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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Dragonball Evolution’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


The best part of this trailer might well be the note the fan added to the beginning, about how all those “ignorant” “whiners” complaining about whatever is supposed to be wrong with this movie simply don’t understand it.

Also excellent, though, is this line: “With this dragonball, I take my vengeance.” I may use that next time I get behind someone writing a check at the supermarket checkout.

That skinny girl is really named “Bulma”? Why does that make me think “bulima”?

You may be shocked to learn that this film will not screen for critics.

Dragonball Evolution opens in the U.K. on April 8, and in the U.S. on April 10.



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movie buzz | trailers
  • Fuggle

    That skinny girl is really named “Bulma”? Why does that make me think “bulima”?

    It’s an odd and darkly amusing coincidence, yes; but it’s also the name of the original character in the (somewhat deviated from) source material, too.

    Do American audiences really need a white guy in the lead role? I mean, haven’t so many other people already shown that a movie will do fine with a non-white lead? But then … “oh, hey, we have this martial arts movie we’re going to make, adapted from a Japanese comic / television show, that was originally based on a very loose adaptation of an ancient Chinese story – who should we cast as the lead?” “A generic white guy!”

    … what the hell, Hollywood?

  • JoshDM

    Piccolo is Spike from Buffy.

  • Yeah, what Fuggle said about Bulma’s name. In the original Japanese comic her name meant “bloomers”. It’s a sort of running gag with her family. Her father is Dr. Briefs. She later has a son named Trunks, and a daughter named Bra (Bulla in the English version, because that one doesn’t really translate as well as a name).

    For what it’s worth, the original Dragonball comic is really good. The anime series is, well, less good because it was going on at the same time as the comic, so they had to really stretch storylines out and add insane filler to keep it from overtaking the comic. Plus the American version was then sanitized for precious children and the dubbing was horrific. And this movie will, I’m sure, be absolutely unwatchable.

  • Ryan H

    Actually, I think this movie will be incredibly watchable. It seems like the thing to put on at 2 AM with a bunch of drunk friends.

  • Pollas

    Obviously movie studios didn’t learn their lesson from Speed Racer. They’d be better off releasing this straight to video.

  • PaulW

    Hollywood is now raping my nephews’ childhood. :(

    Will someone please win the $107 lotto so we can pay to make our own Buckaroo Banzai sequel and get the damn thing done right…?

  • Do American audiences really need a white guy in the lead role? I mean, haven’t so many other people already shown that a movie will do fine with a non-white lead? But then … “oh, hey, we have this martial arts movie we’re going to make, adapted from a Japanese comic / television show, that was originally based on a very loose adaptation of an ancient Chinese story – who should we cast as the lead?” “A generic white guy!”

    This is why we have “SyFy”

  • Lucy Gillam

    Oh, but Fuggle, generic white guy was obviously the best actor for the part! Funny how often that happens, isn’t it?

  • MaryAnn

    Yeah, what Fuggle said about Bulma’s name. In the original Japanese comic her name meant “bloomers”.

    I’ll trust you that that’s true. But that don’t mean the name doesn’t have other implications in other languages. Like, you know, the language this movie is in.

  • Accounting Ninja

    NONONO! Argh!! *minor spoilers for the REAL story may follow*

    I can’t even begin to describe what is wrong. If this is indeed based on Dragon Ball, Goku is supposed to be a little boy, and I didn’t see a tail on him. Having Bulma and Goku be the same age is just bizarre. Where’s Kuririn? Is Yamucha and ChiChi here, all the same age?? Roshi is an OLD man, who knew Goku’s adopted grandfather (a MAJOR plot point). Shenron the dragon created the DragonBalls, not “7 mystics”.
    The story of Dragon Ball is very long, detailing Goku’s life from a small child up until he becomes a young man (after which it’s refered to as Dragon Ball Z). There were so many arcs and stories they could’ve picked. They seem to have LOOSELY chosen the Piccolo Daimyou arc, but this is the final story arc in DragonBall, and are they really going to recap all the events (Red Ribbon Army) and development up until then? (Answer: NO).

    Instead, they made YET ANOTHER bland high school boy discovers he is the chosen one. YAWN. They could have made this a trilogy, keeping the old, whimsical, lighthearted spirit of the original story. BUT NO. And don’t even get me started on White American Goku
    /GEEKRANT

    Read the books. SRSLY.

  • Chris

    It really is sad that Hollywood thinks that live actions versions of anime are going to work. I loved Dragonball Z growing up, it had decent story telling with great confrontational moments. The problem though is that these stories from the show took about 9-12 hours to tell depending on the saga. You will never be able to condense that into 2 hours and make it work. Add in the fact that a live action Piccalo looks terrible and it will be impossible for the main stream viewer to grasp why this show and comic were ever popular in the first place. Mary Ann, I doubt the Japanese writers had any cares in 1985 as to the english translation of a characters name, and you should know that every fan boy would cry foul if it was changed now, and thats a lot of fan boys.

  • JoshB

    Hmmm…he’s a lousy Goku. Even aside from being white, he bares no resemblance to Goku. I can’t imagine Goku giving a blasé response to the unfolding motorcycle thingamajig, or anything else.

  • I’m an anime fan but I was never a huge fan of Dragon Ball. My boyfriend is a big fan, though. We’re going to see it for the same reason we’d watch a train wreck: morbid curiosity.

  • “Incredibly watchable” would make the most outstanding poster blurb. Heh…

    Or “A++++ would watch again” – Ben Lyons.

  • I’ll trust you that that’s true. But that don’t mean the name doesn’t have other implications in other languages. Like, you know, the language this movie is in.

