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Dragonball Evolution


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Dragonball Evolution (Movies)
Dragonball Evolution (Movies)
Dragonball Evolution (Movies)
Dragonball Evolution (Movies)
Dragonball Evolution (Movies)
Dragonball Evolution (Movies)
Dragonball Evolution (Movies)
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Information about Dragonball Evolution

Dragonball Evolution is a 2009 (10 years ago) American live-action movie adaptation of the Japanese Dragon Ball media franchise produced by 20th Century Fox. The story centers around the adventures of the lead character, Goku, around his 18th birthday. The movie began development in 2002 (17 years ago). It is directed by James Wong and produced by Stephen Chow. It was released in Japan and several other Asian nations on Mar. 13, 2009 (10 years ago), and in the United States on Apr. 10, 2009 (10 years ago).

Justin Chatwin was cast as Goku, and James Marsters portrays Lord Piccolo, the antagonist of the film. A video game of the same name was released on Mar. 19, 2009 (10 years ago) for the PSP.



Two thousand years ago, the evil Namekian warlord Piccolo (James Marsters) descended upon the Earth during a solar eclipse and attempted to destroy the world with the aid of his disciple, Ōzaru. A group of monks conjured the Mafuba — a powerful but life-threatening enchantment designed to bind those caught within it — and used it to imprison Piccolo. Ōzaru disappears, and the Earth gradually recovers. In the present day, Piccolo escapes his confinement and as another solar eclipse approaches, he begins searching for the legendary Dragonballs in order to make a wish to the magical dragon Shen Long for the power to rule the Earth.

On his 18th birthday, a young high-school student and martial artist named Son Goku (Justin Chatwin) is given the 4-Star Dragonball by his grandfather, Gohan (Randall Duk Kim). After returning home from a party hosted by his crush Chi-Chi (Jamie Chung), however, Goku finds his home obliterated and his grandfather near death in the aftermath of Piccolo's failed attempt to acquire the Dragonball. Before he dies, Gohan tells Goku to seek out the martial arts master, Muten Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat), who holds another of the Dragonballs. Along the way, Goku meets Bulma Briefs (Emmy Rossum (12 walls)) of the Capsule Corporation, which was studying the 5-Star Dragonball until it was stolen by Piccolo's servant Mai (Eriko Tamura). Goku offers Bulma his services in exchange for her help in finding Roshi and they ultimately find him in Paozu City. Under Roshi's wing, Goku begins training to harness his Ki, now knowing that they must acquire all the Dragonballs before the upcoming solar eclipse, when Ōzaru will return and join with Piccolo. In the midst of the group's search for the 6-star Dragonabll, they fall into a trap set by the desert bandit Yamcha (Joon Park) but Roshi convinces Yamcha to join them. Together, the group fight their way through an ambush by Mai and successfully obtain the next Dragonball. As the group continues their quest, they travel to a temple where Roshi consults his former teacher Sifu Norris (Ernie Hudson) and begins training to perform the Mafuba enchantment so he can reseal Piccolo, while Goku must learn the most powerful of Ki techniques: the Kamehameha.

During the night, Mai - disguised as Chi-Chi - steals the three Dragonballs that Goku and company have acquired, adding them to the other four that Piccolo has gathered. With the Dragonballs successfully united, Piccolo begins to summon Shen Long, but is stopped by the timely arrival of Goku's team. During the battle that ensues, Piccolo reveals to Goku that he is Ōzaru, having been sent to Earth as an infant to destroy it when he came of age. As the eclipse begins, Goku transforms into Ōzaru and terrorizes Bulma and Yamcha, while Roshi attempts to use the Mafuba, but is killed before he can re-seal Piccolo. Roshi's dying words restore Goku to his senses, and he engages Piccolo in a final battle, seemingly destroying him with the power of the Kamehameha. Goku then uses the Dragonballs to summon Shen Long, and request that he restore Roshi to life. As they celebrate, they realize the Dragonballs have now scattered, and Bulma declares that they must seek the balls again. Before they head out, Goku visits Chi-Chi so they can truly begin their relationship, but first, they engage in a sparring match to see which of them is stronger.

