Blu-ray Review Dragonball: Evolution
Directed by: James Wong Cast: Justin Chatwin, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung and Chow Yun-Fat Running Time: 1 hr 20 mins Rating: PG
Plot: A young man (Chatwin) trained in super martial arts must stop an ancient evil force from ending the world.
Who's It For? Tweenage boys and their complacent chaperones/parents. Fans of the series will likely be disappointed, especially those who watched “Dragonball Z” on TV like this guy.
As far as adaptations that should never exist in the first place go, there have been worse. Like the best of the worst, Dragonball: Evolution was never really asked for by fans. In fact, the film is being rejected more than accepted by fans. And even more fans are too busy disregarding its entire existence to even reject it. But still, this is no super disaster like that Super Mario Bros. movie with Bob Hoskins (even he agreed that sucked). This is just another lame cotton candy consolidation that aims to please outsiders (i.e kids) more than the particular series’ actual fan base.
Dragonball can’t fight its way out of disparity because even the moments of combat disappoint. The "Dragonball" series at a basic core offers intense, over the top hand-to-hand combat that is mixed with “Spirit Bombs” and tomfoolery like that. This feature film actualization fails to offer much of that fun. There is indeed action (PG to the max!) but it is soon dead and repetitive. Watching Goku and super-villain Piccolo throw super-air at each other can only keep me awake for so long.
Probably the element most accurate with this adaptation is Dragonball’s cartoon-y aspect. The characters (Goku, played by a white bro or Bulma, played by a purdy Emmy Rossum) are still goofy as sin, despite tackling serious issues such as the end of the world. In general Dragonball: Evolution maintains a light air even in its “dark” moments. The universe could be on the brink of destruction, a main character could die, and it’s all book-ended by a level of cheesiness that the film originally encourages, but soon loses control of. If director Wong gets anything right with this film, it's the idea that the "Dragonball" universe is meant to be hall of mirrors when reflecting our own.
In one scene, Goku learns how to put out fire by using spiritual powers that are apparently beyond our comprehension. In the next segment, in which he must help an ally while their surroundings to burn to the ground, Goku dramatically dives over the flames like it were his only option. The cliche lines "...until now!" and "The first rule is: there are no rules" are delivered back to back. Dragonball ends on a shot that tears a page off of the final script of Rocky II. Excluding the fact that Goku isn't meant to be played by a white dude, that is the kind of "fun" that the stagnant Dragonball: Evolution has to offer.
Goku's Workout Featurette - Two grown men stand in front of a green screen and show us how to position ourselves so that we can attempt to make "Spirit Bombs" just like Goku. I am not joking. Sometimes I like making people laugh, but here I can only offer sadness.
Fox Movie Channel presents "Life After Film School with Justin Chatwin" - Three students from USC sit across from super-actor Justin Chatwin and discuss (in reasonable depth) how he got the role, what his philosophies are on acting, and other tidbits like personal stories from the set.
Gag Reel - Apparently, everyone has their yuks on set (even when working on something as stupid as this flick). But do gag reels ever share with us such frivolity? No. And after watching Dragonball: Evolution, I could've used a good kneeslapper, not another slap to the face.
Goku's Quest Game Deleted Scenes Brian Anthony "Worked Up!" Music Video Fox Movie Channel presents Making A Scene Digital Copy of the film
Extras Score: 4/10
Despite its more than decent set of extras, this Blu-Ray loses the fight to be a decent rental because the main attraction, a bubble gum adaptation of a popular Japanese manga, is for the most part a soulless disaster. For those curious about the particular series, there are other ways to experience the "Dragonball" universe, like finding the entire series of "Dragonball Z" on DVD. But when it comes to Blu-Rays, this is definitely not one Dragonball you want to have in your possession.
Final Score: 2/10