Dragonball Evolution DVD Review

Dragonball Evolution DVD Review

Giving the popular Japanese manga and anime series a live-action makeover is a big undertaking. For that, "Dragonball Evolution" deserves a bit of leeway. Including the pointy hair alone should get them an "A" for effort. And the ultra-critial pubescent male fanbase gave the movie hell prior to even seeing it, but to be honest. It wasn't all that bad...

The original "Dragonball" graphic novel series appeared in Japan in 1984, and went on to become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 150 million volumes sold and successfully spinning off into countless anime features, TV versions and videogames. Aiming to tap into a ready-made market, Fox did its best--and produced a fun movie that did homage the the property. It was well worth watching just to see how they would handle the cross-over from anime to movie.

The prologue rapidly outlines details of an ancient battle for the soul of planet Earth by Lord Piccolo (James Marsters) and his beastly cohort, Oozaru (Ian Whyte) -- a strange clash the world has somehow forgotten along with the world's saviors.

Our story begins 2,000 years later on the 18th birthday of Goku (Justin Chatwin) as he undergoes a daily ritual of martial-arts training with his feisty grandfather, Gohan (Randall Duk Kim). Chatwin does a good job as our hero--even pulling off the pointy hair. The martial arts scenes were well performed, and fun to watch. Especially the no contact fight against multiple high school bullies.

In honor of Goku's coming of age, Gohan presents the youth with a shining dragonball orb, revealing the heirloom's history and wish-granting power if united with the six other existing dragonballs.

Goku has other maturing experiences on his mind though,and brushes off a birthday dinner with his grandfather to attend a party thrown by comely coed Chi Chi (Jamie Chung).

Meanwhile, Gohan is attacked by Lord Piccolo and his sexpot companion, Mai ("Heroes" thesp Eriko), who are on their own mission to collect the seven dragonballs. With his dying breath, Gohan directs his grandson to enlist Master Roshi (Chow Yun-fat) to help him gather the seven balls himself before an impending solar eclipse occurs.

The movie turns into a quest at this point, with Goku enlisting fellow travelers along the way: Emmy Rossum's belligerent Bulma, Joon Park's cocky Yamcha, and Chow providing both Yoda-like wisdom and lusty comic relief.

The film climaxes with a surprise character twist for Goku that will bug most purists, but yet works for the movie.

A 20th Century Fox release and presentation, in association with Dune Entertainment III, of a Star Overseas production, in association with Ingenious Film Partners, Big Screen Prods. Produced by Stephen Chow. Executive producers, Akira Toriyama, Tim Van Rellim. Co-producers, Rodney Liber, Rich Thorne. Directed by James Wong. Screenplay, Ben Ramsey, based on the graphic novel series "Dragonball" by Akira Toriyama, original manga published by Shonen Jump.

Goku - Justin Chatwin
Bulma - Emmy Rossum
Chi Chi - Jamie Chung
Lord Piccolo - James Marsters
Yamcha - Joon Park
Mai - Eriko
Gohan - Randall Duk Kim
Sifu Norris - Ernie Hudson
Roshi - Chow Yun-fat
Carey Fuller - Texas Battle
Seki - Megumi Seki
Oozaru - Ian Whyte

Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009
Run Time: 85 minutes

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