. Even I was surprised to see that just now, and I've got to be the most anime (and hentai) exposed guy you know. I don't think I've ever seen someone do that before ... ever. Funny, sure, but CLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARLY too inappropriate for Hollywood's tastes.

SuiginChou said...

Jay, go to 7:00 on this video. It's the best one by far!

better than Bulma, better than Chichi, Goku confuses "[dragon]balls" for "balls" with a fake fortuneteller

The way her fingers grabby-grab-grab at him is priceless.

Jay said...

lol. The last one is pretty good too.

"Live together?! With you? When I said that, was I conscious?"

Yeah, I didn't expect the more inappropriate humor to make it to the silver screen, but compared to the cartoon and to the original Monkey King, this Goku seems positively comatose.

Case in point: in the trailer, when Bulma releases a self-assembling motorcycle capsule, Goku says flatly, "cool."

That is exactly the wrong reaction! Goku would say something like, "Whoa! That's amazing! Can I try that?!" He's supposed to be a man-child full of unbridled life, not some stoic high school Debbie Downer.