Monday, June 8, 2015

Film Reviews: Dragonball: Evolution

Worst Movie Ever.

How on earth do you write a proper review for such a horrendous pile of crap? With ample levity and a gallon of alcohol. Since I don't have the latter, I'll have to wade through this one sober as I've ever been as I bring you my review for Dragonball: Evolution. Oh and before we begin: Spoiler Alert.

        (Even the poster pisses me off)

If I were to compare this to the popular anime or manga, we'd be here all day. So we'll save that review for another day. Instead, I'm going to review this film on the merits of simply being a film. I'll be as impartial as possible.

Story: 2/10
The story makes little to no sense at all, but here it is:
On the eve of his eighteenth birthday, Son Goku must deal with the death of his grandfather, Gohan by tracking down the killer, Piccolo! On the "journey" he meets Bulma, Yamcha and Muten Roshi!
The story seems fine on paper, but it's delivered so poorly that one would be forgiven for thinking the writing team didn't read previous scenes as they worked on the script.
Goku vows to seek revenge for his grandfather's death by killing Piccolo. During his quest, he learns of a monster called Oozaru that came to earth 2,000 years ago, but literally no one has any record of that happening, despite the fact that we have records of events WAY earlier.

                       (Exhibit A)

Anyway, during the "climactic" final battle (re: the first and only encounter) with Piccolo, Goku discovers that *GASP!* he is Oozaru!! Yep. 18 year old Goku is a 2,000 year old werewolf monkey called Oozaru. And as it turns out, he just happens to be Piccolo's slave somehow. Conveniently, Gohan trained under Muten Roshi, who trained under the very man who defeated Piccolo 2,000 years ago.
Did I forget to mention that Goku also knew about the Nemicks (anime fans may groan now). Yep. The Nemicks. Plural. But the only one seen here is Piccolo. So where are the others? It doesn't matter.
I need to stop for a second to point out a huge problem: Goku transforms into Oozaru when the blood moon eclipses the sun. Any guesses on what a blood moon is? Anyone? You guessed it. A blood moon is a lunar eclipse - the exact opposite of a solar eclipse. See below. 

Anyway, everything in the film is so mindblowingly convenient that I am forced to believe that someone was hired just to come up with coincidences to move the paper thin plot along its painfully predictable course.
I'm done talking about the plot.

Characters: 3/10

The characters in this movie seem less like individuals with personality and more like plot devices to get through the film. And that is extremely bad.

Goku (played by Justin Chatwin) is at first an 18 year old high school student whose life's ambition is to "get the girl," who happens to be dating the cartoonishly evil school bully, Carey Fuller, who was played by a man named (and I am not joking) Texas Battle.
Yep. Goku is 18, has never had a girlfriend and is so bad in social situations that he also has no friends. At least until his birthday which just happens to be on Chi Chi's birthday (the girl he likes). When he shows up to the party, he beats up her boyfriend (Carey Fuller, who has tried to murder Goku twice at this point) and then suddenly wins Chi Chi's affection. Somehow. Yep. And his personality changes every time something needs to happen to move the plot.
First he's inept at using Ki, then he magically becomes an expert with no further complications. 
He wants the girl and after brutalizing her boyfriend, he gets her!
Justin Chatwin does such a poor job of acting that I am hesitant to call it that. It's abysmal. I do not exaggerate when I say it may be the worst performance I have ever seen.

Piccolo (James Marsters) had a sword in all the promotion material (see above) but that didn't show up at all in the film. He's also just sort of evil I guess. Not super evil. He was destroying the world 2,000 years ago and then he got locked up and now instead of destroying stuff or attacking cities, he goes to the desert to summon the dragon to make a wish. What wish, you ask? Who knows?! His plans are never made clear. We know he wants revenge. We know that he had the power to wipe out entire civilizations with the aid of his slave monkey thing, Oozaru. We know that he has literally everything AND MORE than he had the first time, so why does he need the Dragon Balls? It makes no sense at all. And he utters one of the many stupid lines in this film (everyone gets their turn) that may go unnoticed if you're not paying close attention.
He tells Goku that Goku is Oozaru. He goes on to tell him that he (Goku) travelled through the stars to await his (Goku's) 18th birthday when the blood moon would eclipse the sun and he would join Piccolo at his (Piccolo's) side!
Did you catch it? I'll explain.
1. Goku's birthday was like a week earlier.
2. Even IF that day were Goku's birthday, it couldn't be his actual birthday because he had to travel through the stars and arrived on Earth as a small child (a baby, yes, but at least six months old). Not to mention that if the day of the eclipse were his 18th birthday, Goku would've only known it as his 17th since he couldn't possibly have been celebrating a birthday from another planet.
3. A blood moon CANNOT under any circumstances eclipse the sun. So I guess by logic, I can affirmatively say that when the blood moon eclipses the sun, I too become Oozaru.
4. If Goku is Oozaru, why did he "ride a meteor" to Earth 18 years earlier? And how?
5. Again, a 2,000 year old werewolf monkey cannot also be an 18 year old boy who traveled from Earth to Earth on a meteor.
Piccolo is literally saying:
"Goku, when the moon comes between Earth and the sun and the Earth comes between the moon and the sun simultaneously, you will celebrate your 18th birthday a week late by magically become a 2,000 year old werewolf monkey and becoming my slave. Also, you used to beat people up with me but when I was locked away, you hopped on a meteor and cruised around the galaxy until exactly 18 years before my big comeback."

