Dragonball: Evolution (2009)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 40 mins

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The story begins with Goku, who seeks out upon his adoptive grandfather Grandpa Gohan's dying request to find the great Master Roshi and gather all seven Dragon Balls. Of which he has one, in order to prevent the evil Lord Piccolo from succeeding in his desire to use the Dragon Balls to take over the world. And Goku's quest is to obtain the mystical Dragonballs before Piccolo does.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Emmy Rossum, Justin Chatwin, Yun-Fat Chow

Crew: James Wong (Director), Robert McLachlan (Director of Photography), Brian Tyler (Music Director)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Release Dates: 07 Aug 2009 (India)

Tagline: This Easter the legend comes to life.

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Did you know? According to Yun-Fat Chow, he wore contact lenses during his performance as Roshi in preparation for the (at the time announced) sequel, where his appearance would be bald and bespectacled, a more classic appearance of Roshi. Read More
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Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director
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Casting Director
Casting Associate

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer

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Film Type:
Spoken Languages:
Japanese, Hindi
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby, DTS
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
This Easter the legend comes to life.
Master your destiny.
Before turning into Ozaru, Goku had a belt which seemed a little tight. Yet when he transforms into Ozaru and then back into his normal self the belt is in perfect conditions without a stretch mark.

When Goku is in the Ozaru form, the robe is loose (not tucked in the belt). After Turning into Goku again the robe is tucked in the belt, with no time to see Goku tuck it in himself.

During the martial arts tournament, Chi Chi receives a cut to her lower right arm. In the temple when she fights the copy of herself, you see it again. But at the end of the film when Goku goes to see her, there is no sign of a cut or even a scar. This is strange due to there not very long between these events.

When Goku pulls his grandfather out of the broken house his grandfather is covered in dust, during the next scene the grandfather doesn't have any dust on his jacket or face.

Piccolo can destroy a house with telekinesis, but he can't lift the Dragonball that falls off the stone mount back up to him at the end scene of the movie.

Just before the eclipse the moon can be seen in a (waxing) crescent state, while it had to be in a (waning) crescent state before getting to new moon.

Just after Bulma nearly shots Goku when they first meet and they head further out of the fallen house, Bulma's blue stripe through her hair swaps from left to right constantly.

When Chi-Chi meets up with Goku in the temple, she does not have the scratch on her arm.

The two bullies who simultaneously swing their blunt objects at Goku somehow wind up closer to each other between camera shots so as to be able to strike each other as Goku dodges them.

Goku being a Sayian their hair never changes, his hair constantly changes throughout the movie.

Revealing Mistakes
Despite the film building to a climax during a total solar eclipse, which requires a New Moon, the film constantly shows a Full Moon, which never changes phase over the weeks the film takes place.

Revealing Mistakes
When Bulma drives her vehicle into the sinkhole, she falls in first and Master Roshi falls in last. Yet somehow, Master Roshi lands at the bottom first, and is then able to catch Bulma before she hits the bottom.
Luis Arrieta filmed all his scenes in one day.

WILHELM SCREAM: When Chi-Chi kicks down her opponent at the training camp.

The monks are seen to be of Indian origin, as they use the Hindi greeting "Namaste" and use a Hindi chant to generate the Mafuba.

It was suggested to give the entire cast special wigs of different colors, to keep the essence of the "Dragon Ball" anime;, but James Wong vetoed this idea to make the film more realistic. However, Emmy Rossum had a blue streak dyed in her hair and Justin Chatwin had his hair touched to make it spiky so that their respective characters possessed a classic yet distinctive look.

The film was mostly shot in an abandoned jeans factory in Durango, Mexico with blue and green screens.

The number 7 is used many times throughout the film. There are seven Dragon Balls, there are seven stones in the middle of Gohan's yard, there are seven candles on Goku's birthday cake, Goku aligns seven stones on his grandfather's tombstone, seven mystics are required to cast the Mafuba, there are seven rocks in Roshi's house, Gohan cooks seven chicken feet for Goku's birthday, and in the epilogue, there are seven candles that are lit over the bed Piccolo is resting in.

James Kyson auditioned for the role for Yamcha.

Producer Stephen Chow is a big fan of Dragon Ball, and signed on to the film immediately. He was deeply interested in being the director, but decided to just serve as producer because he believes in directing only his own original stories.

The cities in the film have been designed to be futuristic, as seen in the cartoon, but there will also be Oriental and Aztec influences in the designs. This is due to the film being set in Asia but being shot in America and Mexico.

Director James Wong personally asked Japanese pop musician Ayumi Hamasaki if she could compose and sing the film's theme song. Since Dragon Ball was created in Japan, he felt that the song should be by a Japanese singer and in Japanese. Wong was so impressed with Hamasaki's song "Rule" that he ensured that the song would appear for all international releases of the film.

