Marsters and Wong Explain changes for Dragonball Evolution

Most of the cussing about Dragonball Evolution is from the rabid fans that somehow think the original animated series should translate literally to an on screen masterpiece. Well in recent talks with some of the stars and the director James Wong, they discuss some of the reasoning behind the changes they took in adapting the manga to the big screen.

Yahoo reports:

The filmmakers behind “Dragonball Evolution” added 10 years to its hero to give the movie a grittier look, actor James Marsters said at a press conference Wednesday.

In the comic book series, “Goku is 7 years old and fighting midgets all the time,” said Marsters, who plays Goku’s rival, Lord Piccolo. “We muscled it up.”

But while Goku was given a more adult interpretation, director James Wong said he toned down another key character — Roshi, a flirtatious, Hawaii-shirt wearing martial arts master — to appeal to a broader audience.

Roshi, played by veteran Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat, is “a little tamer than he is in the manga,” Wong said.

Wong said condensing the dozens of “Dragonball” manga books that have already been published was a tough task. “All that we hoped to do was to preserve the essence of Dragonball — the fun, the thrills the adventure,” he said.

I think that the film looks to have captured all that. Besides, they were never shy about admitting it was an adaptation. By pure definition of the word, it means “changes due to a new environment” Some of the over eager fans have been so obsessed over the changes they don’t notice the overall intent to keep the spirit of the manga alive.

I think the changes were neccessary. I don’t think I need to see a 7 year old surfing around on a cloud while a goofy old man makes flirty comments about girls and silly faces.

I also think it is a good thing that Wong is using the manga as his inspiration since most of the fans seem to fall back on how the book was less “for children” as the cartoon is. If he manages to capture the spirit of what is going on there, the movie will likely have a broader appeal.

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63 thoughts on “Marsters and Wong Explain changes for Dragonball Evolution

  1. DRaGONball evolution was great and it seems cool and looks like a better mortal kombat in my eyes, seven balls must be found or all man’s face will be bound, it doesn’t get any serious or adventures than that.

  2. just look on IMDB to what the director and writer have done, and its basicaly nothing but ‘kak’ – its my new favourite word. Well if they cant even do the trailer correctly then what hope do we have for the film , and i havnt made anything up – EVOLUTION is a retarded title, its PG so its for children its nothing more than a glorified cartoon, when if done correctly, could of been a dark film with a very successfull franchise and many other films to follow.I wont dare tell my friends i am a dragon ball fan because id be rediculed and ashamed by the ‘kak’ which was pumped out of Wong and 20thc.Fox’s collective asse’s. I think Wong said that he didnt want to have a kid play Goku against Picolo so they gave the role to an adult, if they wanted it to be a proper action all stars and muscles then there are other more interesting storylines in the DB series which are far more interesting than there sperm coloured picolo.

    And you say i cant slate the film, well i can and i am! to cry me a river if you dont like it.

    And plus i never was a big fan of the Street fighter franchise but: ‘Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li’ looks far more interesting and slighlty better made. and the title is less retarded ‘The Legend’ sounds far more interesting than ‘Evolution’.

    DB will just fade away in DVD bin, it will be lucky if it makes it to blu-ray!

  3. its not ignorance when there is a pattern to how hollywood films operate, specially to how 20th century fox does films, an inexperienced director&writer given big ish budget, its gona be a flop, if you want the film to do well you give it a crew which is experienced with that kinda job,big director&writer will bring the masses in and make more money and help the survival of the franchise then maybe you give an inexperienced crew the sequel but not the flagship film, 20th century fox are not respecting what Toriyama has built, hell i dont even like where he is going with the GT series, specialy when he said he was going to stop the dragonball series 10years ago and work on something else.And thats what they are doing because the kids are more familiar with the GT series then they made a film wich differs from the original story line. FOX should stick to making tv for the heards of people. And WTF is with the reatarded title EVOLUTION, that is the lamest title in the world no good film has ever existed with Evolution in the title, if it was DBZ a sequel movie then Evolution would fit [still retarded] but as a first in a series trying to appeal to the unaware. Now please dont give me no bull crap like ‘dont judge a book by its cover’ because trailers are very giving. Hell i wont go and c it because they made it for kids a PG hell batman and tomb raider were a 12. Ergo its gonna be crap, just a junked up firwork display of a toy advert, lets hop that all the kids will have their DBZ goodies for x-mas. Fox aint getting my money for that piss poor attempt. And as i said before i have been waiting for this film for 15years i prob know a hell of alot more than you about it. When the cast came out it didnt look promising but i was prepared to wait till the trailer, now its out they can expect alot of noise from me on every blog out there lol like i can be bothered. and its fun talking to touchy people like you who thinks the world is pink and everything should be given a chance lol life is too short ‘irony i know i am on a blog’ trailer is shit = film will be shit! life is so simple

    1. It IS ignorance to assume that because of some pattern that you invented and a studio you don’t like means this film IS bad. You haven’t seen it.

