Monday, October 13, 2008

Early Live Action Dragonball Teaser Trailer Leaked

Before viewing the above leaked trailer, let me preface it with a few comments. This leaked trailer was created strictly for a brand licensing expo and potential Licensing & Merchandising partners, so it mostly just introduces the look, style, characters, and other elements of the movie way before special effects and CGI have been integrated. Things like music clearances and talent approvals have not been pursued yet, and you can immediately tell this leaked trailer was made for general, informative purposes. The official trailer will feature more action, energy, and visual effects that many have expected to help portray the feel of the Dragonball series. With that said, some of my previous comments about the movie seem to hold some weight while they take things in an interesting direction.

Justin Chatwin as Goku opening his giGoku is played by Justin Chatwin, mostly known for his role as Robbie in War of the Worlds.

This trailer doesn't answer many of the questions people have, but it is one of the first solid looks at the treatment and style outside of leaked set pictures. The questionable changes remain intact, like Goku's (Justin Chatwin) ethnicity, him starting out in high school, and the more serious atmosphere. One of the first things I gained from the trailer was the tone and attitude director James Wong was trying to achieve. While the original Dragonball series was lighthearted and had a distinct Asian style, the movie goes in the opposite direction. The trailer comes off as serious and very Americanized. I was hoping for something along the lines of producer Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle instead of a modern day version of the Jackie Chan/Jet Li team-up flick, Forbidden Kingdom. The setting doesn't sit well with me, especially with scenes that show a little too much of its modern day trappings. Perhaps the CGI effects can help with blending the ancient and futuristic environments, but the atmosphere doesn't feel quite right. Since Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat) received a large spotlight, that helped show the changes made to the character. While his perverted nature may not sit well with families, he appears far too serious and a little too young for the role. The look of Lord Piccolo is an interesting take, but I will reserve judgment until there is a full image of him.

Early headshot of PiccoloLord Piccolo is played by James Marsters, who appeared as the evil Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

It is evident which audience they are trying to appeal to with this movie. Many DB fans will watch it regardless of its quality, but it will be a harder sell to non-fans. The Dragonball series has gained a somewhat poor reputation in the US for its drawn out storylines, long fight scenes, and at times, lack of substance. Many had generalized anime as being just like Dragonball Z. Although DB is more of a comedy/adventure and much different than its successor, it was probably wise for them to take a mainstream standpoint with the movie. The music score has been a controversial subject with DBZ's localization, but the film score is looking positive. Composer Brian Tyler (Rambo, Eagle Eye) is apparently a big fan of the series and looks to capture the sweeping, epic, fantasy feel of the original anime and of Wong's adaptation. The official teaser trailer was supposed to premiere alongside Max Payne on October 17th, but has since been pushed back to later this year to allow for more editing and special effects.

There are still a lot of unknown details, but is a great source for cast and crew information, news, and an informative FAQ. With the movie releasing in North America on April 10, 2009, there is still over six months to finalize and polish. The internet community has been very vocal in its opinion of the Dragonball movie, but perhaps they can pull out a few surprises in this first iteration of their planned trilogy.

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