Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dragonball Evolution (2009)

It's time for a look at one of the worst theatrical movies out there that's based on anime. This movie (very, very) loosely follows the events of the original Dragonball series, minus one very important character: Oolong. And by that I mean Kuririn. Okay, it doesn't really follow Dragonball much at all. And considering it was relying ENTIRELY on fans of Dragonball to turn out and watch it...

During the intro, we see our first glimpse of the villain, the nefarious Piccolo. He's played by James Marsters, best known as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And by that I mean literally, because he sure did, uh, spend a lot of time on Buffy.

And here is our first glimpse of 17 year old Gokou, the heroic hero of the story. He's played by... that cool guy who played Pippin in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, proving once and for all that Pippin' ain't easy.

Here we see Gokou sparring with his grandpa (read: the guy who found him as a boy... at least, in the show... the background in the movie probably differs a little). At least the PS4 visuals in the background are sweet.

Grandpa Gohan (no relation to Gokou's future son Gohan) has some Mr. Miyagi vibes going on here as he tells Gokou to be himself and stuff like that. He sounds like a chapter from a self help booklet!

Rock and roll music~! plays as Gokou drives up to his high school. Why is it that high school (and college, for that matter) always has to be accompanied by rock and roll during establishing shots in movies? You can tell these movies were made by older people, because there's no way any young people would think that this is an accurate depiction of the school experience.

If you want that, have Wu-Tang Clan playing in the background while kids duck and cover to avoid all the gunfire.

Next thing we know, Gokou is confronted by Young Wayne Brady. At least, that's who it looks like. He and his jock buddies push Gokou around and call him "Geeko". The scoundrels!

Elsewhere in the world, Piccolo is looming about ominously., this is one high-tech school. I wonder what universe this takes place in, because last I checked our schools are lucky if they can even afford to have a floor.

Gokou is staring intensely at babes in his class. Because if there's any good way to get girls to notice you, it's to stare intensely at them while slowly taking a bite from the giant piece of bread you're toting around.

Gokou notices Chi Chi, vastly overdressed for school. Wait a minute... suddenly there's a different girl sitting next to Gokou! This one has dark hair. The hell? I'm on to you, movie!

Now Gokou is really checking out Chi Chi. "All these other girls... they got nothin' on yoooou" he sings. "Nuh-nothin' on you!"

Next we're drawn into Gokou's fantasy world. My God! Look at her devouring that strawberry!

The teacher interrupts the proceedings. "I'll thank you to keep your hands above your desk in my class!" he says.

Gokou runs into Chi Chi in the hallway and awkwardly stumbles over his words for a prolonged span of time. This, naturally, leads to her inviting him to her house for a party she's having.

Gokou arrives at the party, and - of course - rock and roll is playing loudly over the scene. ...wait, THIS is Chi Chi's house? It's a castle! No sign of the Ox King, because in movieworld, parents don't exist.

A gang of jocks pick a fight with Gokou for no apparent reason. I don't get why everyone seems to have such a beef with the guy, but this enables him to make fools out of all of them with his lightning speed. Then there's a boss fight with Wayne Brady, but that proves no challenge for Gokou either. This is just like 96% of Dragonball GT!

Onward to the party, where Chi Chi (the prettiest girl there) gives the guy she just met her full, undivided attention and they have lots of time to hit it off and get to know each other without anyone interrupting them. This is so realistic!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch! Grandpa Gohan is just kinda hanging out, probably wondering where that darn Gokou's gone off to now.

Of course, the bastardly Piccolo sneaks into the basement, where he proceeds to have sex with Buffy until the house collapses.

Unfortunately, Grandpa Gohan got buried in the ensuing wreckage. Next time maybe you'll keep it in your pants, Buffy! The man's no good!

Gokou gets back from the party and finds Grandpa in his final moments. Grandpa gives him more Self Help Book type advice, and it's a sad moment.

Working tirelessly through the night, Gokou buries him. Piccolo has crossed the WRONG MAN!

Gokou is then ambushed by... Ramona Flowers? No, that isn't Ramona Flowers. That's Bulma. Ohhh yes.

The movie just went from sad to hot in the span of about a minute. Ohhhhh yes. So much pout.

Bulma is looking for the dragonballs, and it just so happens that Gokou has one. Piccolo is also looking for them, which is why he caused a Buffy-quake. It's very complicated, you see.

Next we're introduced to Muten Roshi, best known for being the perverted old man who trains Gokou. He isn't quite old here, but he's definitely on the perverted side.


Roshi cops a feel, because that's what he does. Bulma then backs him off AT GUNPOINT. I've seen drunken hobos in coffee shops have more luck with the ladies!

Our heroes fall into a pit, only to be found by... Yamcha? It seems he built this pit to catch unwary travelers. He built this pit... on rock and roll.

Bulma turns on the charm in an effort to get Yamcha to help them, but he wants them to pay up. Basically, Yamcha is Lone Star.

After a few hours of hanging out in the pit, Muten Roshi flies out and confronts Yamcha. Wait... he could fly all this time and he didn't get them out? What the hell?

Stuff happens, and Yamcha ends up joining the party as they hunt for more balls. Speaking of balls, Yamcha has no shortage of them in this movie as he hits on Bulma shamelessly. He also says "bro" a lot.

Meanwhile, Piccolo is off somewhere being menacing. This is a good time for me to point out one of the huge, huge flaws with this movie. They got James Marsters to play the villain, and he's one of the best actors out there when it comes to dialogue. So of course they give him almost no lines in the whole movie. What the hey?

Fast forward a bit, as Gokou battles slime monsters that reform when sliced in half. Having seen Terminator 2, Gokou knows that the only way to stop something that re-forms is to knock it into a lava pit. Luckily there's a convenient pit of lava nearby!

