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Dragonball: Evolution (2009)

Justin Chatwin , James Marsters , James Wong  |  PG |  DVD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Yun-Fat Chow, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung
  • Directors: James Wong
  • Writers: Akira Toriyama, Ben Ramsey
  • Producers: Akira Toriyama, Jose Ludlow, Rich Thorne, Rodney Liber, Stephen Chow
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00260HH3K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,397 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dragonball: Evolution" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on one of the most popular Japanese manga series of all time, Dragonball: Evolution follows a young warrior on an epic adventure to discover his destiny...and save the world from the forces of darkness. For his eighteenth birthday, mild-mannered Goku is given a mystical Dragonball, one of only seven in existence, which combine to grant a perfect wish to whoever possesses them. But an ancient warlord named Piccolo has escaped eternal imprisonment and is on his own quest to gather the Dragonballs. Goku must enlist the help of his friends - and the power of his evolving martial arts skills - to defeat Piccolo before it's too late! Packed with spectacular visual effects, high-flying action, and over an hour of hard-hitting extras, Dragonball: Evolution Z-Edition brings the legend to life like never before!

Co-produced by Hong Kong legend Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle), Dragonball Evolution is an agreeable if low-wattage live action adaptation of the iconic manga and anime series Dragon Ball. Director James Wong fuses the series’ fantasy-based characters and devices with a somewhat lackluster storyline involving average teen Goku (Justin Chatwin), who breaks from his wholesale pining for classmate Chi-Chi (Jamie Chung) to that he’s at the center of an intergalactic search for the all-powerful Dragonballs by evil warlord Piccolo (Buffy’s James Marsters). With the help of master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat, who backburners his stoic screen image in favor of some God of Gamblers/Once a Thief-level hamminess), Goku develops his fighting skills to take on Piccolo and save the Earth. The film’s abundance of martial arts should please younger and less discerning viewers, but its hackneyed dialogue and sluggish pace (especially in the fight scenes, which stutter where they should flow) may disappoint longtime fans of the book and television adaptations. The CGI effects, which labor mightily to reproduce the source material’s eye-popping look, also fall short, though the cast is game, especially Marsters and Chow. -- Paul Gaita

Stills from Dragonball: Evolution (Click for larger image)


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
100 of 111 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dragonball Evolution Worst Movie EVER! May 27, 2009
I have been a fan of Dragonball for years. I have the anime from Dragonball to Dragonball GT. But after seeing this so called movie I felt apart of my childhood destoryed within a hour and 30 minutes. So where do I begin? Well first, the Story was a mess there was little to nothing about Dragonball in it, and the pace felt rushed. There was no time for any plot development, or character development. Basically You meet Goku, then Bulma, Roshi, Yamacha and then final battle. So you can't get to know the characters, and understand why they are on this quest to collect all 7 Dragonballs before Piccolo. Also, it felt Fox was using other material from other famous movies and cartoon shows. Films like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, ans some materical from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Plus the movie never explain som important factors, for example, how does Piccolo escape his imprisonment, how does he hook up with Mai, How can Mai shape shift, Why does Piccolo need the Dragonball and so on. Second problem with this movie is the actors. Poorly casted, and they poorly portray their characters. For example; Justin Chatwin makes Goku sound and act like Robbie (played by Chatwin) in War of the Worlds. He does want to take on this mission to save the world, complains all the time and tries to hit on girls. Please if you have see the manga or anime you know Goku isn't like that at all. He stand for good and justice and all the heroic stuff; many Main characters stand for. Thrid, the speical effects look like some thing for the late 80s or early 90s. I can tell you used guide wires and the Kai or engery waves looked fake. I mean come on Look at Iron Man when Tony shots the glass in his lab they looked more realist then what you see in this movie. Read more ›
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72 of 83 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT Dragonball at all!!! May 22, 2009
Everything in this movie is RUSHED RUSHED RUSHED!!!

All the characters are REDUCED to stereotyical americanized cliches!
Goku is a emo whiner and trade the Ki blast of light energy for airbending puffs of smoke.
Bulma is a gung-ho type that screams Lara Croft.
Roshi turned less of his usual perverted self into more bashful.
Yamcha is a surfer dude like moron.
And Piccolo is a Star wars Sith!
Oozaru is 8ft instead of 80ft!! (I walked out of the theater angry because of that)
And all the actors reek!

The fighting is sloppy. The writing is garbage. The Directing is beyond terrible.
There are many rip-offs (Spiderman,Star Wars,Avatar TLA,Matrix)
This has the name Dragonball on it but don't expect anything of the sort! It's a DISCRACE!!! Who ever gives 5 stars likes cheesy crappy movies.

AVOID THIS FILM at all costs it's a big waste of money!!!!!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Well, Chow Yun-Fat is in it, anyway... September 22, 2009
Being unfamiliar with the graphic novels, anime, or video games that have made the Dragonball saga a world-wide sensation, I viewed "Dragonball: Evolution" with an open mind, hoping to see the kind of frenetic martial arts, magic, and humor I had enjoyed in "Mortal Kombat", a few years back. Well..."Mortal Kombat" this ain't, and despite the presence of legendary "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star, Chow Yun-Fat (who must have needed the paycheck), I can't recommend this turkey to anyone over the age of 4!

