Saturday, July 4, 2009

Review Film : Dragonball Evolution

Dragonball Evolution Directed by: James Wong Written by: Ben Ramsey Starring: Justin Chatwin, Chow Yun-Fat, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung, James Marsters, Randall Duk Kim, Joon Park, Ernie Hudson..[...] Asian culture has had a massive influence on North America over the past decade and a half, to the point where nearly every popular children’s animated series is now either being imported from Japan or created in the same art style, virtually every horror movie is required to have creepy children in it, and the majority of action movies made since The Matrix has tried to emulate the same slick martial arts choreography. Now the latest trend in Hollywood has producers trying to repackage some of the biggest Japanese animated series as live action films, and it seems only appropriate that Dragonball is one of the first to find its way to the big screen. Based on the manga by Akira Toriyama, Dragonball mixes martial arts, Chinese mythology and science-fiction to create an addictive soap opera of epic proportions. While the show never became truly mainstream here in North America, it was certainly popular enough to receive a big budget feature film adaptation. The thing is, it probably should have happened a lot sooner, because Dragonball was at the height of its popularity back in the late ’90s. It also probably shouldn’t have come from a Hollywood studio because they clearly do not have a firm grasp on the source material. The end result is something that is only going to anger fans while completely baffling the uninitiated. Justin Chatwin stars as Goku, a socially awkward high school student who is being trained as a martial artist by his grandfather (Randall Duk Kim) and told strange stories of aliens who tried to destroy the world 2000 years ago. On his 18th birthday, his grandfather gives him an ancient artifact known as a Dragonball and asks him to keep it safe. Little does he know that the evil Lord Piccolo, who was imprisoned 2000 years ago, has escaped and is now trying to recover all seven Dragonballs in order to grant him the wish of a magical dragon. When Goku returns home from a party one night he finds his house destroyed and his grandfather dying. He must seek the help of a Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat), and collect the Dragonballs using a tracking device invented by his new acquaintance Bulma (Emmy Rossum). For the most part, Dragonball Evolution is a blur of stale CGI, terrible art design, and painful dialogue. More importantly, it has absolutely no relation to the Dragonball that I’m familiar with. The fact that they chose to give it the hip and meaningless subtitle “Evolution” (because, you know, it sounds cool) speaks volumes about this film. Their first mistake was setting the movie in something resembling the real world. I guess they wanted to hook viewers with a universal high school story shaping Goku as a nerd who is picked on by bullies and has a crush on a girl who is out of his league. Unfortunately this has been done so many times before that it feels awfully cliched, and to make matters worse, Goku gets revenge on the bullies within the first ten or fifteen minutes, rendering his entire character arc obsolete. Justin Chatwin’s acting is so wooden that all of these early scenes are painful to watch, and he also has an arrogance about him that makes him completely unlikeable. They really needed to cast someone like Shia LaBeouf, Tobey Maguire or heck even Ralph Macchio if they had any hope of working that angle. Fortunately, high school is left behind pretty quickly… unfortunately, the movie goes on to become an incoherent mess. I’ll be the first to admit that Dragonball is a pretty silly concept on paper, but it certainly deserved better treatment than this. Even with a nonsensical plot, they still could have maintained the spirit of Dragonball if they had captured the long build-ups and the grand scale of the fights. Instead we are lead from one random CG backdrop to another, stopping for a quick, uninspired fight at each step of the way. If only the movie could have offered up a few decent action sequences, all may have been forgiven. Director James Wong previously did the 2001 Matrix knockoff The One starring Jet Li, but the action in Dragonball Evolution doesn’t even measure up to that. All of the fights are either short choreographed sequences of punches and kicks delivered by actors who are simply going through the motions, or uninteresting gun fights. The fact that the movie is rated PG (not even PG-13!) tells you just how tame the action really is. As for the final battle, which should have been absolutely epic, it ends up being mired in a cloud of lazy digital effects. It was initially believed that the budget for the movie was $100 million, but recent reports put it closer to the $45 million range, a figure that doesn’t really surprise me. Everything looks and feels cheap, from Piccolo’s ridiculous green make-up to the sparse sets and digital environments. It’s too bad that Stephen Chow couldn’t contribute more in his producer role, since his own movie Kung Fu Hustle is one of the few things that made me think Dragonball could actually work as a live action flick. In the end, it comes as no surprise that Dragonball Evolution is a terrible movie. It seems like Fox has been trying to hide it from the public for so long now, and the lack of marketing only proves that they had no confidence in it whatsoever. The foreign market is probably what they are most interested in, since they released it overseas a full month earlier than North America. However, this movie is so ill-conceived and so far removed from the source material that I can’t see anyone being satisfied, least of all the original audience for the manga and anime. It’s absolutely dreadful. — Sean Development In March 2002, 20th Century Fox acquired feature film rights to the Dragon Ball franchise.