Dragonball: Evolution Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated May 10th, 2009 at 9:41 am,

Short version: Dragonball: Evolution is a badly written film with horrible dialogue, lackluster action and a sense of fun that’s nowhere to be found.

dragonball evolution review Dragonball: Evolution Review
Screen Rant’s Ross Miller reviews Dragonball: Evolution

When you head to the theater to see a movie called Dragonball: Evolution, you obviously aren’t expecting Shakespeare. From the advertising, the whole thing gives off a feeling of light, campy, action-packed fun that you would hope would allow you to just sit back, relax and turn off your brain for 90 minutes or so.

Yeah, well, that’s why we have words like “hope” as a counterpoint to “guarantee.”

Dragonball: Evolution may very well be one of the worst films of the past 12 months or so – I am actually struggling to think of the last movie I thought was quite as bad as this one was. And it’s not one of those cases where it’s just not my cup of tea… No, this is a flat-out bad movie in pretty much every area that makes up a motion picture.

Based on the popular anime series of the same (or at least similar) name, Dragonball: Evolution follows Goku (played by Justin Chatwin) who carries out his grandfather’s dying request to find Master Roshi (played by Chow Yun-Fat) and locate all seven of the powerful Dragon Balls. He already has one of them, but with the help of Bulma (played by Emmy Rossum), Master Roshi and Yamcha (played by Joon Park), he must find the others before the evil Lord Piccolo (played by James Marsters) does, whose intentions are to use them to take over the world.

Now let me just point out that I very much represent those who are not fans of the source material, and in fact know next to nothing about it. I can say without reservation that I am in the majority – if you’re a fan it may feel like everyone in the world is a fan of the cartoon, but trust me, most of the general movie-going population (who will be exposed to this through TV and other marketing) will barely even have heard of it, never mind having seen any of it.

So I then have to judge the film purely on its own merits, without having the prior knowledge to be able to compare and contrast it with the source material. Some fans of the cartoon may get a kick out of seeing such things as a certain costume or a hairstyle appear in some form, but as a movie this thing flat out stinks. And not even in a yeah it was bad, but kind of fun in spite of that” kind of way – in pretty much all areas you can think of, it is awful.

The main problem with the film is the script, meaning both dialogue and the story. First off, I can’t believe how bad the dialogue was in this movie. From the very first scene in the film, which sees the movie starting off with a short back story explanation, the dialogue is painful. Near the beginning of the movie we see Goku being trained to fight by his grandpa while balancing on two ropes – and the back and forth exchange of dialogue is like something written to sound cool, but is delivered and pulled off so poorly that it’s cheesy and downright cringe-worthy.

That’s pretty much representative of the entire movie right off the bat – everything comes off as cheesy, nothing can be taken seriously, not even when Goku is supposed to be upset right after his grandfather dies (which happens within the first 10 minutes, so that’s not really a spoiler). Every time a character opens their mouth and delivers this atrocious excuse for dialogue, I felt like covering my ears and shutting my eyes in embarrassment (which I did do a handful of times, I’m not even kidding).

Well, you might be thinking “so what?” Who cares if the dialogue is bad and high on the cheese-meter? The action has to make up for that, right? Well, wrong. Actually, dead wrong. Action is the one thing that could have saved this movie from the abyss, but they even manage to muck that potential up. The action is not just mediocre or even sub-par – oh no, it’s worse than that - it’s terrible. Director James Wong clearly doesn’t know how to direct the needed action (although he seemed to do okay with Jet Li’s The One), and the attempts he makes are reminiscent of a young kid having fun in a special effects studio, just randomly pressing any of the fancy buttons on display.

They attempt to have 300-esque action scenes of things going from normal speed to slow-motion and then suddenly speeding back up to normal again. But for such a technique to be effective you have to know what you’re doing, and it’s evident from this movie that Wong doesn’t. Zack Snyder, although using it a bit too flippantly in 300, timed the slowing down thing pretty much perfectly, matching up exactly with the action on-screen and giving that extra bit of kick. But here it’s used far, far too often for no reason other than to just have it in there for the sake of it. There’s a strange sense that the movie thinks what it’s doing is cool… but “laughable” is more the accurate description.

