Review: Dragonball Evolution

This week I broke a cardinal rule of film criticism. I went into Dragonball Evolution thinking (and in a sick way, hoping) that the film would be bad. Oh, and how it didn’t disappoint. Come next February, Dragonball Evolution will surely be up for some Razzies and possibly make this year’s worst movie list. But why go see it if I thought it was going to be so bad? For the laughs.

Over two thousand years ago, the alien Piccolo reigned terror upon the Earth. Then a group of great masters imprisoned him inside the planet. Now the alien king has escaped and plans to reign terror on Earth again by gathering the seven dragon balls and wishing the return of his demon sidekick. Meanwhile, our hero young Goku learns of this ancient prophecy and, with the help of Bulba and Master Roshi, sets out to find the dragon balls before Piccolo and his human assassin, to save the world from imminent destruction at the next solar eclipse.

First of all, the biggest elephant in the room (and trust me, there is a whole herd) is how Piccolo escaped. They never once address this question. That is just the beginning of an unexplainable, jumpy, sporadic script. The timeline of the film occurs over approximately nine days but the movie is only eighty-five minutes long, at times cutting out four days without any notice except a quick line of dialogue. Speaking of the dialogue, it is laughable. Not only the lines themselves, but also their delivery (especially by the great actor Chow Yun-Fat). Just check out for the memorable quotes and you’ll see what I mean. The entirety of the script is like this; from the quickest pacing I have ever seen in a film, the numerous plot holes, to the repetition of similar lines of bad dialogue. The script just seems to have lacked any rewrites at all.

As for the acting, the actors do at least try; they just have nothing to work with. Justin Chatwin, who plays Goku, has good comedic timing with his line delivery and does not seem a complete fool performing the martial arts moves. Emmy Rossum (Bulba), despite the fact that I couldn’t stand her performance in either Phantom of the Opera or The Day After Tomorrow, at least I didn’t hate in this picture. Chow Yun Fat as Master Roshi tried the hardest, possibly too hard. I do remember slightly that his character in the cartoon was to be comedic, but I just found him to be more of a fool than intended comedic relief. Jamie Chung (of Samurai Girl fame) as Chi-Chi was the real standout with both her acting and martial arts ability. James Marsters was the biggest disappointment as he portrayed Piccolo. Maybe it was the makeup, or the lines, or the direction given him, but I probably laughed the hardest when he was on screen.

As for the filmmaking, I do not plan on giving credit to any of the filmmakers because of the slight chance that they read this review they probably would want to kill me for insulting them so. Everyone who worked on this film needed Film 101. The editing was atrocious, breaking the “one hundred eighty degree rule” and thus ruining our sense of direction following the action. The cinematography placed epic camera angles for plain ordinary shot moments. There was little blood throughout the entire film. Not even a bloody nose when a character is thrown into a wall, or a bruised hand for even one of the regular human characters. I know this is a PG movie, but lack of blood for a film with lots of fight sequences is just unrealistic. The only positive filmmaking technique in this movie was the animation, which was good and not distracting.

Earlier I said I went to see Dragonball Evolution for the laughs. It is true, my friend and I laughed nearly throughout the entire film at the outrageous filmmaking that was allowed to go on. It might not be Snakes on a Plane laughable, but if you are really bored and don’t want to see Hannah Montana: The Movie, Dragonball Evolution will at least not bore you.

Ratings for Dragonball Evolution
Rating (out of 10 )
Overall Score



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