Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dragonball: The Difference between Anime and Live Action

Sometimes I wonder if the people who green light various adaptations to film, be them television, book, comic book, video game or in this case anime every actually bothered to look at the original version. To me at least, the answer seems unlikely considering the April 2009 release of Dragonball, of which I just had the misfortune of watching the trailer. You might perhaps recall the total absurdity of the Wachowski brother's live action adaptation of Speed Racer, well lets just say that Dragonball makes Racer look about as plausible as eating breakfast.

The benefit of anime is that there is absolutely no expectation and certainly no need for realism or plausibility, hence the propensity of the flying, super powered martial artists in Dragonball who can shoot energy attacks from their palms, scale mile high monoliths bare handed and travel on foot from one side of the planet to the other in a matter of weeks. Viewers watch these feats in anime without pause, because they know it is part and parcel of the genre, automatically displaced from reality by animation totally unbound by the laws of physics, something that is not shared in live action.

Of course, my opinions of the trailer itself would only by mildly better if there was no anime basis, because in a word, it's terrible. It is in fact possible for those who've never heard of the anime to actually think the trailer worse for it as it shows some of the dumbest outfits and weirdest hairdos ever to plague the silver screen. Compound that with what looks like some really awfully choreographed wire-fu and extremely silly posturing that only barely works in anime and you get a film that will be so silly, asinine and probably plotless that anyone unfortunate enough to actually pay money to see it will find themselves wondering exactly how much time, effort and money was blown on the catastrophe in front of them. In all likelihood it will be a mind numbing film with no intelligence, only the most tacit attempt at acting with the inclusion of the clearly short changed Chow Yun-Fat and not even any actually exciting action sequences.

In case there was any doubt, just the serious consideration of making a Dragonball movie all but wipes out my faith in the film industry. Risk your money, and your sanity, at your own peril.

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