Dragonball: Evolution


“The first rule is…there are no rules.”

For the record I was never a Dragonball fan. My brother, however, was obsessed with it so I know a good deal about it. When I first heard about a live-action Dragonball movie I was as ecstatic as I’m sure my brother was horrified. The very idea is just laughable to me.

So many questions. Why would anyone attempt such a thing? Why is Goku an American teenager in high school? Where are the dinosaurs?

When it comes to movies based off of comics casting is real important to us fan freaks.

Justin Chatwin (who was also the lead in another terrible movie the Invisible) plays Goku. He does have a slight anime’ish profile and I appreciate how Hair&Makeup tried to make his hair spiky. He’s the weird outcast at school. Goku has no friends and has to suffer the abuse of bullies.

Chi Chi is played by Jamie Chung from the Real World: San Diego. Chi Chi is the rich popular girl, dating the football player. Goku admires her from afar, unbeknownst to him that they share the same secret.

Chi Chi: “You used your ki.”
Goku: “Wait. You know about ki?”
Chi Chi: “Just because my name is Chi Chi doesn’t make me a complete idiot.”

Serious Dragonball fans must have freaked when they watched this movie. The plot, the characters, the crappy dialogue. It truly is a treasure trove of bad quotes, especially if you have a juvenile sense of humor.

Bulma: “This can detect and locate the signature wavelengths emitted by the dragonballs.”

Emmy Rossum is pretty cute as Bulma and I suppose she is the most similar to her manga counterpart. Hair&Makeup let me down in her case. They must have been like, “Eh, we won’t dye all your hair sky blue. Just one little streak of blue should be enough.”

Then there’s Chow Yun-Fat as Master Roshi. No white beard, no bald head, no sea turtle. He does however wear a tropical Hawaiian shirt which, I believe, he had a penchant for. How did Chow get talked into this mess? I have to wonder…

Master Roshi: “Believe it, punk. You are getting your clock cleaned.”

Yamcha speaks his lines with a horrible ’80s surfer/Bill & Ted affect. Puar sadly is nowhere to be seen. No adorable floating blue cat creature in sight. Sifu Norris (who I know absolutely nothing about) is the one and only Ernie Hudson.

“Hey. We still have our Dragonballs.”

The thing that gets me the most is James Marsters (otherwise known as Spike from the Buffy TV show) is Lord Piccolo. The concept itself is so upsetting to me it borders on blasphemy. I didn’t even recognize him with all the green makeup. No white turban or antennae.

My favorite part of the movie is when Master Roshi resuscitates Goku via Kame-Hame-Ha to the chest. A muscle spasm subsequently causes Goku to do an impressive dancer’s crotch thrust.

Goku: “To be at one with myself, I must be two. [Screaming] [Roars]”

I also mightily enjoyed Goku’s final Kame-Hame-Ha, sounding as if he has constipation, that finishes off Lord Piccolo and saves the Earth.

Or so it would appear.

The end credits start. Some random J-pop song is playing. I see, “Executive Producer Akira Toriyama” appear on the screen and my brain explodes. What?? How could Akira let this happen? How could he have had a hand in creating this garbage?

But it’s not over yet. Halfway through the credits there’s another scene where it’s revealed that *dramatic reverb* Piccolo survived and is being nursed back to health. Do I smell a sequel??? I hope they put Vegeta and his massive eyebrows in the next one.

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About Rilla

Deathologist and professional muser by day. Freelance psychopomp and roustabout by night.
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