Starring: Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Chow Yun-Fat
Director: James Wong
Running Time: 85 mins
Dragonball: Evolution is an American film, based on the TV series, about a young warrior who discovers that he must battle alien forces who are trying to destroy the world, and in order to save everyone, he must fight to find seven mystical ‘dragonballs’.
This film is quite simply terrible. It’s got some horrific performances, a messed-up tone, tedious action sequences complete with poor live-action adaptations of an anime cartoon show, and a story that will bore you to death, feeling as if it’s going on for hours on end even though it’s just 85 minutes long.
First things first, I haven’t watched Dragonball Z. I’m using my very limited knowledge of anime (i.e. Akira and some Pokemon) to judge this film against the TV show, but I know that many big Dragonball Z fans were hugely disappointed, and I can really see why.
The worst thing about this entire film is the way that it attempts to capture the feel and image of a Japanese cartoon show, but by still maintaining it in live-action, set in America, with mainly white actors. The central character, Goku, is as dull as anything, as he’s presented as a normal sort of teen guy who just wants to get along, but is thrust into this world of dragonballs and extraterrestrials and other things, whilst there’s also a very forced and cheesy love story around him that makes this film even more annoying and less satisfying to watch.
What’s more is that the actor playing Goku, Justin Chatwin, is trying to pull off this image as a 15-17 year old teenager, and despite being 28 years old, his performance is simply horrific all round, with delivery similar to Robert Pattinson in Twilight, whilst he also doesn’t appear to be enjoying himself too much on camera like so many great action heroes can do, which makes this film all the less entertaining.
Also, the action sequences here are terrible. Again, it’s the issue of transferring anime to live-action, and whilst most films change the style of action to suit this better, this film attempts to use the crazy slow-motion attacks and martial arts in the same way, which just isn’t as convincing as a more generic type of action.
The story, meanwhile, is more boring than anything you could imagine. It plays out like it’s all three Lord Of The Rings films in 85 minutes, however Fellowship Of The Ring and Two Towers take 80 minutes, and the only exciting part, Return Of The King, is done and dusted with in the last 5 minutes, so this film is just so slowly-paced and poorly laid-out that it’s never interesting to follow along to, something made worse by the fact that you just don’t care about the rubbish main character.
Overall, this gets a 2.0, because it’s a boring, unexciting, long-winded adaptation of a beloved cartoon series that falls flat on its face.