      NOTHING you say at this point can justify you ASSUMING the movie is bad when you have no proof that it will live up to your prejudice over the studio and your impressions of the trailer.

      A bad trailer can kill a movie’s buzz and that doesn’t mean its a bad movie. It means its a bad trailer. There have been movies I don’t care about at all after seeing a trailer turn into movies I love, and trailers that looked incredible only leading me to a movie that I cannot stand.

      You might want to read your over long and repetitive comment above and tell me how every time you make an assuming statement without proof is nothing short of an assumption???

      You cant.

      I dont have to prove you wrong, you did it yourself.

      You can’t know this movie will be as bad as you are assuming it will be simply because you haven’t seen it.

      Fine, you dont WANT to like this movie. Your call. But it doesnt mean your presumptions are facts.

  4. LOL the fact that 20th century fox made it is sufficient for my judgement. they are rapping the franchise just to make a quick buck. and just looking at the trailer makes me sick, and please its one thing for me to insult that film because it looks terrible, the story line has nothing to do with the original manga series, but its an other to insult me in callin me ignorant, you tit! James Wong is the director and he is the king of KAK! hell if James Cameron
    had dont it there would of been hope. This iteration / incarnation of DBZ is an americanised bull shit with a crap director and a paphetic writer. now please proove me wrong!

    1. I don’t have to prove you wrong.

      You are ASSUMING it will be bad because you don’t like the director, you cant seem to understand that a direct translation would be retarded looking and you are not happy with the adaptation.

      But you might watch it, and it might be good anyways. You don’t know that.

      Where your ignorance lies “you tit” is that you already say the movie IS crap and you can’t even know that. You might not like how its shaping up, or even be impressed with what is already shown, but you can’t know that the movie is crap before you have even seen it.

      This might be the worst movie EVER and I wont hesitate to say so if it is once I see it. But I won’t jump the bandwagon and let someone who jumps to conclusions just because Fox is making it that say its automatically bad. That is ignorant.

  5. Hell i wont even bother pointing out the obviouse, that film is just Kak!!! I have read the Manga series a million times since i was 8 and for 15years i have been waiting for the film and this the sh*t 20th fox pulls out of its ass, 99% of the fan base are well in the 20’s and they make it a PG a f*cking PG!!! its embarrassing for the fans fuck it its an insult, I wont even download it. Peace

    1. And you have SEEN this movie already? How do you know its “kak” when you havent even seen the movie.

      You can say you are not hopeful about this, but to already assume it will be garbage when you havent watched the movie is ignorant.

  6. “This is an adaptation. Yes, Roshi serves a purpose. But making him a believable teacher/mentor is not a bad thing. You presume that they should have got a crackpot zany old man to play Roshi so we can spend the movie rolling our eyes at him? You said it yourself, Roshi can kick ass.. so why is it so bad that they made that believable?”

    Clearly you haven’t seen Drunken Master which proves beyond question that an old zany, crazy man can indeed kick mucho ass.

    1. Shaolin Vs Llama has been on my shelf for the better part of two decades Finaljoe. I am well aware of how much ass a drunken master can kick.

      But the hokey behaviour that is a staple among Kung-Fu cinema just doesn’t fly in north american films. If this was Kung-Fu Cinema, I would have no issues with hokey or over acting characters. But this is a North American release targeted at a North American audience.

      And the drunken master would own Hawaiian shirt wearing hokey Roshi while still dishing noodles past his uncanny long beard and ‘stach!

      At least this movie version of Roshi looks like he could hold his own or win against a Kung-Fu Drunken master.

      If you dare challenge my Kung-Fu Cimema knowledge again I will beat you with the staff of insolence.