You probably want to know how the cast did… Well unfortunately, like the rest of the movie, pretty awful. Justin Chatwin is completely miscast in the role of Goku (for some reason an American playing this character just doesn’t feel right), Emmy Rossum is hot but nonetheless terrible as Bulma, and I feel embarrassed that Chow Yun-Fat has gone from amazing stuff like Hard Boiled and The Killer to eye-rolling stuff like this. The only actor who did all right (and I stress, just all right) was James Marsters as (an underused) Lord Piccolo – he’s not in any way good, but, let’s just say… he was less terrible than the rest of the cast.

The only thing I can think of that’s even remotely positive about Dragonball: Evolution is that the special effects are pretty cool at times. Not during some of the hand-to-hand combat scenes (where the effects are so obviously… effects, if you know what I mean), but when they use what is known as “KI attacks,” which are basically blasts of different colored energy from their hands.

Props go to Amalgamated Dynamics for creating special effects which are, on their own, quite visually stunning. Also, the movie is really quite short, so at least I didn’t have to sit through the pain for all that long.

However, that’s pretty much where the positive stuff ends – you just know a movie is in trouble when you are literally straining to think of something you liked about it.

I don’t know if the story they used here in any way resembles the original cartoon/anime stories, but how they told it in the movie was abysmal. There were clearly elements taken from the source material, and it is then clearly a story (or one of the stories… I don’t know, I’m not a Dragonball fan) that may work well in a cartoon but it does not work well on the big-screen. Not for even the slightest moment.

I lost count of the number of times I rolled my eyes, snickered, groaned, and shook my head in embarrassment and shame during this movie. I can’t actually believe the filmmakers looked at the script and thought, “Yes, this is good stuff. Let’s go ahead and make it!” It’s probably just one of those cases where they saw the popularity of the source material and thought that they could make a quick buck by just throwing anyone in the roles, sticking together bits and pieces from the cartoon to form something resembling a story.

So needless to say I don’t recommend Dragonball: Evolution. I wasn’t expecting this to be any good, but I don’t know if I was expecting it to be this bad. Please, if you believe in the magic of cinema, avoid this with as much effort as it takes.

Our Rating:

0.5 out of 5
(Incoherent)

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TAGS: 0 star movies, dragonball

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  1. @ T-Grave

    THe reason the average fanboy wouldn’t get a chance is because the majority have no Hollywood connections, or connections to get to the actual writers of the DB Universe to help them pen a script, also with so many varying opinions of what should be what even with in fanboy circles people would still be upset and feel jaded by the final product.

  2. @ Chuck, T-Grave

    Are you seriously trying to create my Journey to the West analogy to Jaws? For real? Your 300 analogy fit much better. But the point still stands. What was 300 about? Pretty, gruesome, battles. There was no complicated plot. Dragonball has a complicated plot, or it should have, but it failed to deliver.

    You don’t have to know the whole background of something, but for most ordinary people the reason why Dragonball is a turn off is precisely for that reason. Most of my friends aren’t into anime. They thought the premise of Dragonball was rather stupid, and the reactions to several commenters’ attempts at plot summaries on this very site proved it. If I could make a dollar for all the times people said, “Oh, now that you explained the connections it does sound interesting” I’d be very, very rich right now. Now, I didn’t care for Dragonball either way as a series even as a kid, so I’m definitely not the target audience.

    Most people were only exposed to Dragonball Z, and that has in fact, been a huge reason for the anger and confusion (the overwhelming majority thought it was based off of DBZ, and don’t even realize that there was a “prequel” of sorts). Dragonball had in fact been canceled initially because of terrible ratings. It wasn’t until the popularity of Dragonball Z that they began to reshow the original Dragonball.

    For an 85 minute film there’s not much backstory and plot you can add into something that requires an explanation like Dragonball.

    My point is to either make something to cater to the true fans (in which case make a helluva long epic and stick with the original story), or if you want to draw in the outsiders, start with a focused, action, mostly plot-less movie taken from DBZ. DBEvolution tried to cater to both and failed because of that.

  3. @Harumi

    I still fail to see what it is. And yes I’m saying the same thing with Jaws or any other flick, that to enjoy a film you don’t need to know an in depth history or knowledge prior to viewing it. Any who I take it you have not read about the Battle of Thermopalye which is why u say its oh just about battles, or the history behind it. I fail to see the complicatedness of Dragonball….

