Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

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Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by goku the krump dancer » Wed May 05, 2021 9:30 am

So unless you've been living under a rock, you're well aware that a new Mortal Kombat movie hit theatres and HBO Streaming about 2 weeks ago. It's been received with VERY Mixed reviews, from casual fans to hardcore lore whores people either loved it or hated it with very people being somewhere in the middle.

Two key components to the mixed feelings are

1. The brand new character for the movie "Cole Young", who's supposed to be as the title says, the audience stand in character, he's supposed to our eyes and voice walking through the world of this version of Mortal Kombat. Keeping it short folks either thought he's completely unnecessary and you have some who're more open to see how his story develops should this new franchise continue (which it most likely will).

2. Narrative Liberties, meaning long established story aspects have been bent a little or changed entirely to fit the director's (or Hollywood's) broader vision and maybe even something that can just be better digested by a mass audience who might not be all that familiar with the Mortal Kombat story and how it has evolved since 1992.

In relation to Dragon Ball, I know some users here ( Namely Kunzait ) is hugely supportive of the idea that, at the very least from an artistic stand point, that there's more than enough CGI technology today that pull off Dragon Ball's esthetic with out having it look off putting or too goofy, to which I agree to an extent.

So art style aside, how do you guys feel about a potential brand new audience stand in character for a live action DB movie? Do you think it could help non-fans/ super casual fans understand the world better if they had a character "in universe" being their eyes, ears and mouth? Also if such a character existed, what narrative liberties would be okay with being taken in order to tell a cohesive story for a 100 minute movie and have it make sense to a broader audience, incase certain things don't translate as well from cartoon to live action big screen?
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by MasenkoHA » Wed May 05, 2021 10:33 am

We have a built in audience stand in character. Her name is Bulma.

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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Cure Dragon 255 » Wed May 05, 2021 10:34 am

And Gohan.
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It's ill-fitting for me. Dragon Ball is not a bedtime story. And "laid-back old man" is not how I would describe Yanami's narrator. To me he sounds like the kind of uncle that shows up to the birthday party with loads of fruit punch soda and stuffs himself with pizza and ice cream, or takes you out on his boat at the lake in the summer and goes skinny dipping or something.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by goku the krump dancer » Wed May 05, 2021 11:12 am

MasenkoHA wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 10:33 am
We have a built in audience stand in character. Her name is Bulma.
Bulma and Goku learn together though. She's not pulled into "his world" so to speak, Goku learns about the Dragon Balls because of her.

Cure Dragon 255 wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 10:34 am
And Gohan.
Gohan can be seen as such, but would you be alright with a live action series starting at the Saiyan arc? Its a popular starting point but not THE starting point.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by jamiljamtheman » Wed May 05, 2021 11:28 am

Y’all are already forgetting about the ultimate relatable human stand in character. Hercule :lol:

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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Jaetinh » Wed May 05, 2021 1:04 pm

Dragon Ball definitely doesn't need a new character to do that. I'm not into Mortal Kombat games but I can understand why did they it with the new movie. New fans watching this new potential live action DB film basically know as little as Goku does at the beginning of Dragon Ball, and that's why we have Bulma.

Gohan?? Man, I'd be so fucking pissed if they ever decided to start a live action film/series with Z. I understand that native English speaking countries started with Z so a lot of those fans view Dragon Ball as an unimportant prequel to Z when it's obviously not. You want to introduce someone to the world of Dragon Ball, tell the full story as intended by the author.

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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Hellspawn28 » Wed May 05, 2021 1:11 pm

People can relate to Goku just fine. You had millions of people watching Dragon Ball on TV in the late 90s and early 2000s that found Goku to be a fun likable character. If they do another Dragon Ball live action movie again, start with Pilaf just like how the manga started.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips » Wed May 05, 2021 1:52 pm

An audience stand-in isn't about relatability. At least not usually. Their outsider status is usually there so that things about the setting can be explained to the audience without breaking immersion. Why are these characters talking about things they should already know? Because Joe Schmuckatelli has no idea what a quasit is and needs it explained to him. Seems an odd thing to add to a Mortal Kombat film. The characters are all already outsiders and they all need what's going on explained to them. Several of them also have very mundane jobs so it's not as if they're starved for "relatable" characters but I'm just some weirdo on the internet. What do I know?

