Dragonball: Evolution is a 2009 American action-adventure science fantasy film directed by James Wong of The X-Files, Space: Above and Beyond and Final Destination fame. The film is based on the Japanese Dragon Ball manga by Akira Toriyama as well as Toei's 1986-1989 anime series, and stars Justin Chatwin, Emmy Rossum, James Marsters, Jamie Chung, Chow Yun-fat, Joon Park and Eriko Tamura.
When his grandfather Gohan (Randall Duk Kim) is killed by the vengeful Lord Piccolo (Marsters), Goku (Chatwin), along with Master Roshi (Yun-fat), Bulma (Rossum), and Yamcha (Park), goes on a quest to find the seven Dragon Balls before Piccolo can use them to destroy the world.
Why It Sucks
- Very poor acting, especially from Justin Chatwin (the future voice actor for Knuckles the Echidna in a Sonic the Hedgehog movie).
- Terrible fight choreography. For example, in one fight, Goku somehow slides across a car using his head.
- The film doesn't follow the plot of both the manga and the anime series AT ALL.
- Very poor grasp of the source material. For example:
- In the original manga and anime, Goku is a naive 12-year-old kid who has no idea what a girl is and never had any proper schooling, but in this film, Goku is an angsty 18-year-old high school student who already has a crush on Chi-Chi (Chung). He also is a disrespectful team captain who is racist and sings in high school instead of the iconic character from the show.
- In a scene where Goku uses the Kamehameha, he randomly starts flying up into King Piccolo for no reason whatsoever.
- Master Roshi using the Kamehameha wave to revive Goku after he gets shot by one of the villains.
- Goku gets killed by an ordinary bullet, while in both the original manga and the anime series, bullets barely affected him to the point where they felt like mere bee stings.
- Awful special effects.
- Clichéd dialogue.
- Obvious CGI and greenscreen backgrounds.
- The movie is filled with plotholes aplenty, like how Piccolo escapes from his prison.
- All of the characters are grossly miscast and look nothing like their original counterparts.
- The romance between Goku and Chi-Chi is like a teen drama show on The CW.
- Good soundtrack by Brian Tyler.
- Chow Yun-fat is pretty good as Master Roshi, even if he doesn't even remotely look like his original counterpart.
The movie was met with extremely negative reception from critics, viewers, fans, and even Akira Toriyama himself, who commissioned the production of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' years after this movie's release. Screenwriter Ben Ramsey has since apologized for the film, saying that "to have something with my name on it as the writer be so globally reviled is gut wrenching. To receive hate mail from all over the world is heartbreaking".
The fan backlash was so severe that it convinced Akira Toriyama to start working on two new Dragon Ball Z films, which eventually led to the creation of Dragon Ball Super, the sequel series to Dragon Ball Z.