    DB (NOT DBZ) Plot Super Condensed- kakarot is sent to destroy earth, bumps his head, loses memory that he was supposed to destroy earth, raised by the old man who finds him, has zany adventures as he discovers the new world around him and searches for dragonballs, learns and hones his martial arts skills blah and blah, ultimately saves the world from piccolo/kami who i evil. The end. Its not a complicated plot to produce a decent flick as Lord ThanosX said, you just can’t expect the audience to sit in a 7 hour movie while every little detail and adventure of DB is touched on.

    I think for most people DB is a turn off is because they just don’t want to see it, or just weren’t enchanted by it, as it is with anything else. Plus as u said there are other animes that have the same gotta power up, and continually fight formula that they may be interested in more than DB.

  4. He leído, en muchas partes comentarios q la catalogan como, “lo peor q han visto”, en palabras suaves y tomando la gran mayoría de comentarios (xq hasta ahora solo se de uno q lo la denigra tanto)…
    En fin, entendí el por q de ese trato… simplemente xq no sabían a lo q iban, creo esperaban ver a Goku de 14 años, con menos de un metro de estatura, gordo, con el cabello de un metro de largo y viviendo salvajemente…
    A lo q yo me pregunto… en serio querían ver un Goku asi?… yo no… aunq vivo y siento Dragon Ball como mio, xq lo entiendo y entiendo a sus personajes, quizá como muy pocos o casi nadie lo hace, una adaptación de ese tipo, es simplemente un tremendo absurdo… y realmente una perdida de tiempo…
    Yo, a diferencia de lo creo piensan los demás, sabia, completamente seguro a lo q iba, a lo q vería, a lo poco q me sorprendería tener en frente una pantalla q me muestre lo q por mas de dos años, religiosamente he seguido de una intensa manera…
    Al principio, y me refiero, al principio de los rumores confirmados con imágenes y todo q empezaban a salir de la película, también, lo vi mal, también me disgusto el saber verlo asi a Goku y su historia… pero, tuve, mucho, mucho tiempo para seguirlo y poder entenderlo, con comentarios no solo míos, sino de los responsables de esta película, q mas q justificar, enseñaban, como se creaba nuevamente Dragon Ball…
    Pensado fríamente, nadie, o por lo menos, nadie q yo conozca, o he conocido, es “digno” de interpretar un papel tan monumentalmente fuerte en todo sentido, como lo es Goku, y no solo el, sino de todos los personajes q tan detalladamente los creo Akira y sus colegas, si es q querían recrear la misma historia q se ha visto por 20 años, pero en el cine y con personas de carne y hueso…
    Bueno, yendo al meollo del asunto, y términos generales, está película, supero lo q pensaba sería, lo q yo pensaba, no basándome en lo q los demás decían de ella, sino en todo lo q la he seguido…
    Y creo es necesario, calificarla desde varios puntos, pero sin una generalización final, xq seria injusto hacerlo e injusto entenderlo…
    Primero, la trama adaptada… me refiero a la historia q conocemos, pero dentro del cine, a lo tan fiel q es y lo muestran, a esta solo la puedo calificar sobre 5, xq era la máxima capacidad q podía hacerlo, pues no representa ni la mitad de la totalidad de esta, para mi, mas q una película de Dragon Ball, es una excelente película con muchos, muchos guiños de Dragon Ball q la hacen espectacular, y por eso, le pongo un 4 como dije, sobre 5 … menos el punto x la adaptación de Bulma, q no tiene relación con la q conocemos… (Pero luego voy con los personajes)
    Segundo, la nueva historia, … la trama distinta q nos cuenta la película, su desarrollo en general, vista como una película más. Podria notar algunos detalles q no me terminaron de gustar, como el tiempo de duración de la misma, … para toda la historia q contaron, siquiera, tenían material para unas 4 o5 horas, con el fin de saberla desarrollarla… otra, la innecesaria relación q mantenía Milk, xq no se vivió como debería, no se dio ni siquiera un motivo por el cual era necesario q tuviera una… no tuvo fundamento crearla… y finalmente, la fuerza de Piccolo, … al principio se lo vendió como el “casi destructor de toda la existencia”… y aunq era una leyenda contada, lo demostró al hacer explotar una aldea completa sin esfuerzo… por ello, la pelea contra Goku, tuvo q haber sido más fuerte, con un Goku, q como decían no dominaba ni estaba listo para ni siquiera hacer el Kame Hame Ha, según la trama, le seria imposible, darle aunq sea pelea al Gran demonio Piccolo, sin embargo, su fuerza era, injustamente, demasiada parecida… (y aquí puede entrar el tema de la falta de tiempo para tanta historia) … Por ello, mi calificación es de 7 sobre 10…
