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Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins (新七龍珠 神龍的傳說, Xīn qī lóng zhū Shén lóng de chuán shuō; lit. '"New Dragon Ball: The Legend of Shenlong") is an unofficial Chinese live-action remake of the first Dragon Ball film The Legend of Shenlong (known as Curse of the Blood Rubies in the English version), made in 1989. The plot revolves around a rag-tag group of heroes, led by Son Goku (dubbed "Monkey Boy" in this film) trying to stop the antagonist named King Horn from using the wish-granting "Dragon Pearls" (a rename of the artifacts known as Dragon Balls from which the manga takes its name) to rule the world.
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 king's possession, it's now up to the remaining five owners of the pearls -- Monkey Boy (Sparkle is the Owner, Monkey Boy his adopted Grandson), Piggy, Westwood, Turtle Man and Seetoe -- to destroy King Horn and his two powerful warriors, Zebrata and Malila, before it's too late.
- Monkey Boy: The main protagonist of the film, a happy go-lucky boy who claims to be the descendant of "the Monkey King." Based on Goku of the original Dragon Ball series.
- Seetoe: A girl who nearly runs over Monkey Boy, she becomes a companion of him in hopes to acquire the Dragon Pearls while on his quest to rescue his grandfather. Based on Bulma of the original Dragon Ball series.
- Sparkle: Monkey Boy's grandfather who is kidnapped by King Horn. He is based on Grandpa Gohan of the original Dragon Ball series.
- King Horn: The main antagonist, his sole mission in the film is to acquire the Dragon Pearls for world domination. Based on King Gurumes of the first Dragon Ball feature film The Legend of Shenlong (known as Curse of the Blood Rubies in the English version).
- Zebrata: the henchman of King Horn who works as one of villains alongside Malilia in the quest to collect the Dragon Pearls. Based on Bongo of the first Dragon Ball feature film The Legend of Shenlong (known as Curse of the Blood Rubies in the English version).
- Malilia: the henchman of King Horn who works as one of villains alongside Zebrata in the quest to collect the Dragon Pearls. Based on Raven of the first Dragon Ball feature film Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies (known as Curse of the Blood Rubies in the English version).
- Piggy: An overweight shape-shifting man who accompanies Monkey Boy and Seetoe on their journey to gather the Dragon Pearls after Monkey Boy defeats him in a short fight. Piggy claims to be a descendant of Zhu Wuneng, who accompanied the Monkey King in the Journey to the West. Through the course of the film they treat each other as "brothers". He is later revealed to be the owner of a Dragon Pearl. Based on Oolong of the original Dragon Ball series.
- Westwood: A bandit who tries to loot Monkey Boy, Seetoe and Piggy, while they travel. While being scared of women, shown when he sees Seetoe for the first time, he is the companion of Miss Knowwhat/Snowhite, a talking cockatoo. He proves to be a valuable rival and ally of Monkey Boy and the others when he helps to defeat King Horn and is proven to be the owner of a Dragon Pearl. Based on Yamcha of the original Dragon Ball series.
- Miss Knowwhat: A talking and wise-cracking cockatoo, she is the companion of Westwood. Based on Puar of the original Dragon Ball series.
- Turtle Man: A old man who lives a solitary life on an island, he is said to be one of the greatest fighters in the world. He gives Monkey Boy a magical cloud for transportation, which he claims he captured centuries ago, and which he summons through a use of comical dance movements. Based on Master Roshi in the original Dragon Ball series.
- Jade: A girl who's village was destroyed by King Horn, she sets out to obtain the Dragon Pearls to wish the damage away, and along the way meets Monkey Boy and the others. She is based on both Chi-Chi from the original Dragon Ball Series and Penny of the first Dragon Ball feature film The Legend of Shenlong (known as Curse of the Blood Rubies in the English version).
- Contrary to popular belief, the villains are not based on Emperor Pilaf, Mai, and Shu. Instead they are based on the villains from the first animated Dragon Ball movie: King Gurumes, Raven, and Bongo, respectively.
- The film is filmed in Taiwan and the Philippines.
- Zebrata has a resemblance to Major Metallitron, as they both wear sunglasses. He may have been inspired by the Terminator as he exploded in the end, implied to have been a robot.
- Seetoe changes clothes at the start of almost every scene.
- The Kamehameha attack appears in this movie, dubbed as "Turtle Shot" (as in the Chinese dub of the anime).