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YMMV / Dragonball Evolution

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  • Awesome Music:
    • The choice of Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki for the theme song was one of the best decisions the movie makers made.
    • Brian Tyler's musical score also gets a lot of praise.
  • 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 who wants to fit in but realises that he's amazing, loads of stock phrases, bullies, a Chosen One prophecy, a generic Action Girl in addition to a tragically dead parent figure. This isn't all the fault of the adaptation; some of these tropes can be found in the original series as well. It's just that it didn't attempt to squeeze them all in at once.
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  • Complete Monster: King Piccolo is an evil Namekian who attacked Earth alongside Oozaru, bringing the human race to brink of annihilation before he was sealed away by seven mystics. Returning 2,000 years later, Piccolo decides to seek out the seven Dragon Balls with the intention of wishing for eternal youth, and then eliminating the human race in revenge for his imprisonment, beginning his search by destroying a village filled with innocent people. Piccolo would then attack Goku's grandfather, Gohan, in his home, before killing him by crushing him with the house's rubble. After Goku and his friends manage to retrieve the Dragon Balls, Piccolo has Mai steal them, nearly killing Goku in the process. When Goku transforms into Oozaru during his final confrontation with Piccolo, the latter has Goku attack his own friends, while also having him choke Master Roshi to death before he could re-seal Piccolo.
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  • Critical Dissonance: The movie has gotten extremely negative reviews, with a 15% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 2.5 on IMDb with it being #17 on the Bottom 100 Rated Movies, yet somehow has a "mixed" Metacritic score of 45.
  • Ending Fatigue: While the movie itself is considered mercifully short, it takes over a minute to reveal The Stinger.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
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  • 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: Despite how the film turned out, there is widespread agreement that James Marsters as Piccolo and Chow Yun-fat as Roshi were awesome casting choices.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • As pointed out by Team Four Star, Goku's outfit in this movie is similar to what Goku Black would wear in Dragon Ball Super. Likewise, this wouldn't be the last time James Marsters would play an antagonist in the franchise. Nor will this be the last time the heroes will use the Mafūba (Evil containment wave) technique on the character played by him.
    • Even funnier, the character James Masters voices is Zamasu. Goku Black is Goku possessed by a version of Zamasu
    • Additionally, Goku in the Japanese dub of the film is voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi would later voice Fu in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, who opposes Zamasu and even prevents the Downer Ending Zamasu causes in the original story.
    • Throughout the franchise, including this movie, Goku and Bulma were Platonic Life-Partners, so it's hilarious to see Justin Chatwin and Emmy Rossum play a sexually active couple in Shameless (US).
    • Master Roshi's house in the middle of a huge metropolis may bring to mind Carl's house from Up, released a year later.
    • Using the kamehameha to resuscitate someone was an odd choice. A kiai shot on the other hand was considered much more sensible by the fans.
    • Bulma and Mai's Designated Girl Fight becomes this when in Dragon Ball Super, Mai dates her son in the Future Trunks arc.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Many people in Latin America only saw the movie because Mario Castañeda and Carlos Segundo were reprising their roles as Goku and Piccolo respectively.
    • Similarly, almost everyone from the Brazilian Portuguese dub (except for Roshi) returned for the movie.
  • Memetic Mutation: A common joke nowadays is to credit this movie with saving the franchise because Akira Toriyama hated it so much that he returned to active development of the series solely to right the wrongs of this film. It's also been repeatedly claimed that the movie was one of the six universes erased by Zeno before Dragon Ball Super.
  • Narm:
    • 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 he's looking dramatic just makes it look like he's having a painful bowel movement.
    • When Goku meets Bulma for the first time, Bulma refers to the Dragon Ball as a "Promethean Orb", to which Goku calls it a Dragon Ball. Not only is the line "Promethean Orb" really funny, but the way Justin Chatwin says "It's a Dragon Ball" is done in a deeper voice then normal, making it far more funny then it should of been.
    • Once Piccolo breaks free of Roshi's attempt at using Mafuba, he drops down to the ground and creates a gigantic crater on the floor in an outrageously cartoonish and quick fashion.
    • The brief clip of Grandpa Gohan laughing as Goku finds his gi. It actually sounds like a spiteful laugh at how stupid Goku will look in it.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • 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 and Alita: Battle Angel 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).
    • Goku wishing to resurrect Roshi whom he only recently met, but not attempting to do the same for anyone else who died at Piccolo’s hands, including his grandfather. The source material at least had Grandpa Gohan tell Goku he does not want to be revived, but this doesn’t occur in the film so it’s rather jarring.
  • Older Than They Think: The whole idea of "Dragon Ball but in High School" is not that dumb, taking into account that although Goku never went to school, this is part of Goku's son Gohan's story (some might say it is dumb, but the right kind of dumb).
  • Nightmare Fuel: This is the image of Oozaru.
  • Shocking Swerve: Sure, we understand that Goku is not of this Earth, but The Reveal that Goku is Ozaru comes directly out of nowhere. After Piccolo's reign ended, how can Goku still be alive and who sent him into space only to send him back to Earth? And even then, there is no explanation for why Piccolo went to such lengths to have him killed if he was so critical to his plans.
  • 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.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • 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.
    • 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, like for Shen Long.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Rather fittingly, the movie's tie-in PSP game was lambasted by critics, and is considered one of the worst Dragon Ball games of all time, attempting to copy the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series' formula but dumbing it down severely — just like with the movie itself. It attempts to be more loyal to the manga by having Piccolo reveal that Goku is a Saiyan and calling him "Kakarot" without explaining how Piccolo knows this. Interestingly, the game is currently the only one in which you can choose Bulma as a fighter.
  • They Changed It, So It Sucks: It is perfectly understandable that changes have to be made when adapting an anime to the big screen, but most of the changes only serve to make this adaptation more generic. For instance, by making Bulma an Action Girl, Chi-Chi a Love Interest and Goku an angsty teenager, they just make classic characters more forgettable.
    • The changes were so numerous and so arbitrary that Chris Stuckmann claimed that even when the film does follow the source material, it seems weirdly out of place.
    • When CinemaSins reviewed the film, due to just how many requests they'd gotten, they made an exception to their rule about not doing research about the source material, resulting in the film's sin count going from 177 to 9518.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some reviewers have noted that the film does have some good ideas to make a competent, well-made action-comedy, but fails to capitalize on them because of a toxic mixture of Executive Meddling, shallow talent pools, and an anemic lack of ambition.
    • For that matter, if they were trying to make it a Dragon Ball movie, there's several places that they could've used actual elements from Dragon Ball - i.e., reviving Goku with Sensu Beans instead of the Kamehameha (which isn't even a healing technique in the source material), using the Power Pole to get out of the hole Yamcha had trapped them in, and so on.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
    • 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.
  • Vindicated by History: Downplayed. This movie was not a good first impression of actor Justin Chatwin. Due to a well received guest spot as a superhero on Doctor Who and his role on Shameless (US), some viewers are more forgiving of his role in this movie. Some.
  • What an Idiot!: Why did they spend hours in a hole when Roshi had superhuman jumping powers?
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Ernie Hudson as a movie exclusive character, Sifu Norris.


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