Bulma is an almost pointless character. She does absolutely nothing to advance the plot. All the necessary information that Goku needs is given to him by other people and all the things she contributes (a Dragon Ball Energy Locator and a "cool" motorcycle) are essentially unnecessary. I'll prove it.
1. Goku can run faster than her bike. This is demonstrated when he is seen keeping up with while wearing what looks to be 200lbs+ on his back and is forced to follow on foot.
2. The Dragon Balls attract one another. For whatever reason, Goku can sense the Dragon Balls better than the DBE (get it? Get it?) as evidenced by the fact that he finds all of the Dragon Balls and she finds none of them. Sure, the DBE was able to get the team sort of close, but Goku was searching for Roshi in Paozu anyway, and Roshi just happened to have one. Then, Roshi suggested they go to Toizan, where they found the third (Goku already had one).
And at the volcano? Goku found the Dragon Ball!! Bulma is utterly pointless. She is lacking depth and there is no real reason for her in this film!

Roshi doesn't seem pointless. In fact, he seems misused. He is clearly stronger than Goku (as evidenced multiple times throughout the film), he is more skilled than Goku (as demonstrated by the use of Ki) and he knows more about what's going on. 
Roshi taught Gohan. Gohan taught Goku. The problem is that Goku didn't learn anything from Gohan. He tries to use Ki and fails. But then Chi Chi comes along and suddenly he's freaking Aang (they call Ki Airbending in this movie - I was making a joke about Goku being an Airbender ... Like Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender). It makes no logical sense.
Anyway, Roshi ends up getting himself killed and Goku uses his wish from Shenlong, the Dragon to wish him back. Did Goku forget about his grandpa? Roshi used a Kamehameha earlier in the movie to bring a dead Goku back to life - why wouldn't Goku do the same? It seems like they didn't think this through. One minute Roshi is a hyper old mad akin to a homeless man with a flat in the city, the next minute he's a wise old sage. Then he's a student. Then he's a warrior. Then he's dead. Ugh.

Yamcha is the most annoying person in this movie by far. His bad VoiceOver is enough to utterly ruin this for me.
Gohan is essentially a nice old man who knows a thing or two about ancient Chinese culture. He trains Goku (poorly) and then dies. That's it.
Fuller is just a bully. He never shows up again after Goku beats him up. No development at all.
Mai is a piece of cardboard.
Sifu Norris is just an old Hindu man. I have no clue what the point of that was. Apparently Gohan, who trained under Roshi is Buddhist or something, Roshi, who trained under Norris is "a skeptic," and Norris is Hindu. It makes no sense.
Chi Chi is a slut. End of story.
None of the other characters matter.

ACTION: 2/10

Two out of ten is hardly fair. But that's about how many action scenes made it into this movie and I was trying to be nice. Here are the action scenes:
Goku v Gohan on the clothes lines - lame.
Goku v Fuller's gang - boring.
Gohan v Mai - non-event.
Goku v Chi Chi - over in a single hit.
Gang v Piccolo's Monsters - not terrible.
Jeep in the Desert - very boring.
Gang v Oozaru - non-event.
Goku v Piccolo - rushed and illogical.

Yep. It sucks. I won't go into why each scene is boring, but trust me, they are.


I barely noticed it. So it wasn't annoying me the whole time.

TONE: 1/10

Inconsistent is the best compliment I can give this film in terms of tone. The high school drama is introduced and immediately forgotten. The romance with Chi Chi is forced and makes no sense - she had a boyfriend, Goku beat him up, she immediately starts flirting with Goku. Slut!
That's it. I'm done with this movie.


Stay tuned to my blog for the upcoming comparison between Dragon Ball and Dragonball Evolution!

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