Elsewhere, Chi Chi is fighting Piccolo's goon, a strangely Snooki-esque lady. She manages to get a drop of Chi Chi's blood and flee the scene. No doubt they're planning some bizarre voodoo shit. If Chi Chi had just swept the leg, none of this would have happened. Everyone who has seen Karate Kid knows that victory is assured if you sweep the leg.

Bulma and Yamcha have some hang-time and almost make out. And just a couple scenes ago she couldn't stand the guy!

Speaking of which, Gokou and Chi Chi get together at this point too. Romance is in the air! Muten Roshi, unfortunately, doesn't get together with anyone because Oolong the pig-man isn't in this movie. Now we see why: America can't handle man-on-Oolong.

I have nothing to say here except that this is the most overpoweringly hot picture I took from the entire movie. Little do our heroes know... an evil Chi Chi clone is on the loose!

I stand corrected... THIS is the most overpoweringly hot picture I was able to take from the movie. If I were Gokou I'd see about making a non-evil Chi Chi clone and see if the Chi Chies were down for, you know, a three-way. Instead he just charges in and wails on the one he thinks is evil. Of course, it's the real Chi Chi, and she gets knocked out.

Egad! Evil Chi Chi turns out to be Snooki Goon, and makes her escape after shooting Gokou. Also, she got all of the dragonballs. And Chi Chi is knocked out. I need to repeat that, because the movie completely forgets about it for the next half hour.

Next thing we know, Gokou is in heaven, where he has no worries and can see Grandpa Gohan again.

So Master Roshi revives him... by HITTING HIM WITH A KAMEHAMEHA. No, I'm not kidding. Suddenly, the main energy attack of the DBVerse has healing properties. I guess if you just really want it to heal, it heals.

Roshi: "I did it! I revived Gok- whoa, look at those!"
Yamcha: "Back off, bro! She's my girl!"
Bulma: "I'm not your girl!"
Yamcha: "Not yet, bro!"

Course, Gokou takes one look around at this crew and wishes he could go back to being dead. Thanks, Roshi. Thanks a lot.

Piccolo and Snooki await. I'll say this on the movie's behalf: The visuals are really cool in the way a live-action version of an animated series should be.

Piccolo uses the dragonballs. He's going to become immortal unless our heroes stop him.

Wait! There they are, and there's a quick beam exchange here that is admittedly cool and DBZesque.

Gokou has arrived, wearing the trademark outfit. This was no doubt met with raucous cheers in theaters across the nation.

Next is something I'm going to gloss over since it didn't go anywhere. According to legend, Piccolo has a minion named Oozaru. Gokou was expecting Oozaru to show up here, but instead, an eclipse occured and Gokou became Oozaru. OOZARU WAS GOKOU ALL ALONG!

"What a tweest!"

Of course, Oozaru is the Great Ape from DBZ, aka the form where Saiyans go into a berserk rage. Gokou overcomes it and manages to turn back into his regular self after a very brief rampage. was kinda pointless. Either way, the real battle is now on!

Spike Piccolo is infuriated! ...I assume, because he doesn't exactly show any emotion or say very much.

Unf...oh God, Bulma...

Gokou and Piccolo do battle in the air! This last battle manages to be somewhat DBZ-esque. The movie needed more of this.

"KAI-OH-KEN!" ...wait, wrong battle. I wonder if this guy watched episodes of DBZ to prepare for this role. And if so, I wonder if he quietly thanked the powers that be that he wasn't starring in Love Hina Evolution.

Gokou and Piccolo gear up for a big beam-war. Piccolo's energy is red and Gokou's is blue... of course.

The beam war is ON! It's far too short, though, and Gokou triumphs in a few seconds. These things need to be milked for at least a minute or two!

Still... kind of cool in a way. But I think it's safe to say that the Dragonball universe doesn't really translate well to live action. So they'll probably make more of them. I wonder if Raditz will be in the next one. Played by Elijah Wood!

Gokou stands tall after blasting Piccolo out of the sky.

During the chaos, Master Roshi got killed. But that's no problem, because our heroes have the 'balls. Gokou wishes him back to life while Bulma and Yamcha look on and regret that their plans of riches and fame are out the window.

There's Shenron. Unfortunately he doesn't do the "Your wish has been granted" thing, he just drive-by ressurects Roshi and then speeds off in two seconds of screentime. I guess he had something more important to do than The One Thing He Does. That or the CGI budget was lacking.

Roshi after being impolitely yanked out of the afterlife, where he was rolling in the hay with his dream woman: Sailor Moon. HAW. Have a nice day, Roshi!

Cut to Chi Chi being all gorgeous. I guess she recovered from being knocked out by Gokou? Boy, they really forgot about her.

Gokou shows up and she furiously makes out with him. You know, maybe he should apologize or something for knocking her out. Perhaps I was mistaken in my assumption that she was a real character with thoughts and stuff.

Well, he does apologize after a minute. She's all "I'm tough" or something stupid like that and then they go have hot unmarried 17 year old sex. the air!

And of course, Yamcha ran off with Bulma, who would later leave him for Vegeta. Anywho, during the credits...

...we see that Piccolo is alive and well. SEQUEL TIME!

I don't know. They could make a much better movie than this with the people they have on board for it, but I doubt they will. I guess we'll see eventually. Bad, bad movie... but I was entertained.


  1. You know what this movie needs? Ox King.

  2. As I recall it, when Gokou showed up in the trademark uniform, the theater... groaned. All seven people in it.

  3. I watched this in Japan when I first got there, and having the dialogue in a foreign language I half-understood made it a lot better. By the way, seeing the whole movie in five minutes like this reminds me that in that situation, Gokou would've chosen to revive his grandpa instead.

  4. This looks like one of those "So bad it's good movies."