Hollywood Never Gets It

I am an otaku. For those that don’t recognize the term, it means someone obsessed with something. In American slang it means someone obsessed with things Japanese. I love the culture, the food, and anime. Anime really isn’t a cartoon in the normal American sense. I’ve covered that before. The stories are deeper and the characters are far more complex than anything you’ll find on a Saturday morning show. It is an art form. What does this have to do with Hollywood being stupid? They don’t understand.

The braniacs at the movie studios usually have the sense to leave Japanese creations and ideas alone. They don’t have the mental capacity to execute the complex stories. Hollywood is little more than a large copy machine these days recycling scripts from previously successful movies by running them through the “update it for current times” formula. This formula usually consists of having actors that are either currently popular or fit the “hot girl” or “pretty boy” stereotype thrown into some situation where a love interest can be mixed in. Add a few explosions and some CG and you have an instant movie. The Japanese concepts and storytelling will never fit such a mechanical formula. They tell rich stories that can give you much to talk about and ponder for weeks after having seen it.

Unfortunately, some headcase in Hollywood does get the occasional idea to take a Japanese story and rape it mercilessly in the hopes of making a quick buck. The latest atrocity is Dragonball: Evolution. I went to see this with the expectation that it would be the worst movie I’d ever seen. The Dragonball anime series is probably the greatest loved action series ever created. I don’t know who could have possibly thought that making this abortion was a good idea, but they should be put out of our misery immediately. To have this piece of filth dare to call itself by the name of Dragonball is probably the most offensive act America has committed this year.

Now I am not railing against the movie because it isn’t exactly like the anime. Nobody would expect any transition to the big screen to survive completely intact. But the only things they managed to get even close to right are the names. The story was terrible and really would not make sense to anyone that isn’t already a Dragonball fan. The characters were poorly cast. The wardrobe looks like rejects from the clearance rack at Wal-Mart…and the screenplay as a whole completely sucked. You would have thought that after Godzilla, somebody would have learned a lesson. Perhaps I expect to much of the American Movie Machine.

Why would you have a story about Goku and not include Krillin? They were best friends and stood by each other through every saga…through every series. At what point did it seem right not to have him there? I thought part of the formula would have included the best friend that has to be saved. And Bulma being fearless and wielding guns? If you were gonna do that, you should have called her Lunch. She better fit the character written in the script. And then there’s the nit-pick stuff like Gohan and Roshi teaching crane style…WTF? Roshi is the turtle hermit. He does not use crane style.

I could easily fill a book with all of the little things that were just plain wrong in the movie. But I think the fact that the Hannah Montana movie on average has 2 more stars in online ratings speaks volumes. And if at any point you think I’m making up how bad this movie is, see if you can find the scene of Goku summoning the dragon. I have never in all my life heard a more ridiculous line delivered so badly…ever…by anyone…at any age. That is not an exaggeration. I went to the movies with a friend that is also a Dragonball fan and we laughed so hard when this line was spoken that we thought we’d be kicked out of the theater. It really is like being smashed in the “dragonballs” with a hammer.

Do us all a favor, Hollywood. Keep your nose out of all things Japanese.