Hello movie goers from around the globe. When I was a kid, Cartoon Network’s programming block Toonami introduced me to anime franchises like “Sailor Moon,” “Gundam” and last but not least, “Dragon Ball Z” or DBZ for short. I’m a huge fan of the latter franchise since 2000. I’ve watched “Dragon Ball,” which is the original that started it all, DBZ, GT and Super. Over the years I played video games like “Budokai,” “Budokai Tenkaichi,” “Burst Limit,” “Raging Blast,” “Xenoverse” & “FighterZ.” After coming home from school, little me (age 7-12) turns the TV to watch the latest episode before I do my homework. Those were the good old days chowing down on Oreos and drinking Capri-Sun while watching every single show. Nine Years Later, a live-action film adaptation of DBZ. At the time, Sixteen-year-old me felt excited to see how it’s gonna turn out. Sadly, “Dragon Ball Evolution” let me down.
Dragon Ball Evolution was released in 2009. (same year Coraline came out) It was universally panned by critics, fans and movie goers alike. Plans for a sequel were immediately cancelled. Since 2013, series creator Akira Toriyama made DBZ based films in anime format including “Battle of Gods,” “Resurrection F” & “Broly.” All three installments earned positive reception. Next film is “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero focusing on Piccolo & Gohan teaming up to fight the Red Ribbon Army.
It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are listed. This movie doesn’t derseve to exist.
Powerful & Weak Aspects
Powerful: There’s nothing redeemable.
Weak: Justin Chatwin lacks the fun-loving attitude Goku has in the anime.
James Wong (Final Destination) didn’t do his research on the lore.
Action Sequences pales in comparison to the anime.
Here’s a list of horrible differences that pales in comparison to beloved franchise. Each one Triples Down Points. This is from a fan’s perspective. Again, I’m a huge fan of DBZ.
Goku uses dead bodies to make a bridge. Then he hops on each one like the game “Pitfall.”
- Goku’s signature spiky hair is too short. < Goku’s spiky hair is unique in anime format.
- Grandpa Gohan is killed by Piccolo. < In actual canon, Goku turns into a giant ape, he accidentally squashed his grandpa.
- Goku attends high school. < Goku never went to school. He’s never educated.
- Goku falls in love with Chi Chi. < Chi Chi actually falls for Goku. The latter is oblivious to the concept of love.
- Goku & Chi Chi first see each other as teens. < They’ve known each other since childhood.
- Mai is Piccolo’s henchwoman. < Mai is actually Pilaf’s partner in crime along with a ninja fox named, Shu.
- Mai has the power to shapeshift. < Mai doesn’t have any powers.
- Roshi’s master is alive. < Roshi’s master died before Goku was born.
- No explanation how Piccolo escaped the jar that sealed him. < Pilaf released Piccolo.
- Bulma’s hair is black with a single strand of blue hair. < Her hair is purely turquoise.
- Roshi has a full set of hair. < Roshi is bald, wears sunglasses and has a beard.
- Roshi’s place is located in the middle of a city. < His home is located on a tiny island surrounded by an ocean.
- Krillin, Tien & Chaozhu are absent. < All three characters factor in the King Piccolo Saga.
- Pilaf & Shu are absent. < Mai, Pilaf & Shu are the first villains Goku encountered.
- Whenever Goku touches a ball, he sees a glimpse of a future apocalypse. < This never happened in canon.
- Dragon Radar looks like a “Power Rangers” morphing device. < Dragon Radar is shaped like a compass.
- Piccolo lacks his antenna. < He has ‘em in the anime.
- Piccolo intends to use the Dragon Balls to take over the world. < Piccolo uses them to restore his youth and regain his full strength.
- Mai gets killed. < Mai lives.
- Piccolo creates his henchmen via blood in a tank. < He can spit an egg from his mouth, out comes the offspring.
- Yamcha is a generic guy. < Yamcha is a doofus who always gets his butt beat, has long hair, a scar and a shapeshifting friend named, Puar.
- Goku’s ape form is a rip-off of The Wolf Man. < He turns into a King Kong-sized ape.
- Goku reverts back to normal remembering who he is. < The only way to turn Goku back to normal is to cut off his tail or destroy a full moon.
- Goku wears his orange gi, except his pants are black. < His pants are orange.
- The Kamehameha attack is just blue smoke and it can also extinguish candles. < It’s a powerful energy wave that can destroy anything.
- No talking animals are around. < Oolong the Pig & Puar the Bunny accompany Goku on his early adventures.
- Piccolo survives at the end. < Goku uses the Kamehameha, blasts the ground to launch himself in the air, punches Piccolo through the gut. Just before he blows himself up, he spits out an egg containing his surviving offspring, Piccolo Jr.
- Shenron never utters out a single word, his appearance is gold. < Shenron speaks and he’s green.
A Mid-Credits Scene shows a woman healing Piccolo’s wounds. As a result of a commercial and critical flop, plans for a sequel was scrapped just like other failed attempts to launch a series including “Super Mario Bros Movie,” “Mac and Me,” Ang Lee’s Hulk,” “The Last Airbender,” “Green Lantern” & “Jupiter Ascending.”
The Final Verdict: F, FOR FAKER!
From my point of view, Dragon Ball Evolution is arguably the worst movie of 2009. As a longtime fan of DBZ, it’s repulsive to watch, it doesn’t deserve to exist! If you’re a pure fan like me, I highly recommend Battle of Gods, Resurrection F & Broly. I can’t wait to see Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.