    Tercero, los efectos… cada película es distinta, hace lo necesario para mostrar según su historia los mejores efectos q le puedan servir, para q quede congruente con lo q cuenta, siendo asi, y tomando en cuenta q, como dije antes es una historia distinta, no la misma, y contada desde otro punto de vista, sobre 10 le doy el 10 … Sheng Long no es fiel, Las esferas no son fieles, los poderes tampoco lo son, pero para efectos de la historia, están perfectos, quizá pudieron ser mejores, pero no tengo quejas al respecto…
    Cuarto, los personajes… los personajes de la película, los nuevos, los creados, los actores todo en conjunto y su relación con su representante animado…
    Goku… Este fue el personaje q más me sorprendió, sinceramente esperaba menos del actor, pero me calló al verlo con su desarrollo, tanto como representante de una película, como los guiños q nos hace recordar a Goku y su verdadera historia… bien trabajado y falto de desarrollo por el tiempo, del q ya hable y es el factor más negativo q le puedo encontrar y arruino una buena historia…
    Roshi… Excelente, el más fiel al original, aunq repito la intención no era copiarlos, sino adaptarlos, un muy buen desarrollo, fuerte y cómico, y algo necesitado de cariño, jajaja… muy muy bueno… me encanto…
    Milk, para efectos de historia, estuvo bien, aunq, de nuevo pongo a consideración la innecesaria relación q tenia previo conocer a Goku… quizá demasiado “lanzada” y con pocos guiños de la original, pero estuvo bien… especialmente el final junto con Goku en el torneo…
    Yamcha… Lo único negativo, aunq ni tan negativo, q puedo rescatar de este personaje, es q no luchara, es lo único q le hizo falta, pero… digo, no tan negativo xq desde el principio se lo vendió como bandido, y como bandido estuvo bien, asi q lo poco negativo es eso, q no peleo, o no le dieron la oportunidad de hacerlo… al personaje…
    Bulma… El personaje q menos me llamo la atención, salvo el nombre, y cuando utilizó sus “encantos” para llamar la atención de Yamcha, no tiene relación con nuestra Bulma, dijo tener su doctorado, pero nunca lo demostró, jamás dio un buen motivo para disparar a alguien por la esfera q la robaron, además de meterse en una aventura q no le correspondía ni justifico, como personaje y como adaptación, fue completamente innecesario q supiera “pelear” o q fuera ruda, además de saber manejar las armas…
    Mai… Actuó muy poco, no se pudo ver todo lo q era capaz, además de no justificar su forma de transformarse, ni xq solo clono a Milk, ni como supo de la existencia y aprendizaje junto con Roshi de Goku… le falto desarrollo… mucho desarrollo… y como adaptación, con muy poco parecido… salvo el físico de la actriz…
    Gohan… Muy bien echo, ese era Gohan, aunq lo mezclaron con un poco de Sr. Miyagi… bien hecho, como personaje y como adaptación… me gusto mucho…
    Piccolo… Bien, el maquillaje y la actitud q tenia, lo hizo perfecto… muy muy bien echo… lo negativo, es la fuerza q tenia… no demostró todo el potencial q podía dar… aunq era tan temido por quienes lo conocían… O Goku se hizo muy fuerte para pelear con Piccolo, pero jamás lo mostraron, o no respetaron la fuerza q dijeron tenia cuando inicio la película… no fueron constantes… y como adaptación, quede satisfecho, quizá un poco mas anciano hubiera quedado bien, pero como lo hicieron, pues no tengo mayor queja…
    Fulums… Gran guiño, aunq innecesarios, pudieron haberles hecho más poderosos…
    Ozharu… Me gusto q lo hayan incluido, y me gusto como se vio, pero se lo vio muy poco… (nuevamente el problema del tiempo) además de por lo menos ver una pelea con Piccolo donde si podían demostrar su poder, o una encrucijada más dramática entre Goku-Ozharu, y Ozharu-Goku… durante la transformación y el control del uno sobre el otro… (ah si… Ozauro???) …
    Sheng Long… perfecto, para como se lo vendió durante la película, perfecto…