As far as a Dragon Ball movie goes, it probably shouldn't be set in the kid Goku era. When the general population thinks Goku they think the spikey haired, gold dude with huge muscles. And beyond that, the only Dragon Ball era arcs that can realistically be condensed down to a movie are the tournaments. Which, I'd probably like, but I dunno if casual movie goers (or hardcore fans who expect world shattering stakes) will.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by dragonmagico » Wed May 05, 2021 2:39 pm

Spoilers for the movie below..
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I thought he was supposed to be scorpion jr not *just* a stand in. what with him being descended from him and seemingly inheriting his powers

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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by kemuri07 » Wed May 05, 2021 3:54 pm

dragonmagico wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 2:39 pm
Spoilers for the movie below..
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I thought he was supposed to be scorpion jr not *just* a stand in. what with him being descended from him and seemingly inheriting his powers
But he's an entirely new character for the series, and his entire existence is to ease the audience into the insane lore of MK. He's a stand in.


And yeah, Bulma, at least in OG DB, is the audience stand in. Not only is she closer to a "real person" than Goku is, but she serves to explain a lot of the world building not just to Goku but to the audience as well.

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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Adamant » Wed May 05, 2021 5:46 pm

MasenkoHA wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 10:33 am
We have a built in audience stand in character. Her name is Bulma.
Came here to say this. Toriyama himself used this narrative technique. With both Bulma AND Goku.
The series is set in a completely different world, so Toriyama had one of the characters be a dumb hick that doesn't know anything more about the world than the reader does and needs things explained to him just as much as them. Most of the characters are skilled in fantastic martial arts, so Toriyama had one of the characters be an ignorant city girl that doesn't know anything more about this stuff than the reader does and needs things explained to her just as much as them.
goku the krump dancer wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:12 am
Bulma and Goku learn together though. She's not pulled into "his world" so to speak, Goku learns about the Dragon Balls because of her.
And Bulma learns about the Dragon Balls from a book she read like a month prior to meeting Goku. Everything she told him was just second hand information she had just recently become aware of herself.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by ABED » Wed May 05, 2021 6:19 pm

DB doesn't require much explanation. Most exposition is overrated anyway as audiences get it. They don't need to be spoonfed everything. If you need convincing, American audiences started DB 1/3 of the way through.

DB doesn't need a stand in character, nor does MK. MK is a tournament between Earth and a dimension ruled by a tyrant. If Earth's best fighters lose enough times, we're screwed. It's a simple premise. Why over-complicate it?
Toriyama had one of the characters be a dumb hick that doesn't know anything
It's an old writer's trick - make one of the characters dumb, it makes delivering exposition easier as everything needs to be explained to them.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Kid Buu » Thu May 06, 2021 1:47 am

Image

I've been following the MK series since the Sega Mega Drive, and I didn't care for the new MK film at all. I don't mind the idea of making adjustment to the storyline, but the addition of Cole Young felt like adding more to an already bloated cast. Don't feel like we need a new character for Dragon Ball either. We have plenty of established characters we can use.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Super Sonic » Thu May 06, 2021 9:05 pm

While I haven't watched the movie yet, have to ask, would a variation of the classic theme song with his name instead of whoever he may have replaced work? Speaking of which of things I've seen, haven't seen if Raiden and Johnny Cage were in it, so guessing it would be one of their names, or would it sound out of place?

But yeah, don't think it's needed with DB. Then again, due to how some things change over time, who knows? Recall watching vid talking about the Japanese Spider-Man being different, but a hit in Japan, but could be due to the time period or whatever.

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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Kunzait_83 » Fri May 07, 2021 8:39 am

Super Sonic wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 9:05 pm
While I haven't watched the movie yet, have to ask, would a variation of the classic theme song with his name instead of whoever he may have replaced work? Speaking of which of things I've seen, haven't seen if Raiden and Johnny Cage were in it, so guessing it would be one of their names, or would it sound out of place?
Raiden's definitely in it (ironically played by Tadanobu Asano, who's most famous role was in a really fun Japanese cult classic called Electric Dragon 80,000 V), but Johnny Cage is only briefly teased in the very last scene (the last shot of the movie is one of his film posters).

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Anyways, this shouldn't need to be said, but the whole "invented original character to act as audience stand-in" trope is one of the single worst, most misguided and completely unnecessary things in the whole history of movies and fiction writing in general, and it has one of the absolute worst track records of almost any trope I can think of. I can't think of a SINGLE lone instance ANYWHERE where it either worked or felt even remotely appropriate. It always 100% of the time just drags down the overall quality of the narrative and feels glaringly out of place.

