Dragonball: Evolution (film)

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Dragonball: Evolution (ドラゴンボール エボリューション, Doragonbōru Eboryūshon) (produced under the tentative title Dragonball) is a 2009 American live action film adaptation of Dragon Ball produced by 20th Century Fox. The story centers around the adventures of the lead character, Goku, on his 18th birthday. The film began development in 2002 and was directed by James Wong and produced by Stephen Chow. It was released in Japan on March 13, 2009, the United Kingdom on April 8, 2009, and North America on April 10, 2009. Actor Justin Chatwin was cast as Goku and James Marsters portrays Lord Piccolo, the antagonist of the film. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 24, 2009 for the Asian market and July 28, 2009 for North America and Europe[3].


[edit] Synopsis

The story follows Goku, a young man adopted and trained by the martial arts master Gohan. One evening, while Goku is at a party of his high school crush, Chi Chi, Gohan is attacked by Lord Piccolo, who is searching for one of the Promethium Orbs. Goku returns and his adoptive grandfather dies in his arms, but not before being told to search for his own master, Roshi, and a cryptic warning relating to the eclipse, the Promethium Orbs, Piccolo, and his lost servant, Oozaru.

As Goku sets out to begin his journey, he encounters Bulma Briefs, who had her own Promethium Orb stolen from her and is hoping to find the others and use them for research and making a scientific breakthrough. They head to Roshi's together, who in turn joins them to help them find the Promethium Orbs before Lord Piccolo does.

At the Stone Temple, Goku, Bulma, and Roshi discover that Chi Chi is a fighter who often enters the tournaments. With Gohan's and Roshi's Promethium Orbs, they seek out their third Promethium Orb in the desert, but fall into the trap of a bandit named Yamcha, whom Roshi convinces to join them by telling him the Promethium Orbs can make him rich.

After Piccolo and his servant, Mai, find three Promethium Orbs (one of which Mai stole from Capsule Corporation), Lord Piccolo uses his blood to create monsters which he sends after Goku, Bulma, Roshi, and Yamcha as they enter a volcano where their third Promethium Orb is located. Using the monsters' bodies as a bridge to get across the lava, Goku gets the Promethium Orb.

With little time before the eclipse, Roshi learns the Mafuba, an attack that will seal Lord Piccolo away in a containment vessel, but will deplete the user's life force. In the tournament at the Stone Temple, Mai scratches Chi Chi and takes a sample of her blood. After Roshi teaches Goku the Kamehame-Ha, Mai disguises herself as Chi Chi and steals Goku's Promethium Orbs and takes them to Lord Piccolo.

Goku, Bulma, Roshi, and Yamcha go to face Lord Piccolo, who now has all seven Promethium Orbs and attempts to summon Shenron, the Eternal Dragon. However, Roshi stops him at the last moment. Piccolo informs Goku that he is Oozaru, and at the eclipse Goku transforms into Oozaru the Destroyer. Roshi uses the Mafuba in an attempt to trap Lord Piccolo, but Lord Piccolo destroys the containment vessel and Roshi dies from using the Mafuba, but not before he gets through to Goku and returning him to his original form.

While Goku fights Lord Piccolo, Mai chases Bulma through a maze and is about to kill her and take her Promethium Orb when she is shot in the back and killed by Yamcha. Goku uses the power of both Goku and Oozaru to fight Lord Piccolo, and as Piccolo shoots a powerful energy wave at Goku, Goku hits him with a Kamehame-Ha and defeats him (somewhat mirroring his defeat in the anime).

Shenron as he appears in Dragonball: Evolution.

Goku summons Shenron and wishes Roshi back to life. The Promethium Orbs scatter, and so they must find them again. But first, Goku asks Chi Chi to marry him and they enter a sparring match.

In the middle of the credits, a scene is shown where a woman (whom Lord Piccolo and Mai earlier took a Promethium Orb from) is nursing Lord Piccolo, who survived the battle with Goku, back to health.

