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Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins (also Dragon Ball: Ultimate Edition)

And that's what this movie is: Magic. There are actually two versions of this 1991 Hong Kong adaptation of the original Dragon Ball story: Original, and Ultimate (or simply remastered). I'd never seen either version before preparing for this blog entry, so I watched them both. When relevant, I'll point out differences between the two versions. Now let's let the magic begin...

Our story opens onto a peaceful, serene unnamed village, where the young girl Jade is bringing her father - the new village chief - the village's prized possession... the Dragon Pearl. It's a pleasant ceremony of simple villagers and Buddhist monks...

Until the Putty Patrol arrives.

The Putties are led by Bongo and Pasta Zebrata and Malilia, commanding officers under the alien overlord King Horn.

"I always manage to get what I want!"
Introducing King Horn
He always gets what he wants.

While King Horn's forces attack the village, the Horned one kills the village chief and steals his Dragon Pearl. Now King Horn has two Pearls, five more to go.

In the Ultimate Edition, the scene played out like this:


In order to summon the Dragon God, King Horn must collect the other five Pearls. Though he doesn't know where all of them are, he has an idea where his commanders will find one Pearl... A man named Sparkle.

 Introducing Sparkle
His name is Sparkle.

And his make-up loving grandson, Monkey Boy.

Sparkle reminds Monkey Boy that he doesn't care about his own life, but that no matter what happens, he must protect the Dragon Pearl.

"I won't let anyone hurt you, and I'll safeguard the Pearl. And especially this magic pole!"
He's a lover of make-up and non sequiturs.
Sparkle approves.

Sparkle and Monkey Boy proceed by having a sparring match to decide who has to fetch dinner. Here's how it plays out in the Original version: 

Rock Paper Scissors and a Chinese form of Simon Says decides the winner.

In the Ultimate Edition:

Sparkle wins (due to Monkey Boy's inability to successfully play Simon Says), which means Monkey Boy has to do all the cooking today. Monkey Boy decides to catch fish today. "Oh, what kind of fish?" Inquires Sparkle. "Crocodile." Returns Monkey Boy.

In this scene, Monkey Boy's make-up is ruined by the river, so he takes out his frustration on a talking rubber crocodile.

Elsewhere, a young woman in a cowboy outfit looks for the Dragon Pearls. On her way toward Sparkle's house, she runs into King Horn's military and is nearly run over. She returns the favor by nearly running over Monkey Boy.

 When that doesn't work, she shoots him with a machine gun.

But our Monkey Boy is tough. Bullets don't kill him, though they do agitate him. Seeing that she can't kill this boy, the cowgirl decides to make peace with him. Of course, M. B. has never seen a girl before, so it takes him awhile to catch on to what she is. "The granddad told me, there are two kinds of people: One is boys and the other is girls. So you must be the other kind of people."

 "Oh yes, I remember that he said a girl's chest is bigger than a boys... Hey, can I take a look?"

Then we all learn an important lesson. 
 "Hey, you can't touch me!" She says.
Then Monkey Boy recalls, "My grandpa said that too, he said a boy mustn't touch a girl. He said that those who do are called..." 
"RAPISTS!" They say together, finally bonding.

The girl introduces herself to Monkey Boy as Seetou. "C-Toe? What an ugly name that is! Why not A-Toe or B-Toe or Big Toe or Smell Toe? Toe sounds so ugly!" (Monkey Boy, you sassy bitch.) M. B. sees that Seetou has a Dragon Pearl of her own, and he tells her about Sparkle's. Seetou realizes where the Horn Military was headed, and afraid for his granddad, Monkey Boy runs back home! (Leaving his rubber crocodile behind.)

 The Commanders have arrived.

Zebrwhatsit and Malilalala battle Sparkle, subduing the old master and stealing his Pearl.

Monkey Boy returns to nothing but a flaming house. (All his make-up was in there!) To avenge his granddad (and his make-up) Monkey Boy joins up with Seetou to find the other Dragon Pearls... for some vague reason. As they set out, they get into a fight with King Horn's commanding officers.

"Wow, that blonde is so fierce!"

Though our heroes survive, Seetou's Jeep gets blown to pieces. So M. B. tames an elephant for them to ride. They ride it until they hear a girl scream for help, at which point they ditch their tusks to go assist whoever is in trouble.

"You're a pretty girl, and so cute! I want you to be my wife."
"I don't wanna marry you, you're too ugly!"

Monkey Boy arrives and beats up the Pig Guy. 
Though once he sees Seetou, he decides he wants her instead of Jade anyway.

So the Pig Guy grovels before Monkey Boy, telling him how he has a weak heart and high blood pressure, and that if MB takes pity on him he'll kiss his ass and be his mook. "Sir, I'm very good at kissing ass, as you know that! I can make you feel very special!" "I don't like people kissing my ass!" With that boat sailed, the pigman shows MB his special magic - transformation! He changes into a variety of crossdressers and girls until he finally punches Monkey Boy in the face, then turns into a bat and flies away. This doesn't work out, though... Using his magic pole, MB smacks him back down to the earth.