    Bueno, por los y lo demás, referente a personajes y materiales usados, como el Nyoi-bo, la vestimenta, las esferas, el termo, los autos, los personajes secundarios… bien hasta cierto punto… hasta el punto q el tiempo de duración los dejó ser participes…
    En resumen, bastante buena la película, bastante, como lo dije, es mucho mejor a como la imagine, y de seguro la veré varias veces más, y quedara como parte de la historia de Dragon Ball, parte de la buena historia de Dragon Ball… y sinceramente espero las secuelas… una felicitación y un gracias de parte de un consiente y muy fiel fan a todos quienes la hicieron posible…
    Por lo pronto es lo q recuerdo iba a poner, y como lo publicare en varios sitios tal cual está, espero q alguien lo haya leído… Es lo q pienso, es como lo vi, es como lo viví…
    Y nada, q viva Dragon Ball!!!…

  5. Que?

  6. @ Chuck

    I had a feeling you would continue to insist on your ridiculous analogy, so let me explain to you this time why your analogy doesn’t work.

    Let me summarize Jaws or 300:
    Jaws: Shark eats people. People kill shark.
    300: 300 people attempt to try to stop a whole army of Persians by blocking a pass in order to keep their freedom.

    Let’s assume that the audience is a total ignoramus, and doesn’t know what Greeks, sharks, or Persians are. We all universally fear being eaten by something. It’s easy to translate that fear, and a shark could easily substitute for a monster. The idea of fighting for freedom is simple also, and there’s no need to get beyond the point of “guy with sword goes stabbity stabbity”.

    Now let’s take Dragonball. There is a boy with a monkey tail, rides a flying cloud, and carries a stick that shrinks and lengthens at will. For the uninitiated all these things are, “wtf? why? huh?” There is no basis to figure out WHY such a character exists, not when no one else does anything that he does. And then you have a pig wearing a communist-like outfit. And a floating cat. A lecherous man wearing a turtle shell. Dinosaurs, mixed with a girl who carries technology way beyond our time. By themselves, each point is fine, but all together, it’s too much for any outsider to take. I’ve winced at far too many plot summaries of DB, because together, they all sound absolutely ridiculous. While the plot is a set pattern, the elements within it are simply too foreign, too bizarre.

    Of course, there will be the few people who knew nothing and would enjoy it anyway, but it’s certainly not going to appeal to a broader audience.

    A proper analogy would be showing something like Jesus: Superstar, or Dogma in Asia, which despite the many Christians, lacks the history of conflict and thinking that made both films work. I can guarantee that neither of those films would do well, especially the latter. It’s not the fault of the film, but there are so many cultural assumptions that would confuse the audience (and that’s for good films, which DBE was not). Even other things, such as Legally Blonde, which was so hugely popular in the US, fell flat in Japan. I showed it to my students and overall received blank faces. Again, cultural differences.

    You keep arguing that people are able to not understand the background of anything and still enjoy a film. I’m arguing that this is true… to a point. Unfortunately DB is far beyond that point for the average American who wants to watch an action film. As I said again and again, DBE should have picked a target: either appeal to the fans, or try to reach out to a broader audience. The former could follow the storyline, the latter would need to be dumbed down. And that just isn’t possible with Dragonball.

  7. @Harumi
    I’m not questioning the fact 300 has less of a parallel than Journey to the West(or w/e it was called).

    I was saying they shouldn’t have started with DBZ instead of DB just because of the fact people don’t know that story(which you stated, if I’m correct). There is no point in doing that because of that particular reason.
    In Asian cultures it might make it easier to get people to watch dragonball since it will make it more interesting for them. And still that would mean making a movie about db instead of dbz would create more interest for the movie(since dbz does not resemble the asian story, and will/should be less intresting).
    Of course the movie doesn’t resemble dragonball or the story at all so it doesn’t matter …

  8. @Harumi

    You still contradict yourself, because you even agree that its not necessary to to have to know the whole back story to understand or enjoy a film.