    *Shrug* Well ok, but I think that’s a bit silly to get all bent out of shape over. I’ve certainly never thought of “bulimia” when I’ve seen her name. I mean, that seems like about the only part of the source material they actually represented, so fuck, whatever, they might as well have changed it. But if it was because the translated version kinda sorta looks almost like (but is pronounced nothing like) a somewhat unpleasant word, well, that’d be a really silly reason.

    Shenron the dragon created the DragonBalls, not “7 mystics”.

    The dragonballs were used to summon Shenron. They were created by Piccolo. YOU HAVE BEEN OUTGEEKED, SIR.

    Anyway. Just got a chance to watch this trailer, since I was at work when this was posted. Wow, that looks like complete shit. I would rather jam a knitting needle in my eye than watch that trailer again, let alone the entire movie.

  • Accounting Ninja

    @ Count Shrimpula: I had forgotten that they only summoned Shenron, BUT! Piccolo did not create them, Kami did. Kami being the “good half” of Piccolo’s “father”, Piccolo Daimyou. (Which is also weird; the Piccolo in the trailer looked like the young one (Junior), which would mean it was in the DragonBall Z timeline…Holy Anachronism, Batman.)
    /TRIPLE DOG GEEK’D

    PS I am a lady Ninja.

    Bulma’s name in the books was “Buruma”. Which is pronounced “Brooma” putting a tiny “uh” between the B and R. Like how the Japanese pronounce Bloomer. Her name really should be Bloomer, but it may sound too weird to English speakers.
    And, it’s funny she even is that skinny, because Toriyama’s women (what few there are) are drawn somewhat curvy, even bordering on “stocky” for some of their designs, at least when compared to other anime. Pointy waifs, they ain’t.

  • Ah, I got sloppy and you nailed me. Of course they came from the same being, split apart, then merged back together, and I believe the Dragon Balls were created when he was the combined Kami early on. But that still wouldn’t technically be Piccolo. Blast! You win this round.

    And my apologies for the gender mix-up. I did not expect the person with whom I was discussing the finer points of Dragon Ball on the Inernets to be a lady (because I am a sexist pig).

    Good point on the curvy women in the original material, too. It may not necessarily be the most progressive material ever (though it’s certainly not really objectionable), but it did not do the stick figure ladies thing. Pervy old Roshi even remarks a few times about how he likes “bouncy” girls (a subject in which I am in agreement with him).

  • Accounting Ninja

    No Worries. We wimmenz hide in the interwebs, waiting for our opportunity to strike with our surprising knowledge of sweaty, muscular Dragon Ball! :)
    And, yeah, Toriyama is pretty sexist sometimes (even apart from Pervy Roshi), but it was never glaring, mainly because the series is so fun and not mean-spirited in any way. Plus, his women get better later: Bulma’s character develops quite nicely from a selfish, spoilt brat to a caring, mature, confident woman, and Number 18 is quite kickass.

    But, anyway, the “7 mystics” presents a whole new problem: Kami/Piccolo never existed now? So where’d Junior come from? No Kami watching over Earth? That ties into so much DB plot…the mind really boggles.

    @JosbB: I second your assessment of Goku, the White Thing aside. Goku is boisterous, cheerful, inflappably innocent and naive, tenacious and infectiously good. He changes everyone for the better that he meets: Bulma, Kuririn, Tenshinhan, Yamcha, and eventually his enemies, Piccolo and much later, Vegeta. And he does this by the sheer force of his personality.
    This Goku imposter is definitely blase.

  • Fuggle

    He changes everyone for the better that he meets: Bulma, Kuririn, Tenshinhan, Yamcha, and eventually his enemies, Piccolo and much later, Vegeta. And he does this by the sheer force of his personality.

    Well, force of personality, and in the case of basically everyone except Bulma, force of violence. He’s like the prototype for the violent psychiatry that seems to be a staple of a lot of the genre. “you kicked my ass! my problems are solved now!” :D

  • MaryAnn

    Mary Ann, I doubt the Japanese writers had any cares in 1985 as to the english translation of a characters name, and you should know that every fan boy would cry foul if it was changed now, and thats a lot of fan boys.

    I’m sure both are true. Does that mean we’re not allowd to comment on it at all?

    Oh, and commenting on something is not “getting bent out of shape.”

    Sheesh.

  • D

    Sight… The time has come. Hollywood childhood memory raping has finaly reached my generation. Sure, I heard Xers and alike bitching about stuff like Transformers and Speed racer, but those were YOUR childhood memories. Now I’m gonna feel it on my skin…
    But all in all, it could be worst. From what I have heard and seen, it’s not that much of an abomination. It’s just soooooooooooooo bland and generic. They kept most of the characters asian, and with their names intact, so I guess it could have been worse. I wish an asian director could have been given this movie’s budget to make something interesting and yet faithfull to the source. Hey, it could even be an american, as long as he understood what made the anime so popular in the first place. Wouldn’t an adaptation by Peter Jackson be awsome?(No, seriously. Just think about it)
    Anyway, I don’t know how it is there in America, but to say that Dragonball is MASSIVE here in Portugal is an understatement. Can’t wait to see the fan reaction…
    On a side thought, I think it’s sad that Chow-Yun Fat and James Marsters were so perfectly cast as Roshi and Picollo, but the lousy script won’t allow them to play the characters like they should. Spike’s story arc on Buffy is even similar to Picollo’s on DB. Justin Chatwin would be more suited to play a teen Gohan, though, don’t you think?
    Well, I won’t go on a killing spree as long as Hollywood doesn’t try to adapt my favorite cartoon ever AKA Rurouni Kenshin AKA SAmurai X.
    As long as…

  • Chuck

    I think all the commentary about the derivations of the character’s names really hit on why this movie will be utterly unwatchable.

    The original source was as much as anything else a gag show. Comedy. Why is this trailer so utterly devoid of it?

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