Dragonball Evolution

Release Date: April 10, 2009

Movie of the Day for Sunday, March 1, 2009
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Yeah, sometimes Japanese cartoons are weird.

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The Dragon Ball anime franchise was created in 1984 and in just a quarter century it has become an enormous success around the world. It has generally seen more success in Asia, but there is a loyal following of fans in North America as well. There have been more than one dozen feature animated Dragon Ball films, several television shows, numerous games, playing cards, and other collectibles, and video games, among other things. There was even a live-action Chinese-language - but unofficial - adaptation released in 1989. Now a new live-action film is on the way with James Wong (The X-Files; first and third Final Destination) as director and popular Hong Kong comedian, actor, and entertainer Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer; Kung Fu Hustle) as producer. Note that while Dragon Ball is typically spelled out as two words, the upcoming movie is spelled as one word.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story... well, this probably isn't going to help very much... In the context of the original anime series, the movie will focus on the King Piccolo Saga (aka the Demon Lord Piccolo Saga). This was the second-to-last saga from the Dragon Ball series, preceded by the Tien Shinhan Saga and before the finale, the Piccolo Jr. Saga.

The story centers on Goku (Justin Chatwin - if you don't recognize the name, he was the son in Spielberg's War of the Worlds), a humanoid boy from another planet who learns that he was originally sent to planet Earth in order to destroy it. But he's not down with that, so he chooses to help protect Earth and its inhabitants from a seriously evil alien intent on not only destroying Earth but to dominate the whole universe! Lord Piccolo (James Marsters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is the villain who hopes to find all seven mythical, and very powerful, Dragonballs to help him achieve his sinister goals. However hero Goku intends to find the Dragonballs first and goes on a quest. Along the way he seeks the help of his mentor Master Roshi (played by Hong Kong legend Chow Yun-Fat, perhaps best known in the U.S. for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon); his Grandpa Gohan (Randall Duk Kim), a martial arts expert; and of course there is a love interest, Chi-Chi (Jamie Chung). Plenty of other wondrous and wacky characters join the fray.

Filming is underway, primarily in Mexico - so expect to see some pretty exotic locations in the story. The movie has been in production for more than half a decade, but is finally expected to be released into movie theaters everywhere in the Spring of 2009. There are even tentative plans for two sequels. (Michael Bentley/BOP)

Vital statistics for Dragonball Evolution
Main Cast Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Jamie Chung
Supporting Cast Emmy Rossum, Chow Yun-Fat, Eriko Tamura, Joon Park, Texas Battle, Randall Duk Kim, Ernie Hudson
Director James Wong
Screenwriter James Wong
Distributor 20th Century Fox
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.dragonballthemovie.com/
Rating PG
Running Time 84 minutes
Screen Count 2,181
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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