Forum Regular Travis gives us his review:
Dragonball:Evolution is based on the 1980′s anime series Dragonball. It is the story of Goku, a young boy raised by his grandfather in the ways of fighting and using his “ki” for energy attacks. The evil Piccolo is scouring the earth for the 7 Dragonballs which he’ll use to make a single wish- to rule Earth. Goku must find a way to stop this menace accompanied by kung fu legend Master Roshi, adventurer Bulma, thief Yamcha, and Goku’s love interest Chi-Chi.
This movie is, in a word, “GARBAGE!”
This disappoints me very much to say, as I’ve always been a huge fan of the Dragonball franchise (Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Dragonball GT). I love the anime, I love the video games, I love the manga…. I even own the ENTIRE Dragonball GT series on VHS, as well as VHS copies of several of the animated Dragonall Z movies. I’m absolutely addicted to the anime, and despite the trailer for this live action movie being as poor as it is, I still had hopes for the movie. Those hopes were destroyed.
This has been a total bastardization of the anime! First off, in the anime, when Goku first encounters the evil Piccolo, he’s still a kid! Like… 10! In this movie, he’s turning 18.
In the anime, young Goku had a tail because he is actually a member of the alien race called Sayians… in this movie, no tail.
In the anime, Chi-Chi is a decent fighter who’s father is the legendary Ox King… in the this movie, Chi-Chi is a totally badass self trained fighter and nobody knows it.
In the anime, Master Roshi is an old and very perverted white guy… in this movie he’s a kindof perverted middle-aged Asian. WRONG! In the anime, Shenron is green… in this movie, he was kinda gold.
In the anime, Oozaru is a giant 100+ foot tall ape… in this movie, he’s maybe 8 feet tall.
In the anime, Grandpa Gohan died of old age/heart attack (if I remember correctly)… in this movie, he is killed when Piccolo seems to use The Force to crush the old man’s house on him.
In the anime, the Saiba-men were creatures that grew out of the ground from seeds planted by Nappa… in this movie, they were created from Piccolo’s blood. WRONG This movie didn’t have Krillin.
And don’t get me started on Piccolo’s make-up and costume!
Ok… so let’s IGNORE the fact that this is supposed to be following the Dragonball story since it’s done an annoyingly bad job at it, and just look at it as a stand alone film.
The dialogue was corny, cheap, childish, bad, and in many parts it seemed to tell you what was about to happen then tell you what is happening then tell you what just happened! WHAT?! Bad story telling right there! And in many places, it was so blatently obvious by the dialogue that they were trying so very hard to make this movie seem “dark” while still scoring a PG rating. That’s right, not PG-13… but PG! Sorry, Hollywood, you just can’t have a DARK PG movie! Doesn’t work that way!
The acting was pretty bad. Yun-Chow Fat was pretty good, I’ll give him credit. And I think James Marsters might have been a decent Piccolo if they would have had him in the movie for more than 10 minutes! Everyone else though was rubbish! Even Emmy Rossum, who I typically enjoy… her performance in this was just as bad as Christina Ricci’s performance in Speed Racer! Yeah, that’s right! I said it! And this Justin Chatwin guy who played Goku? Who the crap is this guy?! I’ve seriously never heard of him before, and after seeing this movie I now know why! He’s very much without either talent or even a commanding presence. I mean, Vin Deasel is a terrible actor, but he’s got this aura to him that makes him a great action star… this kid? Not so much!
The special effects were… decent. I guess. But none of it had anywhere NEAR the intensity of the DB/DBZ/DBGT animes! Even the Kamehameha blast looked WEAK!
This Jamie Chung, though… the chick who played Chi-Chi? Ok… she’s honestly the first Asian chick I’ve EVER seen that I thought was hot! So seeing her in a low cut blouse was a plus!
The camera work was average.
The story was ok, but iffy.
BASICALLY… As an official Dragonball live action movie, it was a complete and utter failure. As a standalone movie with no attached franchise, it’d still be a terrible movie!
So on the FilmmakerIQ scale of intellect, where a 10 is pure genius and a 1 is having the self induglent dialogue of “DBE? Great name!”, I give Dragonball: Evolution a 2.5. It scored points for Chi-chi being hot.
Screenplay by: Ben Ramsey
Release Date: April 10, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG