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Approach Dragonball with Low Expectations

Sean Fenwick / Staff Writer

Don’t you just love when Hollywood takes your childhood memories and turns them into pieces of crap? I know I do, and I’m sure glad they did it again with their adaptation of Dragonball: Evolution. 

Dragonball: Evolution follows our hero Goku (Justin Chatwin) as he goes through high school like any other teen, except one major difference; he knows kung fu.

Trained by his grandfather, Goku has special abilities that allow him to tap into his chi, throw energy balls and kick ass. While in high school Goku has a tough time finding his place, being bullied by his classmates, “They push me so far that I want to explode!” he said.  

I was hoping he would explode so that the movie would get interesting. As the movie progresses you learn about the dragonballs: these are seven magical balls that when you bring them together will grant any wish. We are also told that they were once used to banish a demon named Piccolo (Buffy’s James Masters).  

Now, 2,000 years later, he is back and trying to get his demonic hands on those pesky little balls. There isn’t any type of explanation of how he comes back since those balls banished him, but this is just the first of many obvious plot holes.  

In his search for the dragonballs Piccolo stops by Goku’s place to pick up his grandfather’s dragonball. After a few seconds of fighting with Gohan (Goku’s grandfather) Piccolo slays him, by using the force. That’s not a joke, Piccolo walks out of the house and crushes the house in the same way Darth Vader would had it been a Star Wars film.  

After Goku realizes Piccolo did this, he goes on a quest to find the other dragonballs to stop Piccolo. In this quest he runs into Bulma (Emmy Rossum) and Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat) who are both looking for the dragonballs to stop the evil Piccolo. 

As an adaptation, this movie is the worst. Fans of the series (myself included) will look at every aspect of the movie, and point out where they went wrong, and believe me they went wrong in many places. The original story is completely changed so that it could be more marketable, obviously that didn’t quite help. The action sequences seemed to move at a weird pace. One that could only have been an editing flaw, rather then any type of super human agility.  

On a good note the movie is only 75 minutes long, so it doesn’t drag, but at the same time a lot of important story elements are compressed and often forgotten.

As for acting goes, there really isn’t much here. Just about everyone in this film does their worst except for Chatwin, in the original comics and cartoon Goku is a fun loving idiot who is either extremely happy or extremely angry and Chatwin does justice to the look as well.  

You can hate on this movie all you want, but it was just as bad as all the fans predicted it would be. No body had any hope for this movie, not even the studios (hence not screening it to the critics). It has it’s moments where you think “hey that was kind of cool”. At the end of the day it was a valid attempt and a decent kung fu flick for the younglings.