When it comes to movie adaptations, it is impossible to pull it off, mostly anime adaptations since anime has so much fantasy and wonder to it's source that to put in it on the big screen requires major effort and ambition for producers and writers on Hollywood. However, when it's handled by a bunch of cash-grabbing whor*s, it will end up like Dragonball Evolution. Probably one of the worst excuses of adapting an anime franchise into a film, Dragonball: Evolution became an insult of a product to Akira Toriyama's work and to all anime fans around the world, even critics despised the living f*ck out of this movie. Now to get it off the bat, I'm no fan of the Dragonball franchise, but I did see the shows and I respect them for the way they are (except for Dragon Ball GT, cause god that was sh*t). So, how did an idea of a Dragonball movie came to be? Well here's a little history development.
Originally, Fox had the rights to make the Dragonball film and it was supposed to be released in April 2005 with Stephen Chow, director of kick-ass movies like Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer, to write and direct the film with his script that takes story elements from the Dragon Ball mangas and animes. It was a neat little idea until Stephen Chow declined on being the director and instead decided to be a producer and Fox made the mistake of giving the script to James Wong, the sh*tty director of Final Destination 1, 3 and 4 and The One, and he accepted the role as director and he rewrote the script to make a more "realistic" take on Dragonball Evolution.
By reading the word realistic, you will realize the problem of the movie in seconds. Hollywood + live action movie based anime adaptation + realistic elements = pure laziness.
I will not go deep on describing the plot cause it has nothing to do with the Dragon Ball franchise. All you need to know is that in this pile of travesty is that Goku is a teenager, he goes to high-school, he trains with Grandpa Gohan on fighting skills, he gains his saiyan powers, but in a "realistic" way, Piccolo is a bad guy and wants to destroy the world for some uninteresting reason, Goku fights Piccolo very shortly in the film and Goku defeats Piccolo, but UH-OH! The dragonballs are gone and they now must find it again for a sh*tty sequel! That's the entire plot of the film and boy, did they screw it up big time.
The characters feel and look nothing like the show, Goku is so weak in this movie and he worries too damn much that it eliminates the sense of courage and wisdom that Goku had in the series. Remember Bulma with that kick ass blue hair and cool attitude? Well, this Bulma has one line of blue hair while the rest of her hair is brown and it removes all sense of dignity to Bulma. Plus, she has no personality... AT ALL!. Master Roshi suffers the worst change in the movie. He becomes from a perverted master from the series into the cliche "I will guide you to your destiny" type of master and Piccolo becomes the lame ass villain that gets defeated easily in the final battle of the movie and did I mention that he looks like a green alien MJ in this?
The biggest problem with Evolution is that it tarnishes the excitement of the series and has absolute no connection to the franchise. There's no Cell, no Trunks, no flashy fast-paced action and excitement, no funny dialogue, all they did is just add pointless and awful looking CG sequences with no purpose at all and was just there to look cool. Sure, the fight scenes can be cool at times, but you can clearly see the wires around the action and it bothered me a lot throughout the whole damn film, although the hand to hand combat scenes were good.
The cast is a disaster and I don't blame the actors for it, I blame the dumbf*cks who casted the actors wrong for their roles. Best example is Justin Chatwin as Goku, in which he clearly tried his hardest to not disappoint the fans with the Goku character that he was forced to play as, but it fails because of the weak dialogue that the script was given to him and it removes all the charm of the Goku character. James Mardsen as Piccolo is by far the worst and I'm still surprised that he didn't even had a problem with the Piccolo character that he portrayed in the movie cause DAMN! It fails on so many levels and the rest tried with their chosen characters, but fail as well. The practical make-up were decent and I give them props for using them, but the CG is horrid as f*ck and makes the CG of Ryuk from the Japanese live-action Death Note movie look more real than this.
Overall, Dragonball Evolution is a pathetic attempt to cash in on the franchise and they should be ashamed for annihilating Akira Toriyama's work for this travesty. Forbid yourself from watching this pile of inexcusable bullsh*t. It's horrid, boring, downright offensive to it's target audience and like I said, an excuse of a movie based anime to cash-grab the audience while having nothing to do with Dragon Ball.
Our only hope for a true great movie based anime is Shane's Black adaptation of Death Note. Please hope his movie redeem itself.