I watched “Dragonball: Evolution” this weekend. I was actually pretty excited to see it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be awful and a total waste of time.
For those not familiar with the story, the hero of this tale is Goku (Justin Chatwin), an awkward teenage boy who has been raised since infancy by his grandfather (Randall Duk Kim). He’s gawky and lonely and is constantly being picked on at school. The story begins on Goku’s 18th birthday, which turns into this big thing that begins with Gramps giving him a dragon ball, a mysterious and powerful orb that, when united with the other six in existence, can grant any wish. Goku blows off celebrating his birthday in order to go to a party thrown by class cutie Chi Chi (Jamie Chung). After arriving home, Goku finds his house destroyed and his grandfather near death. It turns out that the evil Lord Piccolo (James Marsters), who tried to take over the world thousands of years earlier and has been imprisoned ever since, has escaped and is attempting to gather all the dragon balls as part of a plan to destroy the Earth once and for all. With nothing really left to lose, Goku takes off to look up Master Roshi (Chow Yun-fat) and gets his help to round up the other dragonballs before Piccolo can get a hold of them. Along the way, they gather some teammates: Bulma (Emmy Rossum), whose own dragon ball was stolen by Piccolo before she could use its power to create a cheap energy source that would make her world-famous, and the arrogant Yamacha (Joon Park), who sees the dragon balls only as a way to make a lot of money. Together, all of them try to find the dragon balls and take down Piccolo once and for all.
This film would have worked so much better if they had stuck with the original anime format. But that’s not the only problem with it; this movie has massive plot holes and relies on the audience’s pre-existing knowledge of the original source material for everything to make sense. And even if you were a fan of the show like I was, you’d still be a little confused because they changed a lot of important information.
I don’t want to say that there aren’t any cool aspects of this film, because there are-some pretty cool martial arts sequences (like Goku using passive resistance to beat up a bunch of bullies without actually hitting them), and bright colorful special effects reminiscent of Japanese anime like Pokémon. So, basically, if you want to just look at the screen without actually thinking about what’s going on, this movie will be great for you. But if you actually try to pay attention to the plot, you’ll be confused by a film that doesn’t know if it wants to be a teen angst movie, a live-action anime or a cool sci-fi flick.