"Oh, now you've changed into a fatty!"
"This is my original self."

It turns out that our transforming Pig Guy is the 91st descendant of the Pig Fairy, his name Piggy. Monkey Boy claims to be the 91st descendant of the Monkey King, so Piggy takes this as a cue that, like their ancestors before them, they shall be brothers in arms. And so Piggy joins up with Monkey Boy. And just in time to run into some real danger!

Westwood, bandit of the west.
And his talking parrot, Ms. Snow White.

Confidant in his brother's kung-fu, Piggy pipes up. "We've got money, but you can't have it!"
Westwood retorts, "So I'll send you to Hell!"

And the fight is on.

Here's how it plays out in the Original: 

Here's how it played in the Ultimate Edition:

The two martial artists' kung-fu seems evenly matched, until Seetou arrives.

"Wow" Says Seetou. "He's so good looking."
"What? You call THAT good looking?" Says MB. "Hah! How bout this?"
(Such a sassy bitch.)

With his weakness around women revealed, Westwood and Ms. Snow White retreat to the forest. That night, he listens in as Monkey Boy, Seetou, Piggy, and Jade discuss the Dragon Pearls, and Jade's only hope for getting rid of King Horn; The Turtle Man. Westwood decides that what he really needs are those Dragon Pearls (he already has one stashed away, which he stole years ago and didn't know what it was for) so he can wish away his shyness (much to Ms. Snow White's chagrin). So he heads for the Turtle Man ahead of Monkey Boy's crew, hoping to get the legendary kung-fu master to defeat MB for him and... Okay, if you haven't guessed that this movie is a complete point-by-point rip off of The Legend of Shen Long, then you haven't been paying attention.

How it plays in the Ultimate Edition:

Westwood arrives, tries to convince the Turtle Man he isn't trying to steal his magic cloud but to warn him against Monkey Boy. Monkey Boy and crew arrive, and Turtle Man is much more interested in Seetou than anyone else.

"He's a sex maniac." Piggy says. "He's much worse than me."

Turtle Man decides to test who is lying by having Monkey Boy and Westwood step on the Magic Cloud in turns. Well, it completely rejects Westwood, and obeys MB's every command, so Turtle Man (still angry at the Magic Cloud) gives it away to Monkey Boy. He punishes Westwood by making him give his Dragon Pearl to Seetou.

(For some reason, Westwood's eyeballs turning into a slot machine which eventually comes to rest on two hearts is cut out of the Ultimate/Remastered version, so excuse the inconsistent quality in that last screencap, but I love that gag.)

Westwood runs away, and Turtle Man shows our heroes that he has a Dragon Pearl of his own. He offers it to Seetou but... for a price. He wants to see her boobies. Seetou agrees, but takes Piggy aside and talks him into doing it in her place. "I couldn't pay him to look at me naked!" says Piggy. But Seetou reminds him that he can transform into her. In exchange, Piggy wants to see her naked... then Seetou reminds him he can do that any time anyway.

Piggy seems to enjoy teasing Turtle Man a little too much...

With three Dragon Pearls in their possession, the gang are ready to seek the seventh and final Pearl (counting King Horn's two Pearls). 

Zeblaaaah and Meliaaaah arrive on Turtle Man's island, shooting up the place with the Horn Military. Monkey Boy doesn't stand a chance against them, so Turtle Man shouts for them to take the Magic Cloud and leave. So Monkey Boy (reluctantly - remember, they destroyed his make-up), Seetou, Jade, and Piggy fly away, as Turtle Man battles the army by himself. Unfortunately, they manage to steal their Dragon Pearls before they leave... getting King Horn six Pearls to himself.

Our heroes retreat, and meet up with Turtle Man, and Westwood, sometime later to discuss where to find the last Pearl before King Horn does.

Piggy had it the entire time.

With the last Pearl in place, the gang heads to face King Horn!!

Also, Piggy is a straight up badass.

Westwood and Monkey Boy face off against Melllllllllaaaaaaaaaa... until Piggy shoots her full of holes. (Piggy kills in cold blood.) Meanwhile, Turtle Man fights Zebbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbaaaaaaaa... until Seetou blows him to pieces.

At last our heroes come face-to-face with King Horn, who has taken Sparkle hostage. Monkey Boy tries to fight King Horn, but is no match for his superior kung-fu. And since Turtle Man refuses to give King Horn the last Dragon Pearl, Horn summons the spirits of the dead to attack them...!!

 Using his Magic Cloud, Monkey Boy breaks King Horn's spell.

Deciding that King Horn must be keeping the other Pearls in his stomach (I mean, obviously), Turtle Man, the newly freed Sparkle, and Monkey Boy force the last Pearl down his throat... causing him to explode! just like King Gurumes.

At last, the Dragon God as been summoned.



Jade wishes her village back to normal, and everything ends up being okay!

"I have a wish." Says Westwood.
"Yes, what is it?" Says Monkey Boy.
"I wanna challenge you to a fight!"
"Well your wish is granted!" 
And the movie ends with a Rocky III "Eye of the Tiger" freeze frame.

But not the Ultimate Edition.
That's pretty fucking Ultimate.

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