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The Blue & Gray Press | April 20, 2018

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‘Dragon Ball Evolution’ Twentieth Century Fox Slaughters Precious Memories

CHRIS GAINOR

Those of us that grew up during the late ‘90s will never forget “Dragon Ball Z.”
The show you would race home after school to catch on Cartoon Network, or even wake up early on Saturdays to watch on Fox, “Dragon Ball Z” had some of the best villains in the cartoon world, due to their ability to always have one last card up their sleeve.
With fights lasting over several episodes, it is easy to understand how the series ran for 291 episodes.  And now, six years since the first full run of “Dragon Ball Z,” 20th Century Fox has decided to cash in on our childhood with “Dragon Ball Evolution.”
Dragon Ball Evolution starts off easily enough introducing characters.  The movie begins with a quick fight between Goku and his grandfather, showcasing Stephen Chow’s involvement as producer.
Right away the film captures the feel of the cartoon due largely to the grandfathers’ voice, which sounds like it was performed by someone else.  Goku appears to be a creepy dweeb at school who is bullied by the boyfriend of the girl he seemingly stalks, Chichi.
The plot quickly reveals the importance of the Dragon Balls, as the evil Piccolo has escaped from his imprisonment and wants to destroy the world.
In Piccolo’s second appearance, he resembles a green combination of “Star Wars” character’s Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, using something like the Force to choke Goku’s grandfather.  Bulma is then introduced, pairing up with Goku on the search for the other Dragon Balls.
They visit familiar sites on their search, including a fighting tournament—though little is done with this pivotal element of the cartoon.
The film culminates with a final fight in typical “Dragon Ball Z” fashion: in a desolate area with numerous plateaus.  However, the final fight is hectic and jumbled, much like the storyline.
“Dragon Ball Evolution” may not be the worst film you’ll see this year, but it’s certainly contender.
Like with other recent film adaptations “Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight,” reviewing “Dragon Ball Evolution” on its own merit becomes difficult when there is so much previous source material to draw from.  For the most part, “Dragon Ball Evolution” uses stereotypes and names from the TV show but lacks the charm that defined it.
The movie did do a stellar job replicating hairstyles though.  The various phases of Goku’s hair were surprisingly accurate, given the film’s cartoon source. Other attempts were made to seem like the show, such as the fast throwing of punches and the character’s use of powerful moves like the Kamehameha.
While the film does follow the basic premise of the series—bad guy must be stopped by finding the Dragon Balls—it’s still missing the one liners, overly arrogant villains and drawn-out fight sequences the TV show.
Once again, I thank Fox for ruining my precious childhood with yet another attempt to make more money off of its fond memories.

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