Dragon Ball certainly doesn't need it (once again, as its been noted here, Bulma is indeed, at the very beginning of the series, our audience surrogate for the most part), but Mortal Kombat needed it even less, as there's not one, not two, but a MYRIAD of different characters already in the original source material who could easily fill this role (many of whom are in the movie anyway). Johnny Case is obvious (to the point that he fulfilled this role perfectly well in the original 1995 MK movie), but there's also Sonya, Jax, and even Kano. Hell, Stryker would've even worked infinitely better in this type of role.

Kano in this newest MK movie actually ended up serving this "audience stand-in" role even FAR better than Cole did: Kano has a genuine, discernable, and engaging personality straight out of the games (criminal sleazebag who's 100% selfish id and cares only about money), whereas Cole is a blank-faced cipher who delivers a monotone, robotic, mannequin-like performance and has zero interesting dialogue or identifiable characteristics whatsoever, nor does he possess so much as an ounce of chemistry with any of the other characters from the source... making Cole feel that much more totally needless and extraneous in practice than he already did on paper.

Cole's literally just completely useless dead weight in a movie that's based on a source material that's already PLENTY overstuffed with interesting characters, any number of which could've more than easily filled his "audience surrogate" role seamlessly and far better. Everything about Cole just screams "forced studio mandate" in the most glaringly awkward way imaginable, and he's the least organic or natural seeming element in this thing imaginable.

That's not at all a unique end result to this type of character: almost close to EVERY major instance of a studio mandated original character invented to serve as the "audience stand-in" generally ends up like this, and similarly just drags down everything else around them and wastes copious amounts of time and energy that could've been infinitely better spent on an actual, useful, interesting character from whatever the original source material happens to be. This isn't at all a new phenomenon, its one of the oldest, most tired, and thoroughly discredited Hollywood executive cliches imaginable.

That its still being trotted out in 2021 and that there are still people out there willing to entertain it is beyond sad and exhausting.

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This type of thread actually seems like its in some ways a part of a fandom phenomenon that stretches all the way back to at least my earliest time here on this particular forum and has seemed to be getting gradually worse and worse in some areas: audiences seemingly becoming gradually trained to think about movies, TV, and media in general through the prism of studio and marketing executives, rather than that of either an actual artist, or even just purely as an audience member.

What I mean by that is, it seems like more and more average fans within various fandoms are becoming more and more acclimated to thinking about their favorite works more in terms of how a studio or marketing executive might approach them, rather than in terms of what just works best for them artistically and even just from a pure audience standpoint.

"I think doing this would sell more tickets or this would sell more toys or merchandise, and I think this would make for a bigger franchise" seems to be more and more increasingly a priority and prominent perspective in the minds of so many average fans in online discourse like this whenever they approach these things, as opposed to just simply "I think this would make for a better, more engaging creative work".

I feel like this needs to be stressed more and more to people: you aren't the marketing department for these things, nor are you on the board of the companies' shareholders. You don't get a cut of the profits when the movie, show, cartoon, or whatever makes bank: all you get and are stuck with as an audience is just the end work in and of itself for you to take in. So that's ALL that we should generally care about, as regular audience members.

What often ridiculous and random nonsense satisfies the (usually and often out of touch and detached) whims of a marketing executive or studio head should be of ZERO concern to us: often times usually those things tend to be COMPLERELY counterintuitive to making for a better, more satisfying work.

You shouldn't give a rat's ass what can make something sell more merch or rake in more profits for a company that you are in no way whatsoever a part of: these things are of ZERO consequence to you whatsoever.

When average, ordinary people/fans/audiences take on and internalize the perspective of a marketing or studio executive and look at their favorite works more and more as vehicles to make (other people) money and not as purely something to please and interest them or people that they know personally... I think there's something very backwards, and certainly even kind of pathetic about that.

Again to repeat: you're not the studio head, you're not on the board of shareholders for the company, and you're not an advertising or marketing rep: you're just the audience. You don't get any of the money that these things will make. You're a regular, average person. Think about and focus on what YOU, as an individual audience member, would be best served by in a given work of media, not whatever nonsense might rake in an extra buck for the executives behind the scenes. They don't and shouldn't fucking matter to you. You don't get any of the money: all you get is the end result.

Or to put this more in the parlance of our times: stop being a fucking brainwashed cuck to corporate concerns about marketing, merchandising, franchise potential, etc. that don't remotely impact you or your own wallet, and focus instead on the substantive shit in these works that actually matters to you as a regular-ass audience member for these things.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by goku the krump dancer » Fri May 07, 2021 9:46 am

So, it seems we're all pretty much on the same page, that a "Stand In" character wasn't necessary for Mortal Kombat and isn't really needed for Dragon Ball. Granted I still don't think Bulma was quite that character per say, I'll let sleeping dogs lie with that one.

