Coming soon to theatres here is the long-awaited, live-action motion picture Dragonball: Evolution based on the popular Japanese manga created by Akira Toriyama. Toriyama’s work spawned best selling graphic novels, videogames and a phenomenally successful television series.
The manga, series and games bring to the new film a rich mythology and exciting, complex characters – all of which have captivated millions of fans, of all ages, around the globe.
Since its conception in 2002, it has exploded into a global phenomenon that has generated more than four billion dollars in merchandising sales. It is considered the gold standard of anime-based video games, with more than 25 different games and over ten million units. The series – 500 episodes strong – posted top ratings in Europe, Asia and the US.
The motion picture features a cast of rising young stars and veteran acclaimed actors. Justin Chatwin, who portrayed Tom Cruise’s son in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, takes on the role of the heroic Goku, a powerful warrior who protects the Earth from an endless stream of rogues bent on dominating the Universe and controlling the mystical objects from which the film takes its name. Emmy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow) is Bulma, a beautiful woman intent on retrieving the mystical Dragonballs for her own reasons; Jamie Chung (Samurai Girl) is Chi Chi, a young martial artist who captures Goku’s eye; and screen legend Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is Roshi, the Master who guides Goku on the young man’s epic quest to save the Earth from the forces of darkness.
James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is Lord Piccolo, whose return could signal the Earth’s destruction; international performing sensation Joon Park is Yamcha, a charismatic “bad boy” whose schemes could thwart the heroes’ journey; popular Japanese actress Eriko (Heroes) is Mai, an assassin who works with Piccolo; Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) is Sifu Norris, a Master and contemporary of Roshi’s; and Randall Duk Kim (The Matrix Revolutions) is Goku’s grandfather Gohan, whose lessons for Goku begin to prepare the young man for the monumental tasks that lie ahead.
Many of these actors underwent a rigorous training regimen under the auspices of the premier stunt performance company, 87Eleven, which has executed or designed some of the biggest action pieces ever seen on film, in pictures such as The Matrix, The Bourne Supremacy, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and 300.
The plot begins innocently enough in the backyard of Goku’s grandfather’s home, where Gohan is training the young man in some exotic martial arts moves. It is Goku’s 18th birthday, and Gohan’s gift to his grandson is a Dragonball, a small, round ball whose surface is smooth and pearl-like, but with a milky translucence that gives it depth. Four stars float inside the ball. There are only six others like it in the world, and it is said the seven Dragonballs together will grant the holder one perfect wish.
The film will premier here on March 12.