Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dragonball Evolution

I was expecting worse.

I’m not gonna say it’s a great movie. Not even gonna say it’s a good movie. But it certainly isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Most of the acting is pretty lousy, and it’s pretty cheesy at many points. It’s effects-laden as opposed to substantive, and it isn’t clear as to whether it’s aimed at kids or an older crowd. Still, it has its genuinely funny moments, and some of the fights are fairly well done.

I’m a big fan of the series. I have been for years. When I was in elementary and middle school, I bought the toys, cards, comics, and seemingly countless videotapes. Even throughout high school, I enjoyed the comics and some DVDs. Now, even as I’m in college, I still read the comics and buy DVDs. I love the series. So, of course, I’d rather the film stayed more true to the source material. Even though it’s quite different in detail from the series, I think that the spirit is still there.

Justin Chatwin actually isn’t bad as Goku. Goku’s origin story is mucked up a bit, but this would force the filmmakers to go in a rather different direction if there is a sequel (though low box office could prevent this), and that could be interesting to see.
Chow Yun-Fat is great as Roshi. This was to be expected, though. Who doesn’t love Chow Yun-Fat? Idiots. That’s who.
James Marsters is pretty good as Piccolo. Piccolo really doesn’t have much screen time, though. And just how did he break out of the Mafuba?
Randall Duk Kim is pretty good as Grampa Gohan.
The rest of the cast is so-so, and often negligible.

There are many plot holes, unfortunately. How Piccolo got out of his prison is never explained. We never find out the origin of the Dragon Balls. Also, during the final fight, Goku’s (altered) origin is rather hastily explained. The first half of the movie is paced fairly well, and it’s not a half-bad quest/coming-of-age story, but then it starts to feel rushed. Towards the end, it’s feeling REALLY rushed.

Despite its flaws and great difference from the series that I love so much, I still think people should check it out. I’ll be buying the DVD when it comes out.

(I must note that I have no idea why they chose to call it “Evolution”. There doesn’t seem to be any real reason.)

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