The film's title was originally going to be simply "Dragonball" in homage to the title of the original series, but the word "Evolution" was added to show that this would be a more different and advanced version of the saga.

Stephen Chow wanted Kitty Zhang Yuqi to play Chi-Chi.

Music composer Brian Tyler recorded the film's score with an 82-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at 20th Century Fox's Newman Scoring Stage.

James Wong was on board to direct The Final Destination (2009) in 3-D, the fourth installment in the franchise he created, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts with Dragonball: Evolution (2009).

Chi-Chi fights at the "Toisan Tournament of Champions", and the temple is also apparently located in Toisan. In real life, Toisan is a coastal level city in Guangdong Province, China, well-known for being the hometown of a large number of Chinese-Americans; celebrities of Toisan include politicians Adrienne Clarkson and Hiram Fong, cinematographer James Wong Howe, and actors Donnie Yen and James Hong.

According to Yun-Fat Chow, he wore contact lenses during his performance as Roshi in preparation for the (at the time announced) sequel, where his appearance would be bald and bespectacled, a more classic appearance of Roshi.

This is the first time the name "Oozaru" has been used to describe transformations in an English-language version of Dragonball.

Joon Park admitted he didn't think he was going to get the role of Yamcha "because I'm god in Korea, but a shit in the US." He auditioned for the role in nothing but a hat and shorts, but as soon as director James Wong took a look at him Park landed the role.

Not screened for critics.

According to series creator Akira Toriyama, he decided to return to the series for the animated film Dragonball Z: Battle of The Gods (2013) as personal vengeance for the creation of Dragonball: Evolution.

Chris Stuckmann's least favorite film.

In 2002, George Lucas was considered to direct the film.

Justin Chatwick's portrayal of 'Son Goku' is so different to the original source material, being a frustrated, sex-obsessed, annoying, self-centred teenager, when compared to the selfless, carefree and honourable attitude of the original character, that it actually caused Japanese police to ban the film from being viewed, for fears that it may increase suicide rates in the country.

Ron Perlman was offered the role of Piccolo, but turned it down to work on Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) instead.

James Marsters discussed the look of Piccolo during the Grand Slam 2008 convention. He said the producers wanted to make Piccolo "more beautiful" than James wanted him to be. Since the producers weren't around when filming started, James and the make up artist changed the character's look to make him ugly, which would reflect Piccolo's rage from being imprisoned for so long. James said, "It would be better to be fired than mess up Piccolo."

This is the third live-action adaptation of Akira Toriyama's "Dragon Ball" manga; there were two other films before this, both of which were unlicensed and thus unofficial adaptations. The first was Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins (1991) ("Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins") made in Taiwan, and the second was Deuraegon bol: Ssawora Son O-gong, igyeora Son O-gong (1990) ("Dragon Ball") was made in South Korea.

According to James Marsters, his role of Piccolo is a complex, Shakespearean one: "He used to be a force of good, but he was imprisoned, making him very angry, and then he escapes... The cool thing is anybody who's seen Dragon Ball knows that Lord Piccolo transforms into THE Piccolo, and that is a whole other ball of wax; heroic wouldn't be the wrong term, but it's a long journey."

To prepare for his role as Son Goku, Justin Chatwin read all the Dragon Ball manga and "The Journey to the West," the Chinese literary classic which inspired the Dragon Ball saga; he practiced martial arts and acrobatics; and to get into Goku's character (a likeable child-man), he told jokes to fellow cast members between filming breaks to increase the rapport between them/their characters.

Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin would later work together again on the TV series "Shameless" (2011).

Tom Welling, best known for his role as Clark Kent/Superman on Smallville (2001) was considered for the role of Goku. James Marsters, who plays Piccolo in the film, had played his nemesis Milton Fine/Brainiac on that show.

According to the film's make-up expert Ed French, it took four hours to apply the prosthetics to James Marsters to change him into Piccolo. At first it took 17 hours, but Marsters had difficulty breathing and Piccolo's look also seemed overdone, so some prosthetics were removed, thus shortening the time to 4 hours.

In one scene, Master Roshi wears shades. In the anime, Roshi always wore shades.

'Dragonball Evolution' was one of the films that Fox Studios owned the rights to for years but hadn't green-lit production for, but due to the Writer's Strike of 2007-2008 was finally pushed into production (this was also the case for The X Files: I Want to Believe (2008)).

To prepare for her role as Bulma, Emmy Rossum watched Dragon Ball (1986) and read the "Dragon Ball" manga.

Since Bulma and Yamcha develop a relationship, it was important for Emmy Rossum that she establish a good bond with Joon Park, so