KBABZ wrote: ↑
Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:06 am
To be fair there's very few of us here under the illusion that Disney is actually going to do this anytime soon. But it is an interesting topic because of the challenges that such a production would have, the many ways to ruin it, and the stars that need to align in order for it to be decent and actually tell the entire story along the way.
One of those stars that probably would have to align is for Disney to NOT be involved or be the ones who handle this in ANY way in the first place. Which is obviously not possible in this case (rights being where they currently are and whatnot).
Given both Disney's general output AND the homogenized Hollywood summer tentpole landscape of the past decade+, I'm fairly sure that most people here would more than likely end up with EXACTLY what they want out of this: an MCU clone with Dragon Ball characters and iconography stapled onto it (sprinkled with some fanservicey shout outs to the source).
So basically: good acting and chemistry among the cast, competent but pedestrian and TV-movie level direction and filmmaking, a bland and nothing score, dialogue that's more than 85% snarky, quippy, and Whedon-lite (and mistakes witty banter for strong characterization), action and fight scenes that are baseline competent, but excruciatingly weightless, uncreative, monotonous, milquetoast, and lacking any impact or tension whatsoever, etc.
The net effect being something that's pleasing to a VERY diluted and whitebread sensibility of "fun" while lacking in any hint of creative identity or anything the least bit memorable or impacting. Something that is purely and simply just "there" and exists almost like the "filler" preservatives in a supermarket condiment.
Basically, you'll likely get a standard 2000s/2010s superhero movie, which are all largely and effectively big budget live action Saturday morning cartoons with slumming A-list level talent behind the wheel: which in the case of a live action Hollywood Dragon Ball film being made in that model and mindset, will effectively translate to it ending up as the "good and competent" version of FUNimation's DBZ dub.
The overall broader Western fanbase I'm sure will be largely overjoyed for that result: save for the Redpill chucklefucks who will bitterly whine, piss, and moan about the "SJW-ification" of their "Proud White Male" hero Goku (incidentally named and modeled after one of the single most famous and iconic Chinese Wuxia characters of all time) being played by an Asian actor. But really, who gives a fuck about them?
Even in the best possible case scenario (which I just outlined here) however, this won't be a film for me. It won't be a martial arts/Wuxia film (certainly not at least a decent or interesting one, which is the baseline minimum I'd be asking for here), and it certainly won't be Dragon Ball at its core, despite how primed it'll likely be to please its current day Western audience by adhering strictly to the MCU formula.
It'll basically be an Avengers film with martial arts dogi: which, gargantuan
and obvious gulfs in talent and craft aside, is to me effectively not THAT much different in the grand scheme of things from FUNimations DBZ "reversion". The raw cringe will be completely diluted of course, but so too will the genre identity, storytelling, and general artistic & cultural personality that made Dragon Ball stand out as something distinctive and worthwhile in the first place (and which was the FAR more crippling missing ingredient from FUNimation's dub beyond the total and abject lack of raw acting, musical, and writing talent).
Wuxia is a genre who's history in film and cinematic language is about a century old
at this point: its LONG cultivated its own set of filmmaking tics and tropes (style and aesthetic choices, tone and atmosphere, narrative shorthand, etc), most of which are still very much evident (to one degree or another) in today's Wuxia film & TV output, and many of which were VERY much adhered to in Dragon Ball, certainly within the anime. Within the realm of live action film, Wuxia certainly has not only an older and longer history with it than do superhero films, but also a FAR more developed and established style of filmmaking to go along with it.
Superheroes, as a genre of movies, may have been around since the old serials, but they've only really "found their stride" within the past maybe 20 someodd years or so. Dragon Ball is intrinsically, at its very core, rooted in something that is cinematically FAR older and FAR different and removed from today's style of Hollywood superhero movies. There's a TINY little inkling bit of it found within SOME aspects of how some superhero fight scenes are sometimes handled (and that largely owes itself to the influence of The Matrix, which itself was deeply, DEEPLY rooted in Wuxia as well), but at this stage its pretty heavily diluted and watered down a ton.
