- Ethan’s Score : ZERO/10
There comes a time in a film aficionado’s life where he sees something so utterly inept, ill-advised and unenjoyable. So
mething so flat-out puzzlingly bad that you spend hours wondering “How did that happen? How could something turn out that bad?” And my friends I have come across that movie, and it’s name is Dragonball Evolution.
This “film” (which I would rather refer to as a cinematic crime against humanity) is of course an adaptation of the popular Japanese-anime series, Dragonball (or Dragonball Z). Now, I should tell you something, I’m a fan of the show. Or at least I was when I was a kid. I had plenty of action figures and would go over to my friends’ houses to play with them as we created dozens of scenarios for epic hyper-kung fu battles. So would turning off my film critic mode and setting into 9-year old mode help me enjoy this particular cinematic abomination? No, probably not. And this is a major problem. It’s simply not fun. The action scenes are so dull, cluttered and poorly shot that nobody could get any enjoyment out of it. Sure, there’s copious amounts of slow-motion (that would make Zack Snyder blush) but after it a while it just settles into self-parody, just like the rest of the movie.
This is one of these movies were plot or character development is not the least bit important and is just modified for whatever status it needs to reach the conclusion. Characters who meet and antagonize each other become best friends who go on dangerous quests together in the matter of five seconds. And why? Is there any believability to that? Hell no. These characters just need to do these things so that we can get quicker to the CGI.
The running time of this is so short (the cut I saw was well under 90 minutes) that it allows absolutely no breathing room for anything. The plot just jumps around from ridiculous point to ridiculous point because it has nowhere to go. If anything this movie at times feels more like a collection of skits strung together to form a Saturday morning cartoon. Trying to find a cohesive narrative in this is like trying to find Nicole Richie at a Burger King.
Seeing this makes me appreciate the Wachowski Brothers’ vibrant and visionary Speed Racer from last year even more. In that it established its cartoon logic and never abandoned it. It created a living, breathing world. And it actors who committed to its style and gave strong performances. When this tries to American-ize Dragon Ball and set it a high school with mostly American teenagers, it’s embarrassingly bizarre. It wants to somehow make this cool and relevant to the text-messaging drones while making something that only a sugar-hopped four year old could enjoy.
I’m glad I got the opportunity to warn various people about not letting their nostalgia take over them on April 8th. You thought Piccolo was cool when you were a kid? Well then go see this and watch him doing nothing until the last ten minutes of the movie. You thought the kinetic action sequences from the show were the bee’s knees when you were a kid? Well then watch awful CGI figures forming what looks like an ugly fireworks show.
My one last point about this, how in the hell did it cost 100 million dollars? There isn’t a single visually pleasing or well-done thing in this movie. It all looks like a television pilot. If Fox honestly spent all that money, then they deserve to go bankrupt. Like the big three auto companies, when you produce a crappy product, you lose. It’s as simple as that. And if they continue to think of movies like this, then they need an artistic bailout.