[1] In June 2004, Ben Ramsey, who wrote The Big Hit, was paid $500,000 to adapt Dragonball Z.[2] In 2007, James Wong and Stephen Chow were announced as director and producer respectively, and the project was retitled Dragonball. Wong rewrote the script.[3] The first full color image of Justin Chatwin as Goku was released in the 24th issue of Weekly Young Jump.[4] Chow was a Dragon Ball fan, citing its "airy and unstrained story [which] leaves much room for creation", but explained he would only serve as producer because he believes that he should only direct stories he had created.[5] 87Eleven, the stunt performance company that worked on The Matrix and 300, worked on the film.[3] Ariel Shaw, who worked on Wong's entries in the Final Destination series and 300, is visual effects supervisor.[6] Robert MacLachlan, who also worked on Wong's Final Destination films, serves as cinematographer.[7] The film was originally slated to be named Dragonball, however on December 10, 2008, a trailer was released using the name Dragonball Evolution and Fox licensed the domain name "" indicating the film had been renamed.[8][9][10] Differing costs to produce the film have been reported. In January 2008, Masters spoke to TV Guide that he was told the film had a budget of approximately $100 million.[11] In April 2009, the Spanish television station Telecinco reported that the budget was $45 million.[12] Casting Justin Chatwin was selected to play the film's central character Goku.[3] Ron Perlman was originally offered the role of the villain Lord Piccolo, but turned it down to work on Hellboy II: The Golden Army.[13] James Marsters, who accepted the role, noted he was a fan of the original anime series, describing it as "the coolest television cartoon in the last 50,000 years [because] it’s got a Shakespearean sense of good and evil."[14] Summarizing the original concept of Piccolo, he said the character was "thousands of years old and a very long time ago he used to be a force of good, but [he] got into a bad argument and was put into prison for 2000 years. It got him very angry, and he finds a way to escape and then tries to destroy the world."[14] Originally, Piccolo was going to be depicted as a handsome creature, but Marsters and the make-up artist chose to give him a decrepit complexion to reflect his having been trapped for thousands of years. The first time the make-up was applied, it took seventeen hours and left Marsters with difficulty breathing. In subsequent applications, it generally only took four hours.[15] Stephen Chow originally wanted to cast Zhang Yuqi, whom he worked with on CJ7, for the part of Chi Chi, but the role eventually went to Jamie Chung[5][16] Filming Shooting began on December 3, 2007,[17] in Mexico City, Mexico. Locations included the Universidad Tecnológica de México.[18] From January 2, 2008,[18] the crew shot at Durango. The crew moved to Estado de México in March of that year for some shots at Nevado de Toluca.[6] Shooting has also been scheduled at Los Angeles, California.[19] In adapting the Dragon Ball manga, the futuristic cities and flying vehicles were kept, however, the anthropomorphic creatures and talking animals (such as Turtle, Oolong and Puar) were dropped.[20] Many of the locations are very Oriental,[21] and there will be some Aztec influence too, particularly from their temples.[22] It was thought that Rossum would wear a blue wig to resemble her anime counterpart, but it was ultimately decided that such a look was too unrealistic. Instead she will have her natural brown with blue streaks. Chatwin will not wear a wig as the director felt Chatwin's hair resembled Goku's.[21] A large amount of Dragonball Evolution was shot in an abandoned jeans factory, also located in Durango, Mexico.[23] Dragonball Evolution special effects are being done by Amalgamated Dynamics, while the visual effects are being done by Ollin Studios, Zoic Studios, and Imagine Engine. The film will also have the anime style of fighting in Dragon Ball Z, such as ki energy blasts and auras. Music On December 9, 2008, it was confirmed that the theme song will be "Rule" by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki. The choice was because director James Wong wanted the movie adaptation of a manga/anime born in Japan to be sung by a Japanese person and he felt it would be good for the movie to get Hamasaki due to her massive popularity in Japan. "Rule" will be used as the theme song for every country's release.[24] The score to Dragonball Evolution was composed by Brian Tyler, who recorded his score with an 82-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox.[25] Release Though an American film, Dragonball Evolution was released in Japan and Hong Kong on March 13, 2009, nearly a month before its American release.