I'm an old Dragon Ball, Z, and yes even GT fan. It was the very first anime I watched and I remember it fondly. It used to air on PBS back in 1989...and yep I was just three years old then.
So you can imagine my joy when I first read the rumours of a live action film being developed. It was well off long before the casting was done and I was expecting something magnificent. Huge aerial battles, gigantic classic-Godzilla-esque monkey madness, it'd have been glorious.
Then we were given this garbage up above, and my biggest pet peeve wasn't the white-washing of the cast, or even the fact they left out Puar, Yamcha, and other characters, hell it wasn't even the bad character development. No, it was the fact that Master Roshi wasn't a hunched over old hermit who was, to say the least, a pervert, and where in the DB:E universe was Goku's tail?
Gah, this movie made me sick. It ruined what was potentially the greatest movie that could have been. A new age Superman aimed at the greater audience.
So, with that in mind I've devised a recasting for a DBZ live action film. First off, let's get this all straight here, Dragon Ball Evolution is based on the Dragon Ball series which is the first installment of the Dragon Ball Saga.
So, first and foremost this film should have followed a much younger casting. Goku was nine the first time he encountered Piccolo in the series, not in his teens. The story should really follow our young Goku and the missing character Kurrin (Krilin to the Americans).
I imagine young Goku being played by Samuel Patrick Chu.
Samuel Chu is best known for his roles in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) and Martian Child (2007).
This repetitively new actor had the look for both a young and grown up Goku.
His skills as an actor mixed with a rather awkward comedic side would be perfect for Goku.
Now admittedly, for all of the alien races in the series, ironically none of the main characters are African. So while it doesn't hold true to the series I'd like to see a shift for Krilin. Krilin is actually Caucasian in anime and traveled to become a Shaolin monk, before seeking out Master Roshi. I don't see any reason why he couldn't be another race and I know just who I'd pick.
Okay, I know what you're thinking, you're probably doing this sort of "You must be joking with me" face, but I'd choose Jaden. He's proven himself training to be the new Karate Kid and he fits the bill. In his younger days he'd have been a perfect offset to Chu's Goku and as a grown up teenager he'd be perfect next to Chu in a DBZ live action film. As an actor he's show surprising range and he has the seriousness masked by ironic humor that Krilin has in the anime. He'd also look pretty good with a shaved head...and let's admit that he and Krilin have similar taste in hairstyle here...
Now, Piccolo and Kami are a hard pair to mate with an actor. On one hand they're supposed to be clones of the same being split from each other, but one is old and the other is young until they recombine later in the series. So who better to play our mean young Piccolo and our old wise Kami than a duo already paired from another series, Patrick Stewart and Michael Fassbender respectively. While they do not share the same character in the X-men series, these two actors would make excellent counterparts.
Patrick Stewart's acting career is a long accomplished series of successes. Everything he acts in seems to be welcomed and accepted. His wizened face still reminiscent of his younger self, it is almost too perfect for the character Kami. I'm also sure that Patrick would love to play an alien, again.
Michael Fassbender, is in many respects, the opposite of Patrick Stewart. Yet if you strip away the lines and age from Patrick you come to a startling revelation that the two do look a bit alike. Fassbender's brooding appearance and strong jaw line are perfectly reminiscent of both Piccolo and Stewart. Not to mention we already know he look's good in a cape, and can fly...er...okay so he can fly as Magneto anyways.
Bulma could go many different ways. She's the brains of the operation most of the time, has a flare for fashion and bad boys, yet also is kind. It's hard to place that combination of nerd, geek, hot babe, and girl next door. That's why I chose Jenna Ushkowitz. The Seol born actress isn't known for many roles outside of Glee, but she certainly fits the bill in my opinion.
Chichi, Goku's future wife and all around badass mom to Gohan can only be one person and that is Jessica Alba.
Yes, she's not Asian, but she has this universal look and she's a proven badass just like Chichi.
Master Roshi is probably my favorite character in the series and also the hardest to match with an actor. He's a martial artist, a strong fighter, but he's also old, a bit senile, a bit daft, and most certainly a pervert. He's got the hots for the ladies and loves panties. Now I love Yun-Fat Chow, he could have been a great pick had the writing in the film been a bit true to the show, but I'm not going to choose him. Now my first instinct was to say, I know, Jacki Chan, but he's just not a good fit. Yes he's funny, yes he's a great martial artist and stunt master, but he's not right for the role. Jet li is another option, but something seems off here as well.
No, so I turn to IP Man himself Donnie Yen.
Yes Donnie is a bit younger than the other two, and he is supposed to be playing an older Master Roshi, but with a bit of makeup he'd be a brilliant actor for the job. You see Master Roshi appears to be a frail old man, but when he releases his qi (ki) using Kaioken he goes from this frail body to muscles galore. Donnie Yen's unassuming appearance hides a muscular body perfect for this transformation. Not to mention he has the look down and is rumored to be a bit of a prankster.
Oh, and there is the fact that Master Roshi is loosely based off of the legendary IP Man who trained Bruce Lee. In fact Master Roshi's primary fighting style is based on Wing Chung along with a few other forms of martial arts.
Now the list of DBZ characters is well insanely long, so here are a few honorable mentions (in random order)
- Yamcha - Logan Miller
- Tian Shinhan - Nicholas Hoult
- Vegeta - Jake Abel
- Freeza - Khamani Griffin
- Raditz - Taylor Gray
- Gohan - Chandler Riggs
- Trunks - Jonah Bobo
- Majin Buu - Gabriel Iglesias
- Cell Jonathan - Rhys Meyers
- Oolong - Peter Dinklage
- Mr. Satan - Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Videl - Jessica Green
- Android 17 - Emma Watson
- Nappa - Robert Maillet