The REAL Live Action Dragonball Movie
Dragonball Evolution maybe on the tips of DB fans tongues the world over, but this low-bugdet asian Dragonball movie is the real deal
Ok, I have been talking about it for months but I now feel the urge to really inform those of you who are interested about the alternative to the highly anticipated and simultaneously hated Dragonball: Evolution. I'm sure most of you have read at least one of my rants in which I mention the older lower budget Asian attempt at a live action Dragon ball movie called Dragon ball: The Magic Begins, well now I'm not only going to give you a review but a comparison to the big budget u.s. DBE.
Dragon ball: The Magic Begins was meant to be the bridge between the hugely popular anime series and a live action series of movies. It was produced in the very early 90's, not long after the original Dragon ball ended & Z had begun. The primary basis for the film was to be the first Dragon ball TV. special/pilot known here in the u.s. as The Curse Of The Blood Rubies. While there are some minor plot differences the two movies are almost exactly the same. Now I will give you a brief run down of the film, any of you hardcore Dragon ball fans might pick up on the relation between the two movies.
Let me start by saying (as I have in many posts) the characters names are not the same to make my summary easier to fallow I will state the different name here.
Goku: Monkey Boy Bulma: Seeto Yamcha: Westwood Roshi: Turtle Man Oolug: Pig Fairy Grandpa Gohan: Sparkle (don't ask me why they chose those name I have no clue).
The movie begins with an attack on an Asian village where they have a Dragon pearl (that what they call Dragon balls) by a monster king and his Hench men. They destroy the village, kill its leader & take the pearl. Further away in the woods Monkey boy (who’s around 11) & Sparkle are training, after which Monkey go to bring home some fish for dinner. His warped idea of fish is a crocodile. On the way home, lugging the huge croc over his shoulder, he get stopped by Seeto when she hits him with her jeep. Monkey Boy then attacks the jeep thinking it to be some kind of monster, to which Seeto shoots him. After the bullets bounce off his chest the two begin talking, Seeto explains she or her jeep are not monsters but she is a girl, Monkey tell her he’s never seen a girl.
To anyone who knows the original DB series this should all sound familiar, seeing how you can figure out the rest of that bit I'll move on.
After the two decide to set out after the Dragon pearls the run into a small girl, the daughter of the villages leader from the beginning. She is being chased by what seems to be a giant black ogre, which turns out to be Pig Fairy, who can change shape. After Monkey beats him up they decide to be friends. That’s when Westwood shows up (staidly they replaced Buar with a parrot) & tried to rob the group, him & Monkey go at it. Westwood runs away after he sees Seeto. So far, if you know anything about Dragon ball I think you would have to agree the first half hour of this almost unknown low budget flop is far closer to the show and manga then the whole of the big Hollywood budget DBE. Wouldn't you say? After listening to the groups plan to find the mystic hermit known as the Turtle Man for his help to find the rest of the pearls, Westwood decides to beat them there & lies to the Turtle man & say Monkey & his friends are coming to fight him. After Money & the group get there Turtle Man finds out one of them is laying, so he decides to test them with his magic cloud (I should even have to explain this one) witch only lest those who are pure ride. Monkey wins & Turtle gives him the cloud. After which they ask Turtle for his pearl, but he say he will only give it to see Seeto topless, she gets Pig Fairy to turn into her to do it. The whole thing ends with the gang going back to the village from the beginning to defeat the evil King Horn and used the Dragon pearls to restore the destroyed village & its people.
In my opinion this film far exceeds its Hollywood counterpart in many ways, not only does it stay true to the story but tries as best they can to keep the visual as close as possible to the style of the original. I can make no comment on the acting cause on both my vhs & DVD copies there is only the English dub, witch as of you know cannot be held up to acting standard. But aside from that I would have to say this film would be the one the true Dragon ball fans would want to see if given a choice. As I said in my review of DBE the only way it is watchable is if you try to forget your watching a movie that is meant to be Dragon ball, this movie on the other, it is almost imposable to push the fact out of your mind you ARE watching a Dragon ball movie. I think it might have done James Wong & Ben Ramsey some good to have seen this movie, maybe then they would have had a clue to the way it SHOULD have been done.
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