    Harumi April 12, 2009

    “There was no complicated plot. Dragonball has a complicated plot, or it should have,…………You don’t have to know the whole background of something,…………”

    I think the reason I dont see your point is because it appears layered with with fanboyism. Is your point ultimately that the movie fails??? Sorry but the DB plot is not that difficult to understand to make a movie about that doesnt fail. Seems like you’re starting to get upset for no reason other than I dont agree with you (hence the attempt to try and belittle).

  9. Well aside from the layers of fail topped with fail frosting that is this movie, I think it served the purpose of the back story. Probably if the live action started off in DBZ there would be short and choppy flash backs, and people would still be confused. Sorry Harumi but your point is hard to see aside from that the movie fails. Those analogies the other guy stated appeared to make sense. I also to agree that after seeing this film that the plot to make a better DragonBall movie based off of DragonBall does not appear complicated.

  10. I finally got around to watching it, and even after going into the cinema with the bare minimum of expectations, i have to say this is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen on the big screen. I Just went to see it because i like many others grew up watching Dragonball Z….. Just like i grew up watching transformers, Thundercats, Ninja turtles etc…..

    I’ll admit i don’t know much of the Dragonball story, growing up on Dragonball Z, but there was enough flashbacks in Z to give you a basic idea of goku’s childhood. This isn’t really my point. What I’m trying to say is that if your gonna do something do it to the best of your abilities.

    And on every level this was a half arsed attempt at making a film, seriously i mean this is there job and your meant to take pride in your work. But i don’t think these guys even sat down and watched the shows, They should of been given the entire DB collection told to go home and study it.

    If they did that then as soon as Justin chatwin was mentioned they would of laughed and said “next” Amongst other things he was probably one of the worst castings I’ve ever seen. Chatwin is not goku in any shape or form, and as i sat there watching DB he literally got worse as the film went on, he grew out of the character.

    Like i said they didn’t even try, to make a good film, there was so much missing, The music & sound effects, there was none, watch an episode, DB, it has iconic music and sound effects, the ka me ha me ha sound, as iconic as a lightsaber, which would of been easy to translate, No world martial arts tournament(well not from what i saw) no nimbus (cloud), no krillin, no Tein, no spirit road (goku did die remember) the capsule corporation was cack, that was some run down bike.

    In all honesty it was like they tried too hard with the special effects, the kah me hah me hah, is more like a perfect ball of energy, not a vapour cloud.Common this is 2009 balls of energy and nuclear esqe explosions are not that hard, you can get that on a tv show! Jesus the Ozarooo (ape) is meant to be like 5 stories high not actually a man in prostetics. Piccolo not King piccolo, WTF at least put him in his original fighting outfit. At least try and give him a similar voice.

    And the end of the day i wasn’t expecting much and would of given them a pass if they made some form of effort. Look at Watchmen not a lot of people knew about that, but they made a good film, i mean i didn’t actually feel it, but i appreciate, the work that went into it and as such went to see the movie twice bringing a friend. Should of given it to those guys

    Overall this is a major dissapointment because DB had the potential to be one of the biggest sagas ever but now it’s put this in the same class as Streetfighter the movie and Fist of the north star….

    James Wong and the writers should be ashamed of themselves.

  11. “growing up on Dragonball Z, but there was enough flashbacks in Z to give you a basic idea of goku’s childhood”

    As a matter of fact you really don’t, the flashbacks are to basic, because I thought the same before I watched DB and saw it as an argument to not watch it, but after I watched the first episode of db, I already noticed those flashbacks mean nothing …

  12. A ‘fanboy’ if you will, I actually refused to support FOX’s adaptation of the series. So I bought a ticket to F&F and went to Dragonball (hahaha). I cringed throughout the entire film.

    DB could definitely be a great movie series if done correctly. I agree that the equivalent of this flick would be trying to squeeze the first 4 Harry Potter films together into one 75 minute movie.

    @Ross

    I LOVE the review! =) But obviously not EVERYONE will have heard of Dragonball before this film. It depends on the generation. I don’t expect many 30+ year old fellow Americans to be huge fans of Dragonball, they would be more likely to be older ‘fanmans’ of Transformers or Thundercats. Just because your circle of friends aren’t familiar with the series, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have THAT MUCH of a fan base.

