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DragonBall: Magic Begins
DragonBall Magic Begins
Actors: Charles Chen Zi-Qiang, Jeannie Tse, Tung-Chuen Cheng, San Pan, Zhong Yu Huang
Directors: Joe Chan, Leung Chung
Genres: Indie & Art House, Anime & Manga
UR     2000     1hr 26min

In order to conquer mankind and rule the universe king horn sets out to find all seven of the dragon pearls. With two of the seven already in the evil kings possession its now up to the remaining five owners of the pearls ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Charles Chen Zi-Qiang, Jeannie Tse, Tung-Chuen Cheng, San Pan, Zhong Yu Huang
Directors: Joe Chan, Leung Chung
Creator: Akira Toriyama
Genres: Indie & Art House, Anime & Manga
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Anime & Manga
Studio: Tai Seng
Format: DVD - Color - Dubbed,Live
DVD Release Date: 06/27/2000
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1979
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 1hr 26min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, English

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Movie Reviews

No, this is not based on "Journey to the West."
Musashi | New York, NY USA | 02/12/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Journey To The West" a 500-year-old novel with even older roots in Chinese legend, was the primary inspiration for Akira Toriyama's "Dragonball" series. In the original, Goku was a "Monkey King," a former resident of Heaven who had been punished for his arrogance and mischief. To make amends he was assigned as helper to a Monk whose task was to bring Buddhist scriptures from India to China, and help spread the new faith that was to replace Taoist and Confucian beliefs.In Toriyama's original Dragonball version (later revised further for "Dragonball Z"), Goku is a monkey-boy in pursuit of 7 "dragonballs." It was only the character of Goku that was lifted from the classic; the rest is Toriyama's own myth-making.While this movie does not follow Toriyama's conception exactly, it is a lot closer to it than it is to any traditional Chinese legends. The Dragonballs are called Dragon Pearls in the dub, but there is no Chinese legend about the pursuit of such things; nor is there any Chinese legend with a character named "Bulma," which is actually a corruption of the word "Bloomers" and is a reference to lady's underpants. Most of the film's deviations from the manga and animation can be explained by two things: 1. The dub translation changed most of the characters' names, and changed "Dragonballs" to "Dragon Pearls." I suspect the dub was done before the Toriyama works were well-known stateside.2. It is much more expensive to accomplish SFX in live-action films than in comics and cartoons. So, contrary to other reviews here, don't take this as anything but an adaptation of Toriyama's work. If you are interested in a dumbed-down version of the already-dumb anime inspired by a Chinese classic, here's your ticket. But don't go thinking you are watching anything to do with ancient Chinese culture.As to the somewhat high rating I am giving this, the whole movie fascinated me, and I loved it the same way I enjoyed the He-Man movie that featured Frank Langella as Skeletor, just a few years after he played Dracula. I would have rated it higher but that would mislead some people into thinking this was a good movie; it isn't. What it is, is a hoot."
The dumbest thing I?ve ever seen.
PeoplePhobic | 02/10/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is just totally pathetic. Anyone with high standards should stay away from it. On the other hand, if you're a big fan of Dragonball or Dragonball Z and you think it would be fun to watch some low budget butchering of a decent anime you should defiantly buy it now."
Summary off the back of the box
PeoplePhobic | 01/26/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Hi, I noticed gave no summary so I'll retype the one off the back of the box here.Summary: The evil King Sizkrath possesses two of the seven Dragon Pearls and needs the remaining five to rule the world. The battle for the pearls commences between King Sizkrath and his minions Zebrata and Malila, and the five heroes who must stop them. A completely live-action film based on the popular Japanese animated series, featuring all the action and special
effects you could want."
Perfect Live Action Dragonball Movie
ReignWaterBurns | Madison, WI | 05/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie will make a lot more sense to you if you compare it to the Dragonball series, NOT to Dragonball Z. The Magic Begins includes most of the characters in the show and introduces Goku as a little boy still living with his grandfather in the woods. Goku is in possession of the four star dragon ball (called "dragon pearl" here) and the evil King Horn is out to gather the remaining six balls so he can summon the dragon and make an evil wish. Goku must find the remaining dragon balls before King Horn gets his hands on them, and in doing so, runs into a wacky cast of characters along the way.

The movie sticks very closely to the show: Goku has his power pole and later gets the flying nimbus from Master Roshi; when Goku and Bulma first meet she's the first girl Goku's ever seen, and they meet when Goku is carrying an alligator back to his home for dinner, just like in the show. Oolong is a shapeshifter and Yamcha is scared of girls and challenges Goku at every turn. The hilarious Master Roshi is a perv as always, and his scenes with Oolong as Bulma are also straight from the show.

You have to have a sense of humor to truly appreciate this movie. The special effects are lacking and the dubbing is awful, but the fight scenes are fun and the plot's pretty good. If you appreciate Toriyama's Dragonball at all, you're sure to find a good time in this movie.

Here's a list of characters as they relate to the show, as far as I can tell:

Monkey Boy - Goku
Grandpa Sparkle - Grandpa Gohan
Seetoe - Bulma
Westwood - Yamcha (Westwood's wise cracking bird is probably Puar)
Pig Fairy - Oolong
Turtle Man - Master Roshi
King Horn - Emperor Pilaf (Pilaf's cronies are probably Mai and Xiu)"