by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
BLURAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Justin Chatwin as GOKU
Yun-Fat Chow as MASTER ROSHI
Emmy Rossum as BULMA
Jamie Chung as CHI CHI
James Marsters as LORD PICCOLO
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: James Wong
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Goku (Justin Chatwin) has been trained for years in the martial arts by his grandfather. When he turns 18, his grandfather gives him a rare Dragonball which, when brought together with the other six in existence, can grant the holder one perfect wish. Soon, Goku (or, more accurately, his Dragonball) is targeted by the evil Lord Piccolo, who has been in a mystic prison for 2,000 years. Piccolo wants the Dragonballs so he can release an ancient evil on the world. Goku joins with a group of friends to combat Piccolo and keep the Dragonballs safe.
WHAT I LIKED
When I first reviewed “Dragonball: Evolution” in its theatrical run, I compared it to the video-game-turned-movie bomb “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.” However, after watching them both again on Blu-ray, I contend that even with all its flaws, “Dragonball: Evolution” is a superior film.
To really appreciate “Dragonball: Evolution,” you need to have a pre-knowledge of the original magna series or at least some of its other incarnations. Fans should appreciate seeing the characters they know come to life on screen. Even Goku’s hair gets its own story arc, even if Justin Chatwin is a bit puny to be playing him for the live-action epic.
The cast, while somewhat forgettable, does a decent job. Yun-Fat Chow seems to be slumming a bit in this movie, but Emmy Rossum and Jamie Chung are both very easy on the eyes and come across well as their characters. The real catch to this film is the wild martial arts and the pretty well-done special effects. The CGI is used quite a bit, but it rarely breaks down and actually keeps the film at a decent quality for home-viewing purposes.
My kids have already seen the movie a couple times, and they do enjoy it each time. It’s made for the cartoon-watching crowd and feels like a modern version of the old “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movies, which can be fun for anyone not looking for a serious film.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The biggest stumbling block I had with this movie was the story and the characters. For as simple as things are in the film, the plot seemed needlessly complicated. Even after watching it a second time on Blu-ray, there were parts that were a bit hard to follow, mostly because they didn’t make logical sense against the rest of the story. For example, the character of Bulma (Emmy Rossum) looks about 22 years old, yet she has a Ph.D. in Applied Physics and invents awesome gadgets like a Dragonball locator that morphs into a motorcycle.
The cast seems a bit crowded, which results from the filmmakers trying to play homage to the characters from the original source material. I appreciate this respect for the fans, but too many of these characters just muddle up the works.
The Blu-ray package comes with a second disc for digital copy to a portable media device.
On the Blu-ray disc itself, there are some cool special features, including “Gozu’s Workout,” which offers instructions on some martial arts moves by the stunt coordinators. There’s also some deleted scenes, a music video, a gag reel and two featurettes from Fox Movie Channel, one eight-minute “Making of a Scene” bit that shows how Chi Chi fought herself, and the other a half-hour episode of “Life After Film School” with Justin Chatwin.
Finally, for those into the immersive and interactive aspects of a Blu-ray disc, there’s “Goku’s Quest” game which allows the viewers to collect Dragonballs throughout the movie.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the original source material and young boys who want to know kung fu.