  13. **** SPOILERS AHEAD ****

    I can live with some of the changes (Piccolo’s uniform, Master Roshi not being bald, no animal-human hybrids, even Yamcha having blond hair) but some of the changes were just awful. Oozaru should have been much larger and not the slave of Piccolo. Come on! Piccolo used Oozaru 2000 years ago and Goku is suppose to have been a baby when Gohan found him. For those who saw the film, did Gohan look 2000 years old to you? Also, Yamcha is some type of thief without martial arts ability. I really can’t blame Chatwin for this failure, I blame the director.

  14. @John
    I completely agree with you.
    What frustrates me the most about the movie is how they didn’t pay ANY attention to he little details that make dragonball so unique and original.
    The sky should’ve turned completely black, the dragon should have been the biggest thing ever seen, the way the dragon made its appearance, oozaru should’ve been HUGE, and outrageous, in other words, not obeying to some random guy and ignore the ones he loves(wtf?). And so much more little things(and bigger things) that would have made the movie so much better and interesting. And NONE of these things is to blame to the actors, but to the director.
    I’m really wondering what they were thinking hiring someone who clearly doesn’t know a THING about dragonball.

  15. @Kahless

    No one is putting all the blame on Chatwin, but his performance as Goku sucked. There was nothing to make any one feel as if he was Goku aside from the failed spiked hair. Even his being a clue dart was a fail. The only people I don’t blame is Ernie Hudson and Chow Yun Fat. The Oozaru thing probably had to do with reincarnation or something like that. You know how it goes in some movies, the evil wizard knows that the hero is linked to some demon or beast that they controlled for evil, and then get the transformation to occur.

  16. @Sin

    True, but I think the bad performance is linked to bad directing in the first place, because the director should be the one saying how chatwin should behave in his role as Goku.

  17. @T-Grave

    I agree with you on that. Still Chatwin just doesn’t have the acting strength to play Goku. I mean come on at least Chow Yun Fat was somewhat believable as a version of Roshi even if he was reading a fail script and directed towards failure.

  18. @Sin
    When I first saw that Chatwin was going to be Goku, I wanted to hunt down the idiot who made that decision. But watching the movie, I understand what the director was trying to do, make Goku a type of Clark Kent with a super secret. If they are going to do a DBZ, I would hope they get a more muscular/cut actor. In the end, the director is the one responsible for how the character is represented. I’m not a Justin Chatwin fan but I think he did what the director told him to do.

  19. What a lousy film, this is seriously a bad film.

  20. I think one of the main reasons they chose for Chatwin is because of his facial characteristics. I don’t know any other actors that have that same resemblance with Goku. And no he’s not all buffed up, but Goku wasn’t buffed up either in Dragonball(if you’ve seen the last saga where he is a teenager, he’s quite skinny).

  21. Chatwin and the film still FAIL.

  22. The movie could have been better, for me they only concentrated in creating a dragon ball movie.. its like they just made the movie because they know that a dragon ball movie will be catchy and intriguing. They did do the movie because they want to make a great movie, a movie to be remembered. They just did it for money.

    The movie was all compressed in just one and a half hours therefore making the story quite lame and the narration was so bad. The movie was so fast phased. They didn’t tell the story of Goku in an entertaining manner..the movie just gave me a taste of every thing. A little comedy, a little action, a little love story. JUST A LITTLE!! In addition, the story line was greatly changed and fight scenes were boring and lacks excitement. i don’t really know why it ended up this way, maybe they have no budget.. i don’t really know. If it where a movie with a different title i would give it 6/10 but for it to be titled “DRAGON BALL”, its score would be 3/10.

  23. ok, couple of things, this new movie is like all the other comic book/ video game/ cartoon shows turned movie. Why people never stick to the original script kills me. another thing is this, there are way more people in asia then america, and yes, Goku and his homies have a bigger fan base than Optimus and his. The transformers movie sucked just like this one, just had Shia Lebeauf and Optimus prime who looked closer to his cartoon form than Goku. and right now, for all those out of the loop, naruto is getting a bigger fan base than both, they may be classics to us, but they are also the stepping stone to greater things when used properly. To all the director and script writers reading, sometimes you just gotta stick to the script that you already have.

