REVIEW: DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION
I review 2009's Dragonball Evolution
BY ROBERT GARLEN
Let me start out by saying, I am in the middle when it comes to being a fan, by that i mean, I'm in between Casual Fan and Hardcore knows everything fan. I had been waiting for this film since i was in the 2nd grade. So my level of anticipation was as high as Mt. Everest. While passing the time from Announcement to final release the December before the film released i had written a Fan Script that lasted 145 pgs. all based on what I've heard of the film and how my mind was playing it out, but i knew i couldn't wait for the film this was DRAGONBALL and it was enough knowing my child hood was still alive. I had too see it twice.
(SIDE STORY: a big reason was an asshole in one of the lower rows of the theater was screaming and laughing over the movie so much other people actually yelled at him to be quiet, As soon as the Credits went up i Ripped the guy a new asshole and even threaten to beat the dog shit out of him and his friends.
The first time was with my Brother and his wife. The second time i was with a friend of mine who loved Dragonball half as much as i did, and she loved Chow-Yun Fat so that's why she went.)
OK OK OK, enough with my side story, Now to continue my review. Right off the bat I'm telling you guys I'm not reviewing it in the same light as every other fan and review does. I'm reviewing it as One thing, An Enjoyable Film. I'm going to review the overall film only after reviewing several stages: Acting, Directing & Writing, Score, Faithfulness, and Message.
Let's begin first on the list ACTING: The film stars Justin Chatwin, better known from his role as Nick Powell from the Invisibles and Robbie from Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds remake, stars as Son Goku, Jaimie Chung co-star of Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch is Chi Chi, Emmy Rossum from Phantom of the Opera plays the role of Bulma, Korea's very own Joon Park is Yamcha, Buffy's James Marsters is Piccolo, Matrix's Randall Duk Kim plays Grandpa Gohan, Jon Woo's always great Chow-Yun Fat plays Roshi, and last but not least Heroes Eriko Tamura is Piccolo's sexy evil servant Mai.
With the main cast in order I will say that most of the performances were A-Game, At times i had Trouble with Chow-Yun Fat's Roshi, well just his introduction it was over the top and not Dragonball over the top either, It can be easily seen Chow didn't put in his full effort for Roshi, but he did put in enough effort to show he liked the script. Justin Chatwin was amazing, making the role of Goku his own, having researched the role you can tell parts of the Anime and Manga's Goku was there, but Chatwin must've smartly insisted on creating his own version of Goku. James Marsters is the same, he IS Piccolo, he knew the role, he researched he found Piccolo in himself and harnassed it, his performance was without a doubt Pure Perfection. My eyes were drawn the the sexy well talented forms of the female cast, Eriko, Jaimie, and Emmy all turned out great lovable performances that didn't lead to the need of Tylenol, Randal Duk Kim played a role I'm almost sure he must've played before being the Film's Key Sage giving Goku advice before and after his death. Joon Parks Yamcha echoed the comedic side of Dragonball and shined well with it, although he did remind me more of Brock, but that's because Yamcha didn't fight. All in all the preformances were good and pleasant, Director James Wong had found the Right Goku and Piccolo right off the bat and I'm glad for these choices.
DIRECTING & WRITING: James Wong, veteran director of such Films as Final Destination and the One, his portfolio as a producer is much more filled out having produced the X-Files for Fox, needless to say he Did a fantastic Job. Wong had did an Uncredited rewrite from a Draft written by Ben Ramsey and his work out shines Ramsey's(based on the unconfirmed leaked Draft with Ramsey's name titled: DRAGONBALL Z) The writing of the film was as well conceived as it's directing, Playing to main plot points, but also leaving in Plot Holes, The script while enjoyable and fun still could've done well from a final Polish, The directing's only flaw was the Final Fight Scene, I won't lie I wanted more, you wanted more, hell even James Marsters wanted more, he risked life and limb to get the final fight filmed and it was mostly cut, that is pretty bad. The directing and writing side of the review are probably the worst asset of the film and yet i still enjoyed both of them, mind you i am angered that they haven't released a proper restored cut, i still enjoyed the film.
SCORE: Bryan Tyler's Score is Perfect, memorable tunes, nerve shaking music to my favorite scene of the entire film(Goku's Kamehameha) Bryan is all 5 stars on this one.
FAITHFULNESS: Now I am reviewing this as a film, and i understand a lot of people cling to the more physical nature of the faithfulness of the film, but there's also metaphorical faithfulness. It is faithful to the heart and design of the Dragonball franchise, and Goku's Final Battle hair was perfect transition of the original Manga look. I have to say i see much faithfulness in this, but also much adaptation. I see this film as being an alternate Universe, Dragonball would be the 616 universe, DBE would be the Ultimate Universe, that's how i see it. The film is faithful more to the manga then the anime, for ex: Oozaru's size in the film was modeled after his Size in the Manga being not that of a Ape that could play with a full sized Optimus Prime like an action figure, but more of a ten or twelve foot pissed off ape. The final Gi was beautiful, and the aura and Ki blast were epically beautiful. I see a lot of thought and consideration as well as trusting the words of Akira Toriyama who had said something akin to "At first when i heard about the new direction i was a bit taken aback, but the more and more i thought about it, i became very intrigued and interested in the idea." Mr. Toriyama also serves as Executive Producer of the Film.
MESSAGE: This film has a well unseen message, it's the classic Super Hero Origin, Coming of age tale and how it does that is amazing, the message is simple: "You must have faith in who you are!" Watching this film was one of those moments for me, I loved every second of it and really felt attatched to it's theme and it's message and really found inspiration in it.
OVERALL FILM REVIEW:
I loved this film, from beginning to end, I know I'm going to get slammed for it but I simply don't care, this is a Film I've been waiting on since i was a little 2nd Grader and i was amazed and astounded by the Film and it's nature that it will forever be in my heart a classic film, no matter what anyone says, Call it a guilty pleasure, i don't care. This is a film that will live on in my heart forever, no matter whether or not it get's rebooted, I loved the film and I'm sure some others out there agree that this Alternate Universe Dragon Ball tale is worth watching. my final grade on it is an easy 4/5 Stars
Reviews Coming Soon:
Punisher War Zone
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