Admittedly, I don’t particularly care for them because they don’t usually make sense to me. You want to reboot something from the 1940s with better effects and a bigger budget? Go for it. Times have changed significantly since then. Entire demographics of people didn’t exist or were dismissed back then. Have fun with it and let some artsy-fartsy Meet Up group preserve the purity of the original and it’s faded reels and casual if not blatant isms.
I don’t even fully agree that certain classics should remain untouched. I do think there should be some sort of committee and licensing board where you have to submit your idea to and get a majority vote that your vision is very close to or (and it could happen) superior to the original.
What I really, really cannot wrap my brain around is the notion that you buy the rights to something then try to make it more appealing to a casual audience by stripping away so much of the source material that you probably would have made more money simply calling it something else.
Case in point, Dragon Ball Evolution. I’m making that film, I go balls to wall with it. I would either a) take a page out of Toei Animation’s playbook and adapt a saga’s major plot points and cut them down to fit a feature length film or b) expand one of the early movies (they rarely lasted longer than forty-five minutes.) Either way, I’m giving you Dragon Balls.
First off, I’m skipping Dragon Ball because most of North America was not exposed to it at the same time for the same length of time. I remember watching like the same twenty episodes for a year as a teen then nothing. There was no youtube back then and I’m pretty sure filesharing like Lime Wire didn’t exist for another decade and I have never gotten the hang of bittorrent. Suffice to say I had no idea who Krillin, Ten, or Piccolo were by the time DBZ became a fixture on somebody’s action cartoon line up but it did not stop me from getting into it.
We didn’t need to see John Mcclaine’s first case to realize he was a one man wrecking crew. Audiences didn’t care about Bryan Mill’s awkward teenage years. We got straight to him snapping forearms and saving a pop star’s life with his particular set of skills.
But the moment you throw in a ki blast or a guy that can fly, the cry goes up both far and near for an origin story. I think that is a major flaw of the studios; not to say it’s not an ingenious form of marketing. Normally you make a commercial for something and hope people buy enough of it to offset those costs. What’s been a vocal complaint after the last couple of Marvel movies? That some of them seem more like an advertisement for the next film than something that could stand on its own.
It seems calculated in that way. A guy like me is obviously going to see the origin movie because in my head either a) at least I got to see my guy in live action or b)if I go see this one, the next one will probably melt my face with action sequences that would have given young me a seizure. I digress.
No origin story for my DB flick. I’d take a more Tim Burton Batman 89 approach and just show Goku doing something amazing.
Have him whoop a gang of goons who have a Dragon Ball. Then introduce Bulma who congratulates him. You can have your cute bonding moments here. Drop some exposition; have Goku bug Bulma about what she wants to wish for and her being evasive; talk about the few they have left to get.
Next you introduce Yamcha, who is trying to hawk the ball he stole prior to the start of the film. This leads him directly in Goku’s path and our next big fight sequence. Play up Yamcha getting distracted by Bulma and Goku promising him a rematch.
Next beat, we drop hints about King Piccolo. We follow that up with Bulma and Goku meeting Roshi and Krillin who has sought the old sage’s training. Hearing this, Goku wants to stay and train with the guy that trained with his grandfather. Bulma eventually relents and says their hunt can be put off for a little while, but she’ll be back.
Training montages because those are simply the best around, nothing’s ever going to keep them down.
Intro the Crane School (Ten and Chaotzu)
Have Yamcha hear about the tournament and surmise Goku will be there.
Bulma returns to start the hunt again and they promise her they will right after the tournament.
Tournament takes up the 2nd act. We then introduce King Piccolo’s henchmen, kill off a couple of people, Goku goes on roaring rampage of revenge. No need for Yajirobe so Goku will beat the henchmen until he goes against Piccolo and is nearly killed before Roshi orders Ten to get Goku out of there. Roshi fails to seal away Piccolo and dies.
Don’t particularly want Korrin in this series either so we go straight to Kami preparing Goku for Piccolo. Have Kami ask if Goku would consider being the guardian if he beats Piccolo.
Final showdown, Goku wins, everyone is wished back to life, back to reality and then roll credits.
Post credit scene; Wham, Piccolo Jr hatches.
Tell me that wouldn’t make a better film that DB:E? DB:E was not a fun movie. Divorce it from it’s source material and there are literally a dozen martial arts flicks from the late 80s and 90s that did everything better and were relegated to early morning hours of USA Network and Saturday afternoons on Paramount. You could go into your mall right now and go to that kiosk in the middle that sells all the Hong Kong imports and grab anything from the rack (even the 2 for specials) from any year and I guarantee it will be better than DB:E by a significant margin.
Well, I guess I beat up Fox’s box office dud enough for one post. Join me next time for a list of nerdy things I no way influenced my kids to love. Long live and let the force be with you nerds.