If a movie earns a paltry 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, chances are it's not very good. Dragonball Evolution, an extremely loose adaptation of Dragon Ball, earned this impressively terrible score, and for good reason – it's one of the worst anime adaptations ever made. In fact, it is so bad that the movie's main writer publicly apologized for its poor quality.
Why is this movie such a travesty? Dragonball Evolution is awful for a host of reasons, including whitewashed characters, a lack of respect for the source material, and a convoluted and incomprehensible story. If you're a Dragon Ball fan who was considering checking out the movie, you should probably reconsider – unless you're into hate-watching, you're unlikely to have a good time.
The Dialogue Is Cringe-Inducing
If you're looking for a movie with good dialogue, this is not it. Dragonball Evolution features groan-inducing clichés like "Now the signs have appeared again, the evil has returned. Only one chosen warrior has the power to defeat this threat," and "The first rule is... there are no rules."
The script also takes every possible opportunity to make bad puns about the fact they're trying to collect items called Dragon Balls. Yamcha yelling "Ow, my balls!" is neither funny nor creative, but it may be the closest thing to humor this terrible film has to offer.
It Feels Like A Cliché High School Movie
One of Goku's defining characteristics is his lack of education. While he isn't stupid, he can be quite naive about subjects that don't pertain to fighting. He definitely doesn't have a well-rounded public school education, so why did Dragonball Evolution decide to make Goku attend stereotypical suburban high school? There seems to be no good explanation other than sheer laziness, and fans of the original Dragon Ball agree. One angry fan posted on Gamespot, saying, "HE'S [Goku] NOT AN ANGST-RIDDEN AMERICAN CHILD! ...Just needed to get that off my chest. Fox turned it into a typical High School underdog film."
The CGI And Obvious Green Screen Backgrounds Are An Eyesore
CGI can dramatically enhance a movie or it can make it way, way worse. The CGI in Dragonball Evolution is ugly and obvious, and it makes the whole viewing experience unpleasant. Drake Tsui, a Super Reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes, sums it up by calling it a "Hollywood CGI f*ck fest of stupidity."
The green screen backgrounds only add to this eyesore. While shooting on green screen is sometimes unavoidable due to budget constraints, the sloppy backgrounds are distracting and ruin the suspension of disbelief.
The Movie Compares Kamehameha To Air-Bending
Even if you've never seen Dragon Ball anything, you still probably know something about Goku's signature attack, Kamehameha: it's a literal beam of concentrated energy. It also has nothing to do with air-bending, a technique taken straight out of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but for some reason, Master Roshi decides to explain Kamehameha by comparing the two. What's even more baffling is that at one point Goku is revived by the attack, despite it having no healing properties whatsoever.