In a post credits scene, a woman whom Piccolo spared earlier in the movie tends to his wounds as he awakens.



In Mar. 2002 (17 years ago), 20th Century Fox acquired feature movie rights to the Dragon Ball franchise. In Jun. 2004 (15 years ago), Ben Ramsey, who wrote The Big Hit, was paid $500,000 to adapt Dragonball Z. In 2007 (12 years ago), James Wong and Stephen Chow were announced as director and producer respectively, and the project was retitled Dragonball. Wong rewrote the script. The first full color image (wallpaper) of Justin Chatwin as Goku was released in the 24th issue of Weekly Young Jump. Chow was a Dragon Ball fan, citing its "airy and unstrained story [which] leaves much room for creation", but explained he would only serve as producer because he believes that he should only direct stories he had created. 87Eleven, the stunt performance company that worked on The Matrix and 300, worked on the film. Ariel Shaw, who worked on Wong's entries in The Final Destination (4 walls) series and 300, is visual effects supervisor. Robert MacLachlan, who also worked on Wong's Final Destination films, serves as cinematographer. The movie was originally slated to be named Dragonball, however on dec. 10, 2008 (11 years ago), a trailer was released using the name Dragonball Evolution and Fox licensed the domain name "" indicating the movie had been renamed.

Differing costs to produce the movie have been reported. In Jan. 2008 (11 years ago), Masters spoke to TV Guide that he was told the movie had a budget of approximately $100 million. In Apr. 2009 (10 years ago), the Spanish TV station Telecinco reported that the budget was $45 million.


Justin Chatwin was selected to play the film's central character Goku. Ron Perlman was originally offered the role of the villain Lord Piccolo, but turned it down to work on Hellboy (9 walls) II: The Golden Army. James Marsters, who accepted the role, noted he was a fan of the original anime series, describing it as "the coolest TV cartoon in the last 50,000 years [because] it’s got a Shakespearean sense of good and evil." Summarizing the original concept of Piccolo, he said the character was "thousands of years old and a very long time ago he used to be a force of good, but [he] got into a bad argument and was put into prison for 2000 (19 years ago) years. It got him very angry, and he finds a way to escape and then tries to destroy the world." Originally, Piccolo was going to be depicted as a handsome creature, but Marsters and the make-up artist chose to give him a decrepit complexion to reflect his having been trapped for thousands of years. The first time the make-up was applied, it took seventeen hours and left Marsters with difficulty breathing. In subsequent applications, it generally only took four hours.

Stephen Chow originally wanted to cast Zhang Yuqi, whom he worked with on CJ7, for the part of Chi Chi, but the role eventually went to Jamie Chung.


Shooting began on dec. 3, 2007 (12 years ago), in Mexico City, Mexico. Locations included the Universidad Tecnológica de México. From Jan. 2, 2008 (11 years ago), the crew shot at Durango. The crew moved to Estado de México in Mar. of that year for some shots at Nevado de Toluca. Shooting has also been scheduled at Los Angeles, California. In adapting the Dragon Ball manga, the futuristic cities and flying vehicles were kept, however, the anthropomorphic creatures and talking animals (such as Turtle, Oolong and Puar) were dropped. Many of the locations are very Oriental, and there will be some Aztec influence too, particularly from their temples. It was thought that Rossum would wear a blue wig to resemble her anime counterpart, but it was ultimately decided that such a look was too unrealistic. Instead she had her natural brown with blue streaks. Chatwin did not wear a wig as the director felt Chatwin's hair resembled Goku's. A large amount of Dragonball Evolution was shot in an abandoned jeans factory, also located in Durango, Mexico.

Dragonball Evolution special effects were done by Amalgamated Dynamics, while the visual effects were done by Ollin Studios, Zoic Studios, and Imagine Engine. The movie also had the anime style of fighting in Dragon Ball Z, such as ki energy blasts and auras.


