So I checked out the leaked Dragonball: Evolution trailer which came out earlier this month (oddly, I can’t an official website for the movie yet) and these are basically my thoughts:
- They’re banking on special effects (especially of things blowing up) and people fighting to bring in people
- The special effects are, on average, average and some of them look pretty bad (though one might give them the benefit of a doubt since they might not be complete yet)
- They appear to be trying to do the fighting scenes in the Chinese Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Matrix style – that is to say, it is obviously fake, and since they’re trying to mimic it, it looks even worse.
- The acting sucks. No, really, it really sucks. And there isn’t even much of it in the trailer.
- The actual video quality sucks (and I’m not talking about the YouTube quality. I mean how the cinematography is done makes it look like a cheap TV show, not a theatrical movie)
- I don’t fucking care what the character names is. That portion of the trailer is targeted solely towards people who are already fans which, I’m sorry, isn’t enough to keep the movie from bombing.
Some of you may remember how unimpressed I was with the Speed Racer trailer and how much I doubted how it would attract people to see it, even with the flashy special effects.
Well, Dragonball is making Speed Racer look like an academy award winner movie. While Speed Racer didn’t really attract people to the theater, it’s special effects were actually, you know, good. And while the acting wasn’t good, it was decent. Dragonball appears to be several levels below Speed Racer on both accounts based on this trailer.
Amazingly, Fox has spent a whopping $100 million on this movie, only $20 million less than the eye-popping Speed Racer, and the dollars per minute is actualy more than Speed Racer at the moment: Speed Racer ran for 135 minutes, which amounts to about $889,000 a minute, while Dragonball: Evolution is currently slated to be 98 minutes – at least according to Wikipedia – which would put it at $1,020,000 a minute.
That’s nothing compared to most summer blockbusters – Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End cost $300 million and the just released Quantum of Solace cost $230 million. On the other hand, the hugely popular Ironman cost $135 million – which is only about $50,000 more a minute than the Dragonball movie right now.
Considering that, this movie should be a special effects extraveganza. It sure isn’t looking like it.
I’ve long said that I thought that this movie would bomb – not because I think turning anime series into live action movies is an inherently bad idea or because of any ill will towards the Dragonball series, but it just didn’t seem like the right title to adapt. And on top of this, Fox ignores the lessons of movies like Batman Begins, Spiderman, and X-Men as well as of movies like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Speed Racer and decide to turn the movie into a “live action cartoon,” something which almost assures a death sentence for a movie.
If you want to give people a cartoon, then give them a cartoon. If you want to give them a live action movie, then give them a live action movie. People don’t seem to like it when you try to mix the two.