[edit] Cast

  • Justin Chatwin as Goku: Goku, considered uncool and unpopular at school, is in fact an extremely talented martial arts fighter who gets rigorous training from his grandfather, Gohan. A tragedy at home starts Goku's dangerous adventure where he must team up with trusty companions and fight powerful evil forces to find the remaining Promethium Orbs and save the world before it is too late.
  • Chow Yun-Fat as Roshi: Roshi, an elderly master who has an eye for the ladies and Hawaiin shirts, guides Goku on his epic quest to save Earth from the forces of darkness. As Roshi completes Goku's training, he helps unlock the secret of his past – and joins him in a quest to save the world.
  • Emmy Rossum as Bulma Briefs: Bulma Briefs is a beautiful scientist who knows what she wants – the Promethium Orb stolen from her father's company. Wielding a laser-guided, high-tech magnum pistol and a Promethium Orb Tracker, Bulma will do anything to retrieve the Promethium Orb which she thinks will supply an unlimited source of energy – and immense financial rewards.
  • James Marsters as Lord Piccolo: Lord Piccolo is an evil being determined to take over the world. With the coming of the eclipse and the possession of all seven Promethium Orbs, he has the power to destroy the planet.
  • Joon Park as Yamcha: A desert bandit that aids Goku and Bulma on their quest.[6] James Kyson Lee auditioned for the role.[7]
  • Eriko as Mai: She is a chief enforcer of Piccolo's and a shapeshifter.[6][8]
  • Randall Duk Kim as Gohan: The adoptive father and grandfather of Goku who teaches Goku everything he knows about martial arts.
  • Shavon Kirksey as Emi: A high school friend of Chi Chi. She is an original character created for the film.
  • Luis Arrieta as Weaver: A classmate and friend of Goku. He is an original character created for the film.[9]

[edit] Production

An early teaser poster bearing the original title Dragonball.

In March 2002, 20th Century Fox acquired the feature film rights to the Dragon Ball franchise. In June 2004, Ben Ramsey, who wrote The Big Hit, was paid $500,000 to adapt Dragon Ball Z.[10] In 2007, James Wong and Stephen Chow were announced as director and producer respectively, and the project was retitled Dragonball Evolution. Wong rewrote the script.[11] The first full color image of Justin Chatwin as Goku was released in the 24th issue of Weekly Young Jump.[12] Chow was a Dragon Ball fan, citing its "airy and unstrained story [which] leaves much room for creation", but explained he would only serve as producer because he believes that he should only direct stories he had created.[5] 87Eleven, the stunt performance company that worked on The Matrix and 300, is working on the film.[11] Ariel Shaw, who worked on Wong's entries in the Final Destination series and 300, is visual effects supervisor.[13] Robert MacLachlan, who also worked on Wong's Final Destination films, serves as cinematographer.[14]

Shooting began on December 3, 2007[15] in Mexico City, Mexico. Locations included the Universidad Tecnológica de México.[16] From January 2, 2008[16] the crew shot at Durango. The crew will move to Estado de México in March for some shots at Nevado de Toluca.[13] Shooting is also scheduled at Los Angeles, California.[17] In adapting the Dragon Ball manga, the futuristic cities were kept, however, the anthropomorphic creatures and talking animals (such as Turtle, Oolong and Puar) were dropped.[18] Many of the locations are very Oriental,[19] and are some Aztec influence too, particularly from their temples.[20] It was thought that Rossum would wear a blue wig to resemble her anime counterpart, but due to some promotional images, it was turned out that she would not be wearing a blue wig. Instead she will have her natural brown with a blue streak down the middle of her hair. Chatwin will not wear a wig as the director felt Chatwin's hair resembled Goku's.[19] A large amount of Dragonball Evolution was shot in an abandoned jeans factory, also located in Durango, Mexico.[21]

Dragonball: Evolution special effects are being done by Amalgamated Dynamics, while the visual effects are being done by Ollin Studios, Zoic Studios, and Imagine Engine. The film will also have the anime-style of fighting in Dragon Ball Z, such as Ki, energy waves, and auras.