The plot is confusing; thousands (or 2,000) years ago, an insane demon lord, Piccolo (if somebody named me that, I'd be pretty mad, too), and his evil right-hand demon, Ozaru, nearly destroyed the world, until he was bound within the earth by seven sorcerors who gave their lives creating the mystical Dragonball orbs that focused their energies. Now, with a 'blood moon' total solar eclipse approaching, Piccolo (an unrecognizable James Marsters) is somehow free (how he accomplished that isn't explained), and gathering up the Dragonballs (which, together, according to legend, will allow the possessor the fulfillment of one 'perfect' wish). He plans to use it to release Ozaru, and finish what he started, before (uh, if any wish would be granted, why not simply WISH the job to be finished?)

Meanwhile, in true "Karate Kid" fashion, young Goku (Justin Chatwin) is being trained by his Asian grandfather (Randall Duk Kim) martial arts, and harnassing The Force (oops, I mean, his Ki). Goku's past is unknown to him (to be revealed on his 18th birthday), and to celebrate the birthday, Grandpa gives him a Dragonball (which flashes images of Ozaru to him).
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73 of 87 people found the following review helpful
Since 2002, me and many other Dragonball fans around the world have feverishly anticipated the release of a live action adaptation of one of the most beloved anime franchises the world over.

The idea of a live action Dragonball movie brings so much potential to the table, and really changes the perspective of film making in bringing an anime to life, and bringing fantasy to life in a whole new way. This should have been something we have never seen before, it should have been aw-inspiring, captivating, and capturing the very essence of the Dragonball series that so many people have grown up with and come to expect.

Sadly, Dragonball Evolution is perhaps one of the worst movies I have ever laid my eyes on. Not only is this movie a wretched failure from a "fan" point of view since I am a fan of the material, but also as someone who loves and watches movies, and pays attention to Hollywood.

Within the last two years, we have seen some truely great films including. The Dark Knight, Iron Man, No Country for Old Men, Transformers, There Will Be Blood, Slumdog Millionaire, and many many more that would take up too much of this review.

With Dragonball Evolution, it takes all of the high calbur oscar-worthy/winning acting, and high grade special effects and production values, and pretty much takes it out with one destructive "air-bending" Ka-Me-Ha-Me-Ha(a little inside joke on the movie).

The movie is so out of touch with its source material, this movie can hardly be called "Dragonball". Outside of name-sake(or Marque value) such as Dragonballs, Goku, Bulma, Yamcha, Shenlong, Ma-fu-ba(sealing technique for Piccolo), Piccolo, Grampa Gohan, Mai, Chi Chi, Master Roshi, Oozaru, and the Ka-Me-Ha-Me-Ha.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh
It was a descent movie but it was so far from the story line they should have just named the movies something else and this would have been 5 stars.
Published 19 hours ago by kyle anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 5 days ago by 1
1.0 out of 5 stars Kaaaamaaahaamaaa ...Cough! Cough! Choke!!!
Not even worth a star. Ha! Ha! Such a sadly made movie. WHY?!!! They had the opportunity to make an incredible movie and dropped the ball, LOL! Read more
Published 7 days ago by D. Dural
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 26 days ago by Bill Miller
1.0 out of 5 stars avoid this movie!
I saw this movie for the first time on dvd when it came out few years ago. Worst movie of the 21st century. The plot is horrible and the acting is worse than a kindergarten play. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars good one
kids like it
Published 1 month ago by annette
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun Movie
Call me out of touch but I still loved this movie even though it didn't follow the true Dragonballz. It's a movie to entertain showing how good triumphs over evil at the end. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Shunyata13
1.0 out of 5 stars should not be a Dragon ball movie
If this was the same movie without the Dragon ball on it people whould just forget about it a not care but they had be called Dragon ball. 1. Where is kurrin ? Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Stokes
1.0 out of 5 stars the Chinese version back in the 90's (i forget what year it was) Was...
No, just no, the Chinese version back in the 90's (i forget what year it was) Was 100x's better then this piece of crap and they didn't have the rights to it and called it... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Douglas R Sweet
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish
There are no words to describe how bad this movie is.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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Topic From this Discussion
how many people hated dragon ball evolution
I downloaded and watched it with my fellow DBZ girlfriends instead of going to the movies cause we knew it was going to be bad, of course it was lower than my lowest expectation.
I literally cried when it was over (which made me feel stupid). Had to watch a few of the early original Dragonball... Read More
Nov 9, 2012 by erin |  See all 2 posts
Never let someone who doesn't know jack about your series direct a movie...
I think Dragonball was too wacky a series to be a successful live action adaptation. I agree that having a fan or the original creator direct the film would be a better course of action than Hollywood hacks with more money than sense!
Adaptation is a rather tricky undertaking even the best of... Read More
Jun 4, 2010 by Harmonybee |  See all 3 posts
I heard that rumor in 2009 but nothing since then. I hope its true, though, because a good Dragonball movie would be an action feast!
Mar 14, 2011 by Daniel Armour |  See all 7 posts
Is there gonna be a 2-disc version of this movie?
I do not know either. But I would not care if they add more footage, because in my personal opinion, adding more of the same garbage will just make it stink more.
May 27, 2009 by VICTOR Cabrejos |  See all 4 posts
If Dragonball Evolution Went Out Of Print For Good
If they would have stopped cutting the budget for this film, it would've been longer, and the special effects way better.
To be honest if people loved "Thor" so much with the plot being so different (not in someone else's body, not mean, etc.) then "Evolution" deserved and... Read More
May 16, 2013 by PlanetHell |  See all 3 posts
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