I have a theory about Dragonball: Evolution. I believe it was completely funded for by the Christian Right Wing in the US. OK, so it seems to espouse a theology which runs counter to that in the Bible, but kids that already like the Dragonball manga and anime so you can’t stop it straight away. What you can do however is
a) spoil their memory and experience of the Dragonball series by making a hopelessly hamfisted movie
b) confuse the kiddies about Evolution by appending this wholly unsuitable word to the title.

The main reason I went to see this film, despite being forewarned by ever sign that it would be terrible, was to be old. Namely, the whole Dragonball phenomenon is one which has completely passed me by. Just as well, you might say, you are thirty five and this is for kids. Nevertheless I remember going to the see the recent X-Men films, or even Transformers and knowing enough about their respective origins that the interest was in how they were going to make the complex backstories work. Could a new, complex, kid aimed franchise with multiple characters with multiple backstories and multiple powers make sense and also be a good movie.

Um, well no, if Dragonball: Evolution is exhibit A. Oh they manage to explain their plot easily enough (bad guy, seven balls of power being stolen, end of the world, only kids doing martial arts can save us), and then explain it over and over again. It does appear though they have shoehorned the characters and plot into a really generic high school movie for twenty minutes, before heading out on the road as a flimsy “team” and finally ending up at evil mountain (not to be confused with Witch Mountain). We know the bad guy is a bad guy because we are told he is and he also happens to be green. But there are only two bad guys (his dominatrix henchlady joins in) and five good guys, so it seems to be a pretty one sided battle.

BUT WAIT: GOKU (our improbably named Caucasian hero who has never asked why he is not Chinese like his Grandad) IS ACTUALLY THE BAD GUYS NUMBER ONE HENCHMAN HIDEN IN HUMAN FORM. One assumes this is terribly important in the source material. Here the twist is impenetrable to newbies and one assumes not a twist to ver kids.

None of which really explains why Dragonball: Evolution is so bad. It is almost entertainingly bad, as it lurches from cheap set piece to the next, and has authentic manga style hairstyles. Perhaps it is the fact that the chances of Goku scoring with his new girlfriend are exactly as important as saving the world from total destruction. Perhaps it is the way that it has the chops of a slightly more extended Power Rangers movie. Or perhaps its that use of the word Evolution, to which I would also append DEAD END to this fella.

“Now we have to find the Dragonballs again” they say hopefully at the end of the film. No franchise here I fear.