  7. “I used that picture to illustrate how silly these characters look when real people try to dress like them.

    I don’t really care that they are from Z, they are Dragonball cartoons come to life and they look like retards. ”

    I hope you realise the difference a costume and make-up department for a multi-million dollar Hollywood production is to a couple of guys buying costumes for $20 in a toy store.

  8. I’m not a rabid fan of the anime but I do know what it was – it was bright, fun and zany. All of which seems to be lost at they try to make this film “darker” and more “realistic”. Bollocks to that. No one’s expecting a masterpiece from a Dragonball movie but if it has been more true to the original styling it would at least have been interesting, unique and perhaps a lot of fun.

  9. yea I’m gonna have to go ahead and sorta disagree withyou there, Rodney. Um yea….cuz The Matrix was totally and completely the essence of manga and comic book action, style, story and framing…YET it wasn’t stupid, corny and cheesy. They coulda done a gritty movie no problem with a younger kid and just made Roshi not say stupid shit…duuuuuh. They don’t have to quote the guy but from the looks of it, that movie is not Dragonball. I see NO essence at ALL. It’s a peice of shit. Speed Racer looks like a masterpiece in comparison to that…thing.

    p.s. I don’t care if I misspelled anything. don’t feel like spell checking.

  10. Rodney I have no problems with a Film adaptation of Dragon Ball, yes that Dragon ball fans like my self are cool with,…But I do have problem when the Main characters origin is ignored completely, No i don’t mean his ethnicity. I mean Goku is an Alien for fuck sake, he’s sent to earth to destroy it, why the f**k would they ignore that? It’s like making a superman movie & failling to mention that Clack is from another galaxy.
    They have dropped the ball from the jump, ain’t no way in Hell they’d convince me this was the right direction. Au Contraire mon Fraire: They should had have the whole Saiyan mythology tied up in this movie, instead of this Sand castle shit.

  11. Hehe….finally TRUE DB fans are posting in here on the obvious Bullshit this movie is about to create. Rodney you get on me for “assuming” it will be bad but aren’t you doing the same “assuming” in regards to thinking it will be good?

    The only thing DB about DBE is the name.

    1. I am assuming that they are doing a good job at making me interested in a summer popcorn flick.

      I never said it would be good. Could suck. Looks good so far. Just that I dont see why everyone is so convinced it will be bad.

    2. there are more things that the movie has in common w/ dragonball than its name:

      piccolo and goku starting out as enemies
      the seven dragonballs
      the characters of goku,piccolo,bulma,and roshi
      energy waves
      roshi training goku

    3. u r assuming yet again, and all rodney has been saying is that the trailer looks good, and all you been saying that a potential 2 hr movie is going to suck, when you haven’t even seen it.

    1. Kanthan, First off, this movie is not based on Dragonball Z, it is based on Dragonball. And you do not have to watch every last episode to get the general feel of the show and the concept of the characters.

      I dont have to eat a whole box of jelly donuts to know the powder on top tastes the same.

      And I am approaching the movie as its own thing, inspired by and adapted from Dragonball. If I was the one MAKING the movie, I would have to say watching it all/read the books would make sense. But I don’t have to do that to appreciate and judge what I have seen so far.

      And the majority of the market that will see this movie are not even going to have watched a single episode. So I guess they are not allowed to like it either?

  12. @Rodney

    Dude Master Roshi is a big part of the dragonball world. Granted he was a goofy character and was over the top, but damn it man he teaches goku the kamahaha. No Roshi= No Kamahaha= Goku being as useless as peoples comments on a movie.

    1. If that was the best thing about Roshi, then I would hope he simply wasn’t in the film at all.

      What little Dragonball cartoons I have seen, Roshi is a retard in the background making faces and bouncing around like a freak.

      Maybe the fans should be happy they put him in here at all.

    2. “What little Dragonball cartoons I have seen”

      then shouldnt you stop assuming? roshi actually does fight in the source material (and was quite the ass-kicker at that) he fell back as comic relief during dragonball Z because he wasnt needed much since goku was extremely more powerful than him, but this film isnt based on Z so your logic fails.

    3. Riggs, you are the one assuming.

      My logic doesn’t fail just because you like something I have no interest in.

      This is an adaptation. Yes, Roshi serves a purpose. But making him a believable teacher/mentor is not a bad thing. You presume that they should have got a crackpot zany old man to play Roshi so we can spend the movie rolling our eyes at him? You said it yourself, Roshi can kick ass.. so why is it so bad that they made that believable?