  24. I can’t believe they did such a bad movie. I really can’t. Dragon Ball is a great franchise and they could have made (very easily) a lot of money on a 2D animation with probably half the budget they spent here. But no, they had to do pretty much the worst movie ever (even if you’re not a dragon ball fan.) As a Dragon Ball fan, it’s even worse than the worst movie ever cause it ruins the original story which is very funny in the beginning. I would REALLY love to talk to the people who made the movie (director and writer) cause I can’t believe they really thought it was okay. They really believe the public is stupid and is gonna be amazed by CHEAP visual effects that aren’t even innovative (the transformation of the capsule into a bike is very used recently in ads), the KI effect is used anytime Hollywood want to make obvious that there is “energy” somewhere. It’s horrible. I can’t believe it. I went to see this thinking it was gonna be awful but I could laugh at its awfulness. It’s just impossible, it seems like an insult. No one in the theater was serious, everybody was laughing at the movie, criticizing it etc.
    Sorry for my english, i’m french!

  25. well…I got my own head sleep in theater while movie played. And hope next of this movie sequel “if” they gonna remake it, to have a good Dragonball the movie…

  26. One change to the original material is one change too many,the Suck-to-Win ratio of comic book films is far too high.

    The difference between films like this and say, Batman, is that the way we (the fanboys) imagine how we would have directed it etc. is a million miles away from the mass-market-friendly viewpoint the studios have. Batman only had one viable route to take (grittier etc.) which was exactly what the fanboys had in mind but also what the mainstream consciousness expected of batman = great success.

    The points that ruin the films for me were when they very obviously switch emphasis from one age-group to another e.g. Optimus Prime hiding outside Sam’s house – cringeworthy.

    Through reading/watching/growing up with these very well-defined characters we create our own unique bond with them, as well as a very stylized image in our head of how they would look/behave in person (e.g. when playing with their toys as a child – lets not forget the role of imagination in all of this!) Which is exactly what they are designed to do.

    Millions of people with similar, but not identical, expectations cannot all be satisfied at once, so compromise is reached at the expense of the fans at the hands of the toy-purchasing younger populous.

    I’m a big DB AND Transformers fan and i think they both stank, studios try to cater for all audiences when making these films to get the most $$$ and ultimately leave hardcore fans out in the cold.

    I’m available for psycho-analysis, kids parties…

  27. This moveie wasn’t the worst thing I’ve seen in the last year. As for the dialogue, Dragonball Z always had bad dialogue. Further more, every storyline in the anime series was the same. How it lasted as a series as long as it has is amazing.

  28. Just saw it….. WTF!?!?!?!? I remember watching an interview with Justin Chatwin and Emmy Rossum before the movie came out saying the movie NOT a Dragonball film. However, may I just say…. WHY USE THE WORD DRAGONBALL in the title? Why name the main characters the same as the manga/anime if it’s not even lightly based on the “Dragon Ball” Series’. This film could have been GREAT!!! I wasn’t too upset with the actors and even the visual changes in their character. The most upsetting part of the film was the storyline changes. Yes, Goku and Chi Chi were older and in High School, Yamcha was A LOT older and blonde, Bulma didn’t have blue hair, Roshi wasn’t bald and as much of a perv as in the manga/anime… THERE WAS NO KRILLIN!!!, and Piccolo was totally different looking. BUT why did Piccolo have a woman do all his bidding when Piccolo is a solo act? Also, why did they say that Oozaru was Piccolo’s partner in crime 2000 years ago when Goku was shipped to Earth only 18 years prior? First of all, Saiyans are not that old of a race to ship one of their own to Earth so long ago. Second of all, Goku would have been able to turn into Oozaru on every full moon of his life (as long as he had a tail, which was nowhere to be seen in the movie), and Piccolo wouldn’t have been able to control him… (It was almost like Underworld with the Vampires controlling the Lycans… pshh). Finally, Piccolo would have spit out an egg at the end when he was defeated, forming a “good” Kame/God and “evil” Piccolo. Overall, I thought the acting was cheesy as is most of the dialogue in the manga/anime which was ok, and the visual effects were disappointing but after all it was only Dragonball… the visuals don’t pick up that much till Dragon Ball Z anyway.

    I think if another movie was made I would give it a shot, but only if the directors and script writers correct the storyline.

  29. even the fans of the original dragon ball hate this film…