Hello everyone once again. Before you leave any comments, please note that I really have seen this film in its entirety. It was leaked on the internet several places and I completely watched it. With that out of the way, let’s get on with it.
DragonBall Evolution is the American film based on the popular manga series that has remained consistently popular since the 1980’s when it was created. This film has drawn the ire of many fans alike, doubting how an American film production of DragonBall can not only stay true and faithful to the source material, but actually be a good film on its own right. For everyone that had hope for this project, do yourself a favor and just abandon it right here and now.
I’ll just say it right now, this movie is terrible. Its awful on many, many levels so let me actually write some solid critiques at the film instead of just letting the inner anime fan inside me shout obscenities (trust me though, my inner anime fan couldn’t talk anymore he yelled so much at this film.)
The script is by far the biggest culprit of the film. It does a horrible job of not only setting up the characters on a basic level, but the entire world of DragonBall as a whole. We basically jump right in with no explanation of what the DragonBalls are really are just left to fill in the holes ourselves. Somehow Goku can do all these martial arts moves and chi energy blasts, but nothing establishes why this is so, except for he trained with Grandpa Gohan. This trend unfortunately continues throughout the entire film, as more and more characters are introduced and more and more over the top concepts are introduced, none of which are given the proper amount of time to set up or establish in the universe of the film.
It also doesn’t help that the script basically rewrites every rule DragonBall ever established in its universe. The script liberally changes character personalities, back stories, motivations, and appearance in order to conveniently fit in the story they were feebly trying to create. Goku is a high school student (good God…) that is moody and never he feels like he fits in (…WHAT?!) and only wants Chi-Chi to notice him. Hell, he even asks Grandpa Gohan to teach him something useful like how to get the girl within the first 5 minutes! Chi-Chi is now a full-fledged main fighter who fights in world tournaments before Goku does (…really?!) and has a boyfriend at the beginning of the film named Texas (…>_<). Bulma is basically her normal self, nothing too notable to get angry about, and so is Yamcha (even though the bleach blonde hair does like kind of stupid). Master Roshi is no longer a relentless pervert (he has a Sports Illustrated swim suit magazine though) and is actually an incredibly boring character. Picollo just downright got bitch-slapped in the character change department though. He was in what I call “space jail” for 2000 years before breaking out at the beginning and getting a blimp (none of which is explained how it happened by the way) and is one of the most one note villains you will ever see on a film. He’s just evil for the sake of being evil, no explanation about how he relates to Kami or anything like that at all.
The acting lousy from everyone in the film. It’s not like I expected a DragonBall movie to be about quality acting, but still most people have absolutely no fun at all with their roles and play them laughably seriously. Even Chow Yun-Fat as Roshi has no fun at all; he’s just dead serious all the time. Look up serious cat on Google, and that’s the expression he has the entire freaking film. Everyone else just delivers their lines like they’re in Hamlet, hamming up the already painfully corny dialogue to new heights. Goku’s actor should be given special scrutiny for playing the character like a complete rip-off of Peter Parker from Spider-man, but having absolutely no charm or personality come through any moment of the film. He plays Goku WAY too seriously, and as such alienates the audience and the fans from the story arc (however badly written) and the film in general.
The story basically has absolutely nothing to do with DragonBall as you know it. They basically make up a new storyline about how the DragonBalls can only be used when the moon is in an eclipse, and how somehow that’s the only time Picollo can hope to rule the world (talk about good timing). It makes no sense on even the most basic levels, and again, the script does such a poor job establishing what the real threat is that nobody will care at all by the end. One special note about the story, they change Goku’s origin from the Saiyans that are established in DBZ, not DB, into something so stupid and preposterous it is sure to get people cracking up in the theatre.
OK, so I’ve ripped the plot, script, and the characters a new one, but how are the fights? Sadly, they’re not even close to being decent. Obvious use of stunt work and wires are found everywhere, and there’s just no excitement at all. The lazy and serious acting carries over to the fights, where nobody is having fun or realizing just how ludicrous the fights actually are. They stare down their enemy’s western style and go into the fights with no drive or sense of fun. It’s just dull and just frustrating after a while. The chi attacks are also very poorly handled. Again, it’s not like I was expecting realism out of a DragonBall movie, but still the chi special effects look like they came straight out of a video game and don’t look convincing in any way, shape or form. Instead of drawing you into the fight, they are just a distraction that constantly barrages you with its subpar execution and downright goofy look.
I could go on about how for some reason airbending is a concept of chi energy in the film (when the hell did this become Avatar?), or the fact that the saibamen henchmen make Scooby-Doo villains look scary, or literally anything I can think of when it comes to the movie. However, just don’t bother with this one. To be honest though, this film was just doomed from the start, and even if Christopher Nolan or Stephen Speilberg had been directing nothing even close to being considered good entertainment could have been produced. I guess if you and friends are drunk this could be entertaining, but it’s not even bad in an amusing way. Everything about it just constantly annoys the hell out of you and it becomes painful and sickening by the end. I doubt I well ever willingly sit through this again, because even though there’s plenty to ridicule (BELIEVE ME THERE IS!!), the amount of pain I went through isn’t worth the price of admission.