The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 85 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin
Starring: Justin Chatwin, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung, Chow Yun-Fat
Directed by: James Wong
Music by: Brian Tyler
Written by: Ben Ramsey
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 28, 2009
"Master your destiny"
A live-action adaptation of the hugely popular franchise, Dragonball Evolution is centered on a humanoid alien named Goku (Justin Chatwin) who tries to fulfill the wish of his dying grandfather by collecting all seven of the world's mystical Dragonballs with the help of the great Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat) and the gadget wielding Bulma. It’s a race against time as the evil Lord Piccolo (James Marsters) seeks all of the Dragonballs in order to raise his minion Oozaru and take over the world.
Based on one of the most popular Japanese manga series of all time, Dragonball: Evolution follows a young warrior on an epic adventure to discover his destiny...and save the world from the forces of darkness. For his eighteenth birthday, mild-mannered Goku is given a mystical Dragonball, one of only seven in existence, which combine to grant a perfect wish to whoever possesses them. But an ancient warlord named Piccolo has escaped eternal imprisonment and is on his own quest to gather the Dragonballs. Goku must enlist the help of his friends—and the power of his evolving martial arts skills—to defeat Piccolo before it’s too late!
I am not really familiar with the Dragonball universe or it characters. Having seen the trailer for this film on a Fox Blu-ray Disc I had in for review I didn’t think it looked bad. I am familiar with Justin Chatwin from films like War of the worlds and The Invisible. The same goes for Emmy Rossum who has appeared in The Day after tomorrow and Poseidon. Obviously Chow Yun-Fat needs no introduction nor do character actors Ernie Hudson or Randal Duk Kim. I have seen Jamie Chung before but I hope to see more from her in the future. The story is far from complex and had sort of an elementary feel. The characters were one dimensional and under developed but this didn’t particularly undermine the plot. I did have a hard time taking Ernie Hudson seriously as Sifu, the ancient mystic (complete with long white eyebrows!). Emmy Rossum also seemed miscast as the tough, gadget carrying inventor Bulma who fights alongside Master Roshi and Goku in their quest to stop Lord Piccolo and obtain the Dragonballs. Like the characters the script is a bit underdeveloped and moves along too quickly. It doesn’t establish a solid foundation that allows the audience to connect with its elements. It does have positive attributes as it contains a bit of romance, humor, plenty of action and decent special effects but ultimately I found it one dimensional and unfulfilling.
The rating is for intense sequences of action/violence and brief mild language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Dragonball Evolution comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.
This is a superb looking high quality Blu-ray offering from Fox. The video is razor sharp with a slightly edgy but otherwise pristine quality that is visually engaging. Detail perception is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine rendering throughout. Colors are lavish and eye popping with oversaturated primaries and warm tonality that make them pleasing. Flesh tones are on the golden side with fair delineation among the varied cast. Strong contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is good enough that I could make out plenty of discernible texture in the low lighting and dark backgrounds, such as the interior walls of the dark cavernous pit the group fell into while traveling through the desert. The CGI based and green screen photography softened some shots but its effects are innate and fidelity remained unaffected.
Like the video quality The 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack didn’t disappoint. This is a powerful mix that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is excellent as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the large fight sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and resolute clarity. This is an aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already strong dynamics. The result is that all points of contact seem to resonate with tactile low bass impact. The quality of the bass is first rate as it is fills the room with clean, hard hitting, and deep resonating low frequency energy. Dialogue had excellent soundstage presence with clear, defining vocal character and excellent room penetration. This is a reference quality audio/video presentation that offers demonstration worthy material for those who like to show of their home theater systems.
- Goku’s Quest game – Interactive game that coincides with film
- (HD) 7 deleted scenes
- (HD) Goku’s workout – 5 minute demonstration
- (HD) Brian Anthony’s “Worked up” music video
- (HD) Gag reel – 2 minutes
- Fox Movie Channel presents: Making a scene – 9 minute look at the Chi Chi (double) fight sequence
- Fox Movie Channel presents: Life after school with Justin Chatwin - 25 minutes
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc – A standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC/Mac to a portable media device
Dragonball Evolution is a below average martial arts adaptation which is based upon the popular Dragonball franchise. Its rudimentary storyline and one dimensional characters will more than likely appeal more to younger audiences. While I felt it didn’t have much depth it was far from the worst adaptation style film I have seen and its high quality presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Fox helped to make it a bit more palatable. If you’re a fan feel free to pick this disc up. If you’re curious a rental should suffice.
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