  13. Master Roshi provided some comic relief in the manga, but at the same time he was a wise master in martial arts. In the manga I thought Goku said he was 14 yrs old.

    1. He didn’t know how to count, so when Bulma asked him how old he was he just said he was 14 or 16 or something like that but he was really only like 7 or 8 I think. I forget how he came up with that number too.

      In the manga and anime, Goku is a totally ignorant, innocent little kid. He was never really taught anything other than how to hunt for his food and martial arts.

      The Goku in this film resembles Neo way too much…at least that’s the vibe I get from the trailers. If he turns out being a superhuman emo like Neo, I will be sorely disappointed.

  14. I get what you are saying in some ways but saying YOU don’t want to see a kid flying on a cloud with an old man is kind of bothersome to me. I mean, I understand why that might not appeal to you but it IS Dragonball. If you’re going to eliminate the fundamental idealogy and spirit of the source material then why bother? Why not just make a completely new movie and take the aspects you DO like into the new project?

  15. @ Rodney

    Well if we are talking about a normal 7 year old kid then yea thats retarted. But the orginal story goes to say that Gouku is an alien from a warrior-like people. That means the same rules dont apply here. Also if I remeber correctly the idea that this kid was so strong and no adult believed was also a story arch. As for the riding cloud thing thats can be left out. Roshii as being a flirt can stay because its part of his character. Where does it say a master of martial arts has to be serious? I think theres much more appeal to him if his is flirtatious then if they make him the same old Mr. Miagi type character.

    1. in this film is goku gonna be an alien, just asking b/c i dont remember anything about him being from space in the trailer or anything else regarding this film.

    2. Well there was a leaked pic of gouku as looking I guess in his Sayian Full Moon Form. So I say its good odds that Gouku is still and alien unless they changed something else in the story which is of course possible.

  16. The film makers don’t give a rats ass about the story, they care about the box office, that’s why Transformers is so lame (it’s for kids, too friendly no matter what you people say).
    It would look silly if you do a terrible job producing it, having a budget of US$100,000 or somethin’. There were lots of silly crap in LOR and Harry Potter but nobody complains about it.
    Adaptation is a toy they’re getting really devoted to. Cinema died along with music in the beginning of this century.

    1. of course they care about the box office, its called the Movie Biz, it about making money.and if they want to make big money, I doubt they are intentionally trying to ruin db.

  17. has posted up a ton of interviews and new stories regarding the movie in the last couple days.

    Also, most of the story has already been leaked through the PSP game and junior novel. While those aren’t the best resources for judging the finished film, it sounds like they’ve done a decent enough job with the story. Worse case scenario, it’ll be a fun popcorn flick with the promise of some very dark sequels.

  18. Im ok with changes being made to fit the content of bring one medium to another ala Transformers. But these changes are not made because they had to be changed. For this film changes were made because the film makers wanted to change it. Think about it like this, changing prime from a flat face semi truck to a big rig is a reasonable change and doesnt effect the story or character. Changing Goku from 7-10 to 17-20 changes the character and story completely. If there directing a film to kids and fans they should have left him a kid. Then a sequel can show him much older and we understand the changes in his manner. Bottom line, changes are fine within reason, you cant please everyone, and just because it sounds better to change something doesnt mean you should.

    1. Then you WOULD be cool with a child being a powerful martial artist floating on a cloud with a zany old man in a Hawaiian shirt bouncing around and making stupid faces?

      I would love to see a world where ANYONE could make that look cool.

      Changing his age from a child to a young adult is a drastic change, but it only makes the story itself more believable.

      How is a 7 year old supposed to be a believable combatant when any 12 year old in the same martial art could slap him around??

    2. you know what? a tough, badass 7 year old kid playing goku would be REALLY good, as long as hes kicking ass and hes got that chuck norris “back the fuck off” vibe about him

      the kid thing i think i can pass…only with that condition^^^^

      but what rodney mentioned (cloud, flirtatious roshi, goofy shit etc) HAS to go

    3. rodney its kind hard for me to take anything u say about this movie seriously because u have such a distaste for the source material….ur disconnection with the manga and anime and ur seemingly distaste for the fans gives me the feeling that u just want the movie to succeed to piss off fans….

