Dragonball Evolution – WTF.

14 03 2009

Out of a lack of exciting things to do, and a craving to while time away in a cinema, I ended up watching Dragonball Evolution today. Marina Square Golden Village lacks good movies 😦 

It was so bad, it was actually entertaining -.-

In fact, I found the advertisements before the movie lame enough, such that I began to suspect my TV hiatus may have been too long already. (Think Singapore drug ads which could have been anything else….)

Well the movie began with the first in a series of frighteningly bad cliches – Goku (the protagonist) engaging in what seems to be a daily ritual of sparring against his grandfather Gohan, replete with the typical CGI effects of a Chinese action film. Thing is, these days nobody is really wowed by the exoticness of 2 guys fighting upside down while hanging from 2 parallel ropes -.-  

More cliches include: 

  1. Goku’s “favourites” which Gohan cooks for him: chicken feet, sparrow tongues and pigeons. Most Chinese probably wouldn’t find this strange in the first place.  Wait, is Goku even supposed to be Chinese?!!?!??! 
  2. Geek going for Hot Girl, and gets her in the end with his hitherto-unexposed talents. This is self-explanatory.
  3. Making an army of attackers punch themselves by using awesome evasion skills.
  4. One-size-fits-all trump move: Kamehameha. 
  5. Damsel-in-distress being unable to open her locker. 
  6. “You know, there’s so much we have in common…” – yeah, besides being kungfu-proficient Asian stereotypes? Try that line on a girl at a bar. 

 

The presence of stock characters – Goku the Asian Geek, Chi Chi the Hot Asian Girl who falls for the geek, the esoteric Roushi etc, in addition to the abovementioned cliches and exaggerated motions repeated again and again throughout the film, make for more than an hour of continuous facepalming.

Also, I noticed that the motion for Kamehameha is the SAME almost every time round. I wonder if changing the sequence of actions will affect the strength of the attack. A friend actually commented that it resembled Para Para..

What got my goat was how the adaptation of Dragonball into an American high school context was a complete flop. In fact, I don’t even see the point of it at all. The high school setting only serves a minimal purpose within the plot by acting as a medium for Goku to meet, and impress Chi Chi. Hell, one would even expect the high school bullies to play a greater part in Goku’s journey of self-discovery beyond being convenient props for him to show off his skills to Chi Chi. 

The whole movie just gave off the vibes of a B grade HK action flick: lots of high impact action with little explanation and CGI overkill with a WTF plotline and passe slapstick humour. 

Lines that would have sounded alright in a B grade HK action flick sound so wrong in English that I couldn’t help laughing. 

There were so many of them, I can’t remember a single one -.- 

There were also a few parts in the movie that I did not understand, possibly because I have never watched/read Dragonball prior to watching this joke of an adaptation. Namely, WTF the scene with Piccolo and Mai bursting in on a little hut in some place that doesn’t seem to be anywhere on earth, and the final scene where Piccolo, after being destroyed, is seen lying in the hut, being tended to. 

In all fairness, at least the ending theme was nice: Rule by Hamasaki Ayumi. 

“Just because my name is Chi Chi (boob) doesn’t mean I’m an idiot.”  – imagine this said in a sultry sexy voice.

Now try and take her,  and the rest of the movie seriously :O 

….

 

Then watch the credits and realise that the film was produced by Stephen Chow. 

Acting: 5/10 

Plot: 2/10 

Effects: 3/10 not very spectacular for a movie that relies heavily on them.

Final Rating: 4/10 (+2 for entertainment value)

Oh and, it’s White Day!





How to watch someone you love walk away…and look good doing it.

9 02 2009

I spent the day (and part of yesterday night) indulging in visual stimulation, namely Chinese horror/romance flick 画皮, and秒速5センチメートル.

The former is an adaptation of one of the stories from Strange Tales from Liaozhai, a collection of ghost stories written in Classical Chinese. Ironic, considering that -ghost films- per se are banned in mainland China.

It stars Zhou Xun, whom I must say is one superb actress. Since I can’t be bothered to write a summary of the whole movie I shall just touch on a few key points here.

  1. Zhou Xun with clothes on.
  2. Zhou Xun without clothes.
  3. I like the way that the Man of contention, Wang Sheng, is portrayed as a brave husband who sticks to his priorities in the face of extreme (oh yes extreme..) temptation 😄
  4. Zhou Xun again. She makes you hate her and feel sorry for her alternately, depending on what’s required at that point of the movie.
  5. Well Vicki Zhao was pretty good too, as the virtuous and self-sacrificial wife with no lipstick.
  6. The theme song 画心, sung by Jane Zhang.
  7. However there was some weirdness and a jarring effect in the filming. I can’t pinpoint it.

Overall though, it was not bad and quite an interesting film.

Byousoku 5 cm is a 3-part trilogy of sorts, about these 2 kids Akari and Takaki, who meet in elementary school. Each part of the short series covers a particular period of their lives.

桜花抄 (Oukashou), the first part, is mostly narrated through letters from Akari, as they plan to meet after going different ways since graduating from elementary school. After many delays, they do meet, and share a really sweet moment in the snow.

It reminded me of the Ikimonogakari song, Sakura.

Lyrics here

Anyone notice the similarities? Cherry blossoms, letters, parting, Odakyuu trains….Hmm..

I strongly reccomend this anime-movie. Even those with strongly anti-fluff sentiments will appreciate the silent beauty of cherry blossoms and what never exactly blossomed between Akari and Takaki.

Back to the title of the post…How to watch someone you love walk away…and look good doing it.

Both Painted Skin and Byousoku involve the painful breaking up of relationships, onesided or not.

*spoiler alert*

Xiaowei (Zhou Xun) looks stunningly good even as she finally realises that Wang Sheng will never abandon Peirong for her. And who can forget Peirong (Vicki Zhao)’s heart-wrenching expression as she promises to defame and deface herself in exchange for her husband’s happiness?

As for Byousoku, Kanae’s single-minded pursuit of Takaki comes to mind, and her final admission that he’s always been after something she cannot comprehend. Somewhere mid-story, it’s debatable whether Akari cuts off contact with Takaki or not, but by the 3rd segment it’s clear that the two aren’t in contact any longer. The final scene, where both pass each other at a train crossing, is supremely cathartic – and Takaki suddenly looks so enlightened as he walks away from Akari and their dreams of their childhood.

/spoiler alert

No screencaps here because I watched it on streaming. Too n00b to achieve download speeds of Orz.

By the way,  the above picture is not mine either.