On dec. 9, 2008 (11 years ago), it was confirmed that the theme song would be "Rule" by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki. The choice was made because director James Wong wanted the movie adaptation of a manga/anime born in Japan to be sung by a Japanese person and he felt it would be good for the movie to get Hamasaki due to her massive popularity in Japan. "Rule" was used as the theme song for every country's release. The score to Dragonball Evolution was composed by Brian Tyler, who recorded his score with an 82-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox.


Though an American film, Dragonball Evolution was released in Japan and Hong Kong on Mar. 13, 2009 (10 years ago), nearly a month before its American release. It was released in Australia on Apr. 2, 2009 (10 years ago) and was released in the United Kingdom on Apr. 8.

Its release in its home country has changed dates multiple times. Initially scheduled to be released in North America on Aug. 15, 2008 (11 years ago), it was later moved to Apr. 2009 (10 years ago) to allow time to do additional filming and post-production work. The specific date has changed back and forth between Apr. 10 and Apr. 8, with the final release date being Apr. 10. The movie was released on Region 1 DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) and Blu-ray Disc in North America on Jul. 28, 2009 (10 years ago). It was released to Region 2 DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) and Blu-ray Disc in the United Kingdom on Aug. 31, 2009 (10 years ago).


The movie opened number 1 in five Asian countries, namely China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. On its opening weekend in the United States, the movie grossed $4,756,488 ranking #8 at the box office. In its second weekend, it dropped to eleventh place. The movie had a domestic gross earning of $9,362,785 and a foreign gross of $48,134,914 for a combined box office gross of $57,497,699. It was nominated for a 2009 (10 years ago) Spike TV Scream Award for "Best Comic Book Movie".

Since its release, Dragonball: Evolution has received generally negative reviews and has been panned by critics. Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network, originally disgusted at otaku who decried the movie via leaked set shots and trailers before the movie's release, gave the movie an overall failing grade and stated "the fans were right." He criticized the film's lack of explaining plot elements, its hackneyed storyline and lackluster effort by the actors. Variety's Russell Edwards found the movie "passable", noting it "doesn't take itself too seriously, but avoids campiness." Luke Thompson of E! Online referred to the movie as a "surreal mess" that would only make sense to fans of the original series. He questioned the use of a Caucasian in the main role and felt Chow Yun-Fat was "overacting like never before", but did consider it "fun in a train-wreck kind of way" and that while it was never boring it was also never "logical, coherent [or] rational".

Christoper Monfette of IGN gave the movie a more favorable review, stating that it "is perhaps the most successful live-action movie to date to utilize costume, production and audio design – not to mention some inspired fight choreography – to provide the flavor of anime without becoming overly cartoonish." He praised the main cast for "creating characters the audience can actually care about" and felt Chatwin was particularly likeable as Goku. Slant Magazine's Rob Humanick considered the movie "uninspired" and implausible with an "aimlessly hyperactive construction and complete lack of substance" and "cobbled-together FX fakery". Reviewing the movie for Australia's ABC Radio National, Jason Di Rosso stated the movie was "lacking the visual panache of recent graphic novel adaptations". He agreed the movie was uninspired and also felt it had dull "high school movie banter" dialog and was "cliché-ridden". The Village Voice's Aaron Hillis called the movie a "loony live-action adaptation", but felt it was "more entertaining than it deserves to be" and would likely appeal to ten-year old boys. Alonso Duralde of MSNBC found the movie to be "both entertainingly ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining" and noted that "kids will have such a blast that you can turn this movie into the gateway kung-fu drug that makes them want to watch the earlier work of Stephen Chow and Chow Yun-Fat." Jeffrey K. Lyles of The Gazette found the movie to be "a fairly entertaining martial arts adventure for the younger audiences" and tolerable to adults. He felt Chatwin was ill-cast as Goku, and that director Wong failed to capture the "frenetic sense of the anime" in the action scenes, leaving them an effort to understand.


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