Thoughts on Dragonball: Evolution

In the last few weeks, now that the girlfriend has been reliably returned from her travels, my movie-going has increased dramatically.  (It has also helped that they have started to put out non-serious films, and are slowly warming up for the summer movies.)

So, I took her to see Dragonball: Evolution, not because I had much hope of it being good, but because I’ve long been a fan of the manga and, to a lesser extent, the anime.  (I rather feel the anime dragged on far too long….)

I had very low expectations going in to this movie, and, thankfully, I was not disappointed.  It was surprisingly faithful to the major story elements from the source material, and was reasonably well-paced and coherent.  The cast was pretty good, too, although Justin Chatwin looked a little too wimpy to be convincing as bad-ass martial artist Goku.  Joon Park absolutely nailed the Yamcha character, though.

I suppose my biggest complaint is that the fighting looked too lightweight.  In the source material, the fighters are shattering boulders and mountains with their attacks, shaking the earth as they gather their power, and unleashing blinding energy attacks.  In the movie, however, the wire stunts made every movement look soft, and even the visual effects for the energy attacks looked wispy and insubstantial.

I know the movie hasn’t done especially well in North America, but they apparently have sequels in mind if it is successful enough.  I wonder whether they will ramp up the carnage as the fighters get stronger.

Anyway, I couldn’t really recommend this to a general audience, nor to a long-standing fan of the manga or anime.  Perhaps the best I can say is that if it happens to be on somewhere, it might reasonably entertain you, but I don’t think it’s worth seeking out.  And yet, I kind of liked it, and hope they make another.