Dragonball Evolution: Movie Review

Time and time again, Americans just do not get it - Eastern fads translated to Western films is a big no-no. Most of the time they just bastardize it to pieces making it remotely similar to the wonderfully crafted original. Horror films like "The Eye" or "The Ring" are just a few examples of this trend. Just taking a look at the poster and trailer of "Dragonball Evolution" makes us quiver and shudder. Maybe that is why they put up the word EVOLUTION right? Well, read on to find out if "Dragonball Evolution" evolves to something beautiful or would it just be another step back for the East-to-West Adapted films?

The film starts off with a flashback 2,000 years ago when an evil lord named Piccolo ruled the Earth. Piccolo had a minion named Oozaru. Both obliterated the Earth's population until they were stopped by a group of monks. Piccolo was imprisoned while Oozaru was sent somewhere far away. Fast forward to present time, we meet Goku (Justin Chatwin) on his 18th birthday while he is being given a 4 star dragonball by his grandfather Gohan. Gohan tells Goku that there are only seven dragonballs in existence and anyone who collects all of them can summon a dragon. The dragon then grants the person one perfect wish. For some reason, Piccolo was able to break free and now is on a vengeance to get all of the dragonballs to become again the ruler of the world. In this process, he kills Grandfather Gohan albeit before Gohan commands Goku to go to a certain Master Roshi. Now, Goku must try to get the remaining dragonballs before Piccolo can or else the world will be destroyed.

We can simply say that "Dragonball Evolution" was better than what we expected it to be but still, it could have been (we have to put an emphasis on the next few words) way, way better. First off, the one thing that we were afraid of was true - this is truly not a carbon copy of the animated "Dragonball" series a lot of us loved. Fans will surely hate this adaptation more than anything else that it is so different that it is mind-boggling. Second, for an action-film based on manga, the CGI graphics were sub-par and really bad. Third, the acting was pretty bad and amatuerish although who could blame the actors when the material was sub-par from the start. You also have to hate the character of Chichi (Jamie Chung) as she is annoying with her "seductiveness" with Goku - being subtle is not a word to describe her. The only good things we see for this film is that it was action-packed all the way and if you do not care much about the plot, then this is for you. Based on the reaction of the people who watched, "Dragonball Evolution" might have found some newfound fans but for us, "Dragonball Evolution" just tried too hard to be hip, cool and be the "in" thing with teens - which makes most of their prior fanbase feel left out. More people will hate this film than love it - and that is for sure.  

Rating: 2 reels

Why you should watch it:
- action-packed all the way
- brainless fun and mindless plot

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- another bad attempt to Westernize an Eastern idea
- bad CGI effects that makes our eyes bleed
- Chichi was a character that got to our nerves
- tried to be too hip and cool
- we have a feeling die-hard fans will hate what James Wong and Stephen Chow did to the Dragonball Franchise

By the way, again, thanks to Azrael Coladilla and SM Cinema for the movie invites to the red carpet premiere of "Dragonball Evolution" at the SM D-Cinema. SM D-Cinema presented a higher def picture than what we normally see in theaters so you guys got to see it to believe it! "Dragonball Evolution" is also showing on April 11, 2009 in theaters around the Metro. 
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