Kunzait_83 wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 8:39 am
What I mean by that is, it seems like more and more average fans within various fandoms are becoming more and more acclimated to thinking about their favorite works more in terms of how a studio or marketing executive might approach them, rather than in terms of what just works best for them artistically and even just from a pure audience standpoint.
That's why I also asked about Narrative Liberties, as in, as a fan ( A "hardcore" one at that) what things wouldn't you mind seeing getting the axe or bent a little bit if it meant we can get through the entire Pilaf arc in an nice cohesive 80 to 90 or even 100 minute movie that would in turn maybe even encourage people to watch the show or read the manga. Safe to say that MK 2021 did the games no favors, just because Cole Young aside, it was just a mess on almost every corner. They're trying to tell their own version of Mortal Kombat instead of just copying and pasting everything the games have built up to this point (which I'm fine with mostly because I expect Live Action to be a little different regardless and MK didn't really find its narrative footing until Deadly Alliance anyway) but it was just all over the place.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Kid Buu » Fri May 07, 2021 2:50 pm

What do you mean by MK didn't really find its narrative footing until Deadly Alliance? I remember the story was significant part before 2002. It had all sorts of multimedia.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Adamant » Fri May 07, 2021 7:03 pm

goku the krump dancer wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 9:46 am
Granted I still don't think Bulma was quite that character per say, I'll let sleeping dogs lie with that one.
It's not JUST her, but her hanging around early on and being ignorant to the world of martial arts means a lot of early exposition is done by having other characters explain things to her. It happens with other characters too - as mentioned, Goku is a dumb hick who's never seen anything beyond the edge of the forest he lived in, so exposition about the Dragon World is delivered in the form of Goku learning alongside the reader. Yumcha knows what the Kamehameha is but Puer doesn't, so we get an infodump in the form of HIM getting it explained to him.

A knowledgable character explaining things to an ignorant character, and by proxy the reader, is always a better narrative technique than two knowledgable characters randomly reminding each other of things they both know.
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by goku the krump dancer » Sat May 08, 2021 9:16 am

Kid Buu wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 2:50 pm
What do you mean by MK didn't really find its narrative footing until Deadly Alliance? I remember the story was significant part before 2002. It had all sorts of multimedia.
I'm aware that different prequel comics and stuff like that exists for MK1 and MK4 but they aren't absolute necessities in order to understand what's going on in those respective games.

The stories in the older games were there but they weren't the driving force for the games, granted I was born in 92, so I'm not sure if people were claiming for MK3 because they were curious as to how Shao Kahn came back or they just were amped to play their favorite characters again and check out the new ones.

MK1 can almost be treated like its own thing considering that a lot of the character's personalities were so different in that game, as well as core premise being to stop Shang Tsung from running a corrupt tournament, not necessarily saving "Earth Realm". In MK1 Liu Kang doesnt kill, Shang Tsung is running the tournament for his own selfish reasons ( no mention of Shao Kahn) and Raiden is just some bored God looking for a fight and destroys the world in his ending.

MK-2 and 3 roll together and MK4 with Mythologies are supposed to be a tandem as well but because Noob Saibot and Sareena aren't factors in MK4's story then Mythologies events are a non-factor. Nothing about MKM is referenced in MK4.

The only aspect of MK4 that carries over to Deadly Alliance is that Raiden became an Elder God but he relinquished his status to help fight, ultimately making it a non factor too. You can't understand everything in Deception with out playing DA, same with Armageddon to Deception and likewise with the Reboot Trilogy.
Adamant wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 7:03 pm
Snip
Guess anyone who's having new information explained to them is an audience surrogate at that point then right?
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Re: Audience "Stand-In" characters (Cole Young) and Narrative Liberties with Live Action Dragon Ball

Post by Kid Buu » Sat May 08, 2021 9:08 pm

goku the krump dancer wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 9:16 am
snip
Expereinces are definitely gonna vary per person, but I was following the story even before Deady Alliance. Heck when I got Mortal Kombat Trilogy I used to not play it and leave it running idle so the character bios would show up. Plus in additon to comics there were TV shows and the blockbuster films.

I'm not sure Deadly Alliance would be a good starting point. The main characters (Rayden, Shang Tsung, Quan Chi) were already established characters. I'd say the 2011 reboot is probably when a newer generation of fans formed, espeically since it completely restarts the story anyways.
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