Bile Fascination: The film's bad word-of-mouth is precisely why people choose to watch it out of reluctance.
Cliché Storm: There's an eclipse, an apocalyptic showdown, ancient sealed powers, an Ordinary High-School Student hero, loads of stock phrases, a Chosen One prophecy, a generic Action Girl in addition to a tragically dead parent figure. But eclipse, ordinary high school student, generic tough girl and prophecy aside, this isn't the fault of the adaptation; just about all of the rest is present in the original anime and manga. Then again, the anime didn't attempt to squeeze "all of the rest" in at once.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Naturally, it did well in Asia (outside of Japan where it lost to Yatterman), going number one early on before dropping off. It should be noted that it was number one for several weeks at Asian box offices, and while the reception was mixed it is still rather popular and well-liked outside the US.
Ham and Cheese: James Marsters as Piccolo and Chow Yun-Fat as Roshi were awesome casting choices.
The line "The first rule is… there are no rules." is absolutely laughable for some because it didn't convey any sense on what is said.
It is difficult to take the dramatic scenes seriously because of Justin Chatwin's horrible underacting.
The bullies' insult of choice: Geeko.
Justin Chatwin's face whenever looking dramatic just makes it look like he's taking a painful bowel movement.
The introduction of the Dragonball locator contrives to have Bulma say the acronym DBE has a nice ring to it. You just have to shake your head at the arrogance of this little moment, like they were absolutely sure this would be some big hip thing among the fans.
The movie itself earned a bad reputation with Dragon Ball fans and generally the anime and manga fandom as a terrible Hollywood live-action adaptation of a very popular anime franchise. Because of this, the fandom would remain skeptical on Hollywood's attempt on adapting manga and anime into the big screen. The reception of Edge of Tomorrow might have changed this view but perhaps not enough.
The writer, Ben Ramsey, finally admitted in an open letter to Dragon Ball fans that it is an Old Shame of his, so much so that what little of a film career he had was utterly destroyed by the film (as his IMDB page demonstrates).
Snark Bait: Fans of Dragon Ball just love trashing this movie. Just mentioning the film in a Dragon Ball forum post is bound to start a flame war. Even the people who worked on the English dubs of the Dragon Ball anime love to make fun of this movie at fan conventions. Critic and Dragon Ball fan Chris Stuckmann has called this his least favorite movie.
So Bad, It's Good: Most of the reactions were negative, even from those who never saw the animated series. That said, it can be enjoyable. A small minority think it was a decent film in its own right, to the point it could be considered an okay film had it not had the Dragon Ball name, and as stated above, a lot of people in Asia love the film.
See what Goku's head collided with when grandpa Gohan knocked him off? Sure, he was falling pretty fast, but melons shouldn't be THAT soft, should they? Also in the previous scene, one of Goku's kicks didn't even touch his grandpa. Force Kick in effect? The 2 consecutive failures can be seen in one video.
In Goku's case, in the series, he was known for having a rather hard head, to the point that he got Bulma reflexively shot him in the head during their first meeting and he only berated her for hurting him.
There's also that one scene with Goku and Piccolo in a Ki blast struggle… that ends with Goku shooting himself towards Piccolo with no propulsion whatsoever and in the same Kamehameha firing pose.
There's also a bad case of Styrofoam Rocks towards the end of the movie. You'll know it when you see it.
And let's not get started with either the obviously fake ape suit substituting for Oozaru or the wretched CG used throughout.
James Marsters didn't appear to take his role of Piccolo too seriously in practice; however, he did give several long-winded speeches on the character's motivations, referencing William Shakespeare in one of them and treating the role as a Composite Character of Piccolo and Kami (who were technically the same being anyway). Still, he gives a downright subtle and restrained performance compared to most everyone else in the film.
Marsters: He used to be a force of good, but he was imprisoned, making him very angry, and then he escapes... The cool thing is anybody who's seen Dragon Ball knows that Lord Piccolo transforms into THE Piccolo, and that is a whole other ball of wax; heroic wouldn't be the wrong term, but it's a long journey.
Perhaps a better fit for this trope is Justin Chatwin as Goku. Holding back other considerations of how his character's motivation are changed from Anime to Film, his performance of Goku as an insecure teen is pretty good, even adding some character development as he becomes self-confident to the point of gaining Heroic Willpower.