    4. And yet DESPITE this “distaste” you claim I have, I still want to see this movie.

      I think they made the right decisions in adapting the movie. It will have a broader appeal without all the silly childish stuff that wont translate well to live action let alone appeal to a broad audience to begin with.

      I don’t want to the movie to succeed to piss off the fans. But this is not trying to be the cartoon, it is an adaption. One I am certain that the fans of the manga would like if they can separate the two for half a second.

      You assume too much.

    5. i dont think u understood my comment….yes u want to see this movie, but u r not a fan of dragon ball the manga or anime as a whole…..correct me if im wrong, but it seems u didnt really like what u saw in the original and the movie is giving u want u want….u cant see it from the fans view because you’d rather see this dragon ball in theaters rather than a more literal adaptation…..u know good and well if they decided to follow the manga and anime closer ,the characters wouldnt look anything like those horrid costumes in the pic u made…..u prolly thought the show was stupid, long winded, or whatever and the fans are wrong for wanting something like that…once again correct if im wrong

    6. No, I am not a fan of the children’s cartoon and I have never read the Manga. As part of my job here I have researched it and watched some and I am certain it lacks any appeal to me.

      This has no impact on my stance against the movie, since I am actually FOR the movie so I understand why some of the changes were made.

      And I CAN see this from a Fan’s point of view as they have done much the same in adapting many tv shows and movies from my youth to live action summer popcorn flicks with varying degrees of success.

      They made changes to Transformers (very integral to my early teen years as they were JUST hitting the market here), and despite its flaws I loved it. They made changes to Get Smart which holds a very dear place in my heart, and I was able to enjoy it. Yes these things are not exactly the same as the show, but if I wanted it to be exactly the same, you could just get the seasons on DVD and watch those.

      And yes, I do think the fans are wrong for wanting a direct translation of the cartoon. I think if they did do it, the fans would be outraged that the movie wasn’t “cool” or as fantastic as their fandom seems to be just to them.

      You can love something, but expecting everyone else to love it too is something totally different.

    7. i agree, but as a fan of the series myself, its kinda disheartening to see a series changed so much that it doesnt feel like a dragon ball movie at all. my fellow fans prolly dont know how exactly to explain this but, imo, the feel of this movie is off….goku (even in his teen years) was a goofy, extremely strong, innocent guy not from this world, he had the innocence as a child even as an pre-teen… see that same character turned into a self-loath teen kid number 11 (“i cant be the chosen one, im not good enough) seems like a cheap copout to appeal to audiences…..

      it feels less like dragon ball and more like generic faux hong kong action flick (the one, romeo must die, etc) with the dragon ball name….i think thats where the fans are coming from…and all i was saying was that, yes ur entitled to ur opinions but u cant really defend the movie for trying to stay to the roots of dragon ball if all u know about the series is wikipedia or random youtube clips….i remember u saying that krillin was a minor comic relief character and thats why he was left out and krillin is really gokus first real friend and a major catalyst for many of the important parts of the series….thats all, lol i typed a hell of a lot huh….good talk btw

  19. That pic makes me laugh. Whos that kid supposed to be in the middle? How come you put up a picture of Dragonball Z when the film is based off of Dragonball? Just curious.

    1. I used that picture to illustrate how silly these characters look when real people try to dress like them.

      I don’t really care that they are from Z, they are Dragonball cartoons come to life and they look like retards.

      I wouldn’t watch a film filled with those guys, and I think that is exactly the point.

  20. yes, i completely agree. THAT they did right

    the only thing i dont like about it so far (i dont judge movies by their trailers so ill talk about the trailers) is that in the trailer some parts seem…lame; the ending of the trailer when the shuriken was thrown at the old guy…okay that was stupid.
    the flying jeep in the trailer was absolutely unnecessary and it looks stupid. the high school fight looked SO BAD…and so does that stupid transforming bike

    but i will acknowledge that its good they changed goku to be a teenager and not a kid..and yes rodney, the cloud thing would have been SO bad…omg i cant even imagine how bad that would have looked

    i think it will be a good movie (GOOD, not great. itll have its scenes) it will only be bad for some because of the high expectations the fans gave it

    1. i agree, i really dont wanna see some old dude flirt w/ young girls and i expect it to be decent nothing near oscar worthy just a fun action summer popcorn flick.

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