On December 9, 2008, it was confirmed that the theme song would be "Rule" by Japanese pop icon Ayumi Hamasaki. The choice was because director James Wong wanted the film adaptation of a series born in Japan to be sung by a Japanese person and was particularly impressed with Hamasaki. "Rule" is being used as the theme song for every country's release.[22]

The film was originally slated to be named Dragonball, however, on December 10, 2008 a trailer was released using the name Dragonball: Evolution and Fox licensed the domain name "DragonballEvolutionMovie.com" indicating that the film had been renamed.[23][24][25]

[edit] Release

Dragonball: Evolution was initially scheduled to be released in North America on August 15, 2008, but moved to April 10, 2009 to allow time to do additional filming and post-production work. On November 11, 2008, it was formally announced that the film's release had been changed to April 8, 2009.[26]

Though an American film, Dragonball: Evolution was released in Japan on March 13, 2009, nearly a month before its American release.[27]

[edit] Merchandise

A film novelization written by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon, Dragonball: The Junior Novel, has been solicited by Viz Media with a February 2009 release date.[28] A 16 page sticker book based on the film, Dragonball: Evolution Sticker Book, is being published by Viz on February 3, 2009.[29] On January 19, 2009, Namco Bandai Games and 20th Century Fox announced that a PlayStation Portable video game based around the film titled Dragonball: Evolution would be released in Japan in March 2009, with a North American release to follow in April. The game will include all of the major characters from the film and feature various playing modes, including an Arcade mode for one-on-one combat, a Story mode in which players use Goku through the film events, a Mission mode where players attempt to complete specific tasks, and a Training mode for practicing fighting moves. It will also offer an Online Battle mode.

[edit] Reception

On its opening weekend in the United States, the film grossed $4,756,488 and ranking #8 at the box office.[30][31] As of June 3, 2009, its worldwide gross had reached $57,530,083.[32]

Thus far, Dragon Ball: Evolution has been received with overall negative reviews from critics. One of the frequently discussed elements based on the film's reception has been the dilemma of staying true to the manga and anime series. With major changes to the original story, the fans of the series and manga have had negative feelings. The film was praised for including the original characters such as Lord Piccolo, Goku, Roshi, and Chi-Chi, but at the same time bashed for changing them to a point where even the main protagonist is somewhat unrecognizable.

Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network describes the film as such: "In the end, it all boils down to one thing: this movie appeals to nobody. It was made for no one. People who aren't familiar with the Dragon Ball story at all will be so flabbergasted by what's happening that they will likely tell everyone they know that it's one of the worst movies they've ever seen. Fans who do know what the general story is will be furious at just how unbelievably badly they screwed this entire thing up. Kids are used to better writing than this in their weekday afternoon cartoons (although you may run into a kid who has never actually seen a movie before, and they might dig it until you show them another movie). It's a clunky, tiresome, badly executed, horribly written pile of shame that deserves no quarter. In short, it's as bad as the fans said it would be." [33]

TV Guide's Jeremy Wheeler probably expresses his emotions without hesitation, much like many Dragon Ball fans have across the world. Wheeler frankly says, "Just know there's a whole lot more great stuff out there than just what Evolution has in store for you."[34]

As of May 24, 2009, Rotten Tomatoes.com has the film rated at a low score of 13% on the "Tomatometer". Metacritic.com critics currently have the movie rated with a 45 out of 100, which is considered "average".

