Dragonball: Evolution (2009) - Z Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Fantasy
Fox || PG13 - 85 minutes - $39.99 || July 28, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-08-09

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: James Wong
Writer(s): Akira Toriyama (novel); Ben Ramsey (screenplay)
Cast: Justin Chatwin, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung, Chow Yun-Fat

Theatrical Release Date: April 10, 2009

Supplemental Material:
  • Goku's Quest Game
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Digital Copy

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin

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.::THE FILM::.

Um, what just happened?

Listen, I’m not a “Dragonball” guy. I never have seen or read anything about the subject or ever had cared to so I approached Dragonball: Evolution strictly as a fan of movies in general. But this is just a downright bad movie with poor acting and a lame story.

The movie basically is about a bad dude imprisoned for centuries somehow gets free and wants 7 Dragonballs to grant him a wish that will destroy the world... or something. This bad dude, aka Lord Piccolo (James Marsters), glides along in his sky ship looking down upon the world and with one strike, can wipe out a neighborhood. He uses his powers to kill those in possession of their dragonball but comes up against Goku (Justin Chatwin; The Invisible) who received a dragonball from his grandfather before he was killed.

Now Goku, with the help of Bulma (Emmy Rossum) – who is out to retrieve her family’s dragonball – they enlist the assistance of one Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat) and take a journey while Roshi helps Goku find his inner chi or something. They come across a thief Yamcha (Joon Park) and together they join to stop Piccolo from using the dragonballs before it’s too late!

Again, for me, there is no raping of my childhood with this feature film adaptation or just a general offense from a fan, because I am not one. Taking it strictly as a movie, it’s just not good. First you have a truly laughable performance from Justin Chatwin followed by Chun Yun-Fat, an actor who never really was that good but at least had a certain charm I enjoyed especially in The Replacement Killers. I don’t know his personal situation, but in order to appear in this movie with such a lousily written character, I have to wonder if he was strapped for cash. Of course, hindsight is 20/20...

Surprisingly, Dragonball: Evolution was directed by a capable-enough director in James Wong. Wong previously helmed Final Destination 1 and 3 and The One (which was OK) and writing on “The X-Files”. But despite his use of bright visuals and a non-descript setting (I guess it was an Ameri-Asia or something), he fails to even present an interesting story.

Along with Chatwin, a poor man's Shia LaBeouf, the movie co-stars Emmy Rossum (Poseidon), Chow Yun-Fat and James Marsters (“Buffy”) under some heavy make-up and a voice I could barely recognize. I guess maybe he took on such a small and unrecognizable role in the hopes this would develop into a minor franchise since the part is fairly limited with a one-dimensional diabolical plan.

Overall, fans will hate the movie. Non-fans will hate the movie. The one-wish dragon will hate the movie. Don’t bother with this drivel; surely Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is on somewhere...


The Blu-ray begins with a game called Goku’s Quest Game where, while watching the film, you keep an eye on the Dragonball icon, push the red button on your remote to collect all 7. Lots of fun, I tell ya. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Next up are a selection of deleted scenes (11:10). If the movie was bad, imagine how these eight scenes are... Since the movie isn’t worth very much in my book, the scenes are even more useless and offer nothing new (and most are extended anyway).

Also on the disc are some worthless featurettes:
Goku’s Workout (4:50) – The fight chorographers on the film show us how to fight/workout like Goku.

Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making a Scene (9:27) is a standard promotional piece to advertise the movie, from Fox, on their very own movie network. The featurette begins with the cast and crew explaining the movie before showing us how the Chi-Chi vs. Chi-Chi fight was made. What made me laugh was the filmmakers said that if it didn’t work, the audience would “check out”. Guys, I think they did that far, far before that scene...

Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School with Justin Chatwin (24:57) – Another featurette made for FMC, three young filmmakers sit down with Chatwin asking him questions about film school and movie making process.

Last up is a gag reel (2:23), a music video and the digital copy (on disc 2).


Although a tad soft at times, Dragonball: Evolution looks good enough in 1080p high-definition (AVC/MPEG-4 Codec on a 50GB Blu-ray disc). Other than a touch of softness, everything else does look crisp, clean and clear with no signs of imperfections (dust and/or scratches). Colors are vibrant and close-up details also look quite nice.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is perfect for the amount of fight sequences in between the inane and stilted dialogue is perfectly clear and consistent throughout. All channels get a good workout with the center used for dialogue, sides for the score and fights and rears for ambient noise and the occasional crashing sounds. It’s unfortunate the movie didn’t match the same quality levels...


Fan or not, Dragonball: Evolution just is not a very good movie. The story is dumb and overly predictable (not talking about the hero living, just from scene to scene you know what’s going to happen), the characters are barely two-dimensional, the acting is often laughable awful and the entire film isn’t entertaining. I gave it points for some half-decent fight scenes and a couple cutie actresses, but that’s about it. Save your money and wait for it to air on F/X.