There are no shortage of veteran filmmakers (largely Chinese of course) who've been doing this genre for literally decades longer than most folks here have been alive, and plenty of young, up and coming ones who are no slouches themselves: but the likelihood of ANYTHING of that finding its way into a live action Disney DB adaptation is pretty much nill. Assuming this even gets made at all, this will almost 100% guaranteed be a pure outgrowth and byproduct of the MCU formula (which even Disney's Star Wars films, to some extent, have fallen victim to, especially with the "side films" like Rogue One and Solo). Emphasis on the "formula" part.
I can't think of anything I'd want to see LESS on Dragon Ball than the MCU's residue leaking out of its pores. FUNimation's DBZ dub was a terrible, shitty, and godawfully executed superhero cartoon. But a "good", decently well executed live action superhero film version of Dragon Ball (within the context of a post-Avengers world) to me is almost EQUALLY as non-enticing and certainly every bit just as wrong and ill-fitting for this property.
The baseline craft and watchability being notches higher than FUNi technically WOULD make it "better" (though that's hardly a high or difficult bar to clear), but not to the point where it'd still be something I'd have the least bit interest in seeing, or associating with Dragon Ball in general.
Dragon Ball is a mystical/high fantasy Kung Fu franchise. This should have not just Asian actors, but moreover some veteran Kung Fu/Wuxia film stunt crew, fight choreographers, cinematographers, directors, editors, film score composers, screenwriters, etc. who've been doing this shit for eons and eons now.
Basically, Hong Kong should make this instead of Disney.
That wouldn't 100% GUARANTEE a good DB film either (Hong Kong is hardly perfect themselves and have certainly made some pretty damn shitty Wuxia films too, along with the canon of great classics and the many solidly good ones to their name), but the odds would damn certainly be ASTRONOMICALLY higher in its favor, and with far infinitely less cultural baggage and bullshit to get in the way.
In essence, I would much more gladly and eagerly take a live action Dragon Ball as an even moderately ok Wuxia film rather than I ever would a live action Dragon Ball film that was the best ever possible rendition of the MCU/Avengers formula to date. Hell, I'd even take something on the level of The Forbidden Kingdom (minus all the bullshit with the "White American Wuxia Fanboy gets transported to Jianghu" subplot) at this point. Give me the white-kid-free version of Forbidden Kingdom but as Dragon Ball. That's a decent approximation of my ROCK BOTTOM LOWEST POSSIBLE BAR for this to clear for me to say "Y'know what? That was an acceptably ok Dragon Ball live action movie!"
Even something roughly equivalent in it as Jet Li's utterly note-fucking-perfect
Wukong performance for Goku, while it'd be a wonderfully nice bonus, would by no means be a requirement for me. Just a baseline competent and authentic cinematic Wuxia romp (which get pumped out at almost literally a dime a dozen over in Hong Kong) but for DB is all I'd really ask for to be happy with this.
For reference: Forbidden Kingdom was only a year prior
to Dragonball Evolution. And while Forbidden Kingdom is (to put it lightly) hardly an outstanding film by any stretch of the imagination (apart from the incredible turn as Wukong by Li and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Li and Chan duke it out onscreen), it is still INFINITE LIGHTYEARS a better martial arts film than DBE (obviously), and certainly FAR more beyond deeply rooted within Dragon Ball's creative core than either DBE (itself a goddamned 2002 Spider-Man knockoff) or anything that is likely to come out of a post-MCU Disney. I'm certainly not holding it up as my ideal equivalent here: just my absolute lowest
barometer for "acceptable".
Oh and lastly: we all know damn well
that some chucklefuck screenwriter will not at all
be able to resist throwing in some godawful, cringe-worthy "Over 9000" joke in there (in whichever film tackles the Saiya-jin or Freeza) as a "shoutout to the 'source'". That ALONE would almost be enough to make me completely uninterested just on principal alone. To say nothing of whatever Abridged references have an almost equally high chance of worming their way in there as well. Blech. Thanks, but no thanks.