Variety's Russell Edwards notes that the film "doesn't take itself too seriously, but avoids campiness."[35]

Luke Thompson of E! Online referred to the film by saying, "Admittedly, it's never boring... but nor is it ever logical, coherent, rational, etc. It's fun in a train-wreck kind of way, and possibly makes sense to those who know the source, but recommending this to anyone else would be a bad idea."[36]

Slant Magazine's Rob Humanick considered the film "uninspired" and implausible with an "aimlessly hyperactive construction and complete lack of substance" and "cobbled-together FX fakery".[37]

Reviewing the film for Australia's ABC Radio National, Jason Di Rosso stated the film was "lacking the visual panache of recent graphic novel adaptations". He agreed the film was uninspired and also felt it had dull "high school movie banter" dialog and was "cliché-ridden".[38]

Alonso Duralde of MSNBC found the film to be "both entertainingly ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining" and noted that "kids will have such a blast that you can turn this movie into the gateway kung-fu drug that makes them want to watch the earlier work of Stephen Chow and Chow Yun-Fat."[39]

[edit] Rumored sequel

There are rumors of a sequel named Dragonball 2: Reborn. There is no scheduled released date, but it is said that James Marsters will reprise his role as Lord Piccolo and Vegeta will appear. Justin Chatwin, Eriko Tamura, Jamie Chung, and Emmy Rossum are rumored to reprise their roles as Goku, Mai, Chi Chi, and Bulma.[40] On IMDB, Jason Scott Lee is added as Tien Shinhan, Bill Goldberg as Nappa, Shaobo Qin as Krillin, Isaac Jin Solstein as Gohan, and Hiro Super as Raditz. Hiro Super will also write the film. James Kyson-Lee and Tatsuya Fujiwara are up to replace Joon Park as Yamcha. Matt Mullins is rumored to appear as Vegeta.[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51] James Wong is not going to direct the sequel. Dragonball: Evolution producer Stephen Chow and Takeshi Kitano are rumored to be directing the film.[52][53][54][55]

[edit] Rumored reboot

There is a new rumor that the film will be rebooted. It is currently untitled and has a release date of 2012 and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.[56][57][58]

[edit] Trivia

  • Even though this film is based on Dragon Ball, it dos not follow a storyline from the original series (ex: Goku being 18, Gohan being alive, and Oozaru and Lord Piccolo encountered during the same period). It does not even appear to be placeable in the storyline of Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z.

[edit] Comparison to Akira Toriyama's manga

Sub-article: Comparison to Akira Toriyama's manga

[edit] References

  1. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2009/DRGNB.php
  2. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2009/DRGNB.php
  3. http://www.amazon.com/Dragonball-Evolution-Justin-Chatwin/dp/B00260HH3K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1243001599&sr=8-1
  4. Chung goes live with 'Dragonball'. The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dragon Ball to become live-action film. China.org (December 15, 2007).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Simmons, Leslie. Rossum roars onto Dragonball Evolution cast. The Hollywood Reporter.
  7. Heroes Lee Auditions for Dragon Ball Z Movie. Anime News Network.
  8. All About Dragonball. IGN.com Movies.
  9. "Teto, el mejor amigo de Goku es Mexicano"
  10. Claude Brodesser. Ramsey rolls Dragonball Z. Variety.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Tatiana Siegel (November 13, 2007). Dragonball comes to bigscreen. Variety.
  12. First Color Image of Live-Action Dragonball's Goku. Anime News Network.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dragon Ball Z to Shoot in Durango, Mexico. SuperHeroHype.com.
  14. Credits & Awards. Robert MacLachlan.
  15. Domestic film: In production. The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. 16.0 16.1 First Dragon Ball Z Set Photos Online. SuperHeroHype.com (December 19, 2007).
  17. Leslie Simmons (December 19, 2007). Chow rolls to Fox for Dragonball. The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. Cesar Huerta (December 16, 2007). Filman Dragon Ball en escuela de Tlalpan (Spanish). El Universal.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Minerva Hernández (December 18, 2007). Justin es un Goku ‘nato’ (Spanish). El Diario.
  20. Cesar Huerta (December 19, 2007). Se suma a Dragon Ball. El Universal.
  21. Durango's non-traditional incentives - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety
  22. http://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/081210/gnj0812100505015-n2.htm
  23. Marshall, Rick. New ‘Dragonball Evolution’ Trailer Appears Online. MTV.
  24. Parfitt, Orlando. IGN Premieres Dragonball Trailer. IGN.
  25. Friestad, Jerry. Dragonball Movie Renamed. IncGamers.
  26. Live Action Dragonball Pushed Up to April 8 in US. Anime News Network.
  27. U.S. Dragonball Film Site Launches with Updated Trailer. Anime News Network.
  28. Dragon Ball: The Junior Novel. Barnes and Noble.
  29. Dragonball Evolution Sticker Book. Amazon.
  30. Dragonball Evolution (2009) - Weekend Box Office Results. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2009-04-13.
  31. Dragonball Evolution Opens at #8 with US$4.6 Million (Updated). Anime News Network (2009-04-12). Retrieved on 2009-04-12.
  32. Dragonball Evolution. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2009-04-13.
  33. Bertschy, Zac (2009-03-16). Review. Anime News Network. Retrieved on 2009-05-22.
  34. Wheeler, Jeremy. Dragonball: Evolution: Review. TV Guide. Retrieved on 2009-05-22.
  35. Edwards, Russell (2009-03-25). New Int'l. Release: Dragonball Evolution. Variety. Retrieved on 2009-04-12.
  36. Thompson, Luke (2009-04-09). Dragonball Evolution: A Surreal Mess. E! Online. Retrieved on 2009-04-11.
  37. Humanick, Rob (2009-04-10). Dragonball Evolution. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-04-11.
  38. Di Rosso, Jason (2009-04-10). Movietime - 10 April 2009 - Dragonball Evolution. Movie Time. ABC Radio National. Retrieved on 2009-04-11.
  39. Duralde, Alonso (2009-04-10). You’ll have a ball at ‘Dragonball Evolution’. MSNBC. Retrieved on 2009-04-18.
  40. Dragonball Reborn Movie Cast
  41. Dragonball Reborn on IMDB Pro
  42. Jason Scott Lee as Tien in Dragonball Reborn
  43. Jason Scott Lee on IMDB
  44. Shaobo Qin on IMDB
  45. Isaac Jin Solstein As Gohan in Dragonball Reborn?
  46. Isaac Jin Solstein on IMDB
  47. Hiro Super Is New Writer for Dragonball 2 Reborn?
  48. Hiro Super on IMDB
  49. Joon Park No Longer Yamcha? Tatsuya Fujiwara Takes the Role
  50. Matt Mullins Involved With Dragonball Reborn
  51. Matt Mullins on IMDB
  52. James Wong No Longer Dragonball Director?
  53. Stephen Chow Director for Dragonball 2 Reborn?
  54. Stephen Chow on IMDB
  55. Takeshi Kitano on IMDB
  56. "IMDB Lists Dragonball Movie Reboot" at dblegends.com
  57. Untitled Dragonball Reboot at imdb.com
  58. "IMDB Claims Dragonball Reboot Has Been Announced" at dblegends.com

[edit] External links

Dragon Ball
Theatrical films Curse of the Blood RubiesSleeping Princess in Devil's CastleMystical AdventureThe Path to Power
Public Service Videos Goku's Traffic SafetyGoku's Fire Fighting Regiment
Live action films The Magic BeginsSon Goku Fights, Son Goku WinsEvolution
Dragon Ball Z
Theatrical films Dead ZoneThe World's StrongestThe Tree of MightLord SlugCooler's RevengeThe Return of CoolerSuper Android 13!Broly: The Legendary Super SaiyanBojack UnboundBroly: Second ComingBio-BrolyFusion RebornWrath of the Dragon
TV specials Bardock: The Father of GokuThe History of Trunks
Other specials Looking Back at it All: The Dragon Ball Z Year-End Show!Movie Overview Special
OVAs Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the SaiyansYo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans
Dragon Ball GT
TV specials A Hero's Legacy
Dragonball: Evolution