So am I the only one wondering why the hell, in this age of amazing computer animation, the makers of the upcoming Dragonball: Evolution would choose to make it live action? Especially when it all looks so, um, crappy?

That thought is rampaging through my mind this morning thanks to a new teaser trailer for the 3-D animated adaptation of Astro Boy. Which, while it certainly doesn't look like the original Osamu Tezuka cartoon, has the potential to be pretty darn good. When I first started writing this entry, the teaser was available on Hulu -- mere minutes later, however, it's no longer available. Oh, you fickle Internet! So I'll have to make my case with the YouTube version:

Compare that with the trailer for next month's release Dragonball: Evolution, which looks like a throwback to loud, dumb fantasy-action flicks of the mid-90's like Mortal Kombat. With an international fan base as massive as the one following Dragonball -- which grew from a 10-year-long manga into multiple TV series, 17 animated features, three TV specials, plus video and card games -- why on earth would anyone think it's a good idea to give the fans this, making Goku an American and discarding vital elements of the core plot along the way, to boot:

Animation lends itself beautifully to superhero stories. The Incredibles is one of the best caped-crusader flicks ever, and TV/video vehicles like Batman: The Animated Series and the recent Justice League: The New Frontier prove that, in a medium where literally anything can be rendered, it's easier to buy the most ludicrous of comic-book concepts when they're writ in cartoon form.

categories Cinematical