[26][27][28] It was released in Australia on April 2, 2009 and was released in the United Kingdom on April 8.[29][30] Its release in its home country has changed dates multiple time. Initially scheduled to be released in North America on August 15, 2008, it was later moved to April 2009 to allow time to do additional filming and post-production work. The specific date has changed back and forth between April 10 and April 8, with the final release date being April 10.[31][32] Reception On its opening weekend in the United States, the film grossed $4,756,488 ranking #8 at the box office.[33][34] In its second weekend, it dropped to eleventh place.[35] As of June 19, 2009, the film had a domestic gross earning of $9,362,785 and a worldwide gross of $54,700,985.[36] However the film was very successful in Asia, being number 1 in multiple countries.[37] Since its release, Dragonball: Evolution has received generally negative reviews and has been panned by critics. Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network, originally disgusted at otaku who decried the film via leaked set shots and trailers before the movie's release, gave the movie an overall failing grade and stated "the fans were right." He criticized the film's lack of explaining plot elements, its hackneyed storyline and lackluster effort by the actors.[38] Variety's Russell Edwards found the film "passable", noting it "doesn't take itself too seriously, but avoids campiness."[39] Luke Thompson of E! Online referred to the film as a "surreal mess" that would only make sense to fans of the original series. He questioned the use of a Caucasian in the main role and felt Chow Yun-Fat was "overacting like never before", but did consider it "fun in a train-wreck kind of way" and that while it was never boring it was also never "logical, coherent [or] rational".[40] Christoper Monfette of IGN gave the film a more favorable review, stating that it "is perhaps the most successful live-action film to date to utilize costume, production and audio design – not to mention some inspired fight choreography – to provide the flavor of anime without becoming overly cartoonish." He praised the main cast for "creating characters the audience can actually care about" and felt Chatwin was particularly likeable as Goku.[41] Slant Magazine's Rob Humanick considered the film "uninspired" and implausible with an "aimlessly hyperactive construction and complete lack of substance" and "cobbled-together FX fakery".[42] Reviewing the film for Australia's ABC Radio National, Jason Di Rosso stated the film was "lacking the visual panache of recent graphic novel adaptations". He agreed the film was uninspired and also felt it had dull "high school movie banter" dialog and was "cliché-ridden".[43] The Village Voice's Aaron Hillis called the film a "loony live-action adaptation", but felt it was "more entertaining than it deserves to be" and would likely appeal to ten-year old boys.[44] Alonso Duralde of MSNBC found the film to be "both entertainingly ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining" and noted that "kids will have such a blast that you can turn this movie into the gateway kung-fu drug that makes them want to watch the earlier work of Stephen Chow and Chow Yun-Fat."[45] Jeffrey K. Lyles of The Gazette found the film to be "a fairly entertaining martial arts adventure for the younger audiences" and tolerable to adults. He felt Chatwin was ill-cast as Goku, and that director Wong failed to capture the "frenetic sense of the anime" in the action scenes, leaving them an effort to understand.[46] Merchandise A film novelization, Dragonball Evolution: The Junior Novel, was written by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon. Aimed at children ages 8–12, the novel was released by Viz Media on February 24, 2009.[47][48] The same day, a series of chapter books for readers 7-10 was released.[48] The three volumes, subtitled The Discovery, The Search, and The Battle were also written by Deutsch and Cohan.[49][50][51] A 16 paged sticker book, Dragonball: Evolution Sticker Book, followed on March 24, 2009.[52] On January 19, 2009, Namco Bandai Games and 20th Century Fox announced that a PSP video game of the same name based around the film will be released in Japan in March 2009, with a North American release to follow in April. The game includes all of the major characters from the film and features various playing modes, including an on-line battle mode.[53] The film's soundtrack, Dragonball Evolution: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, was released in the United States on March 17, 2009 by Varèse Sarabande. It contained 23 tracks from the score composed by Brian Tyler.[54]
Directed by James Wong
Produced by Stephen Chow James Wong
Written by Screenplay: James Wong Ben Ramsey Manga: Akira Toriyama
Starring Justin Chatwin James Marsters Jamie Chung Emmy Rossum Joon Park Eriko Tamura Randall Duk Kim Texas Battle Ernie Hudson Chow Yun-Fat
Music by Brian Tyler
Cinematography Robert MacLachlan
Editing by Chris G. Willingham
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) Japan March 13, 2009 Australia April 2, 2009 United States April 10, 2009
Running time 85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $54,700,985

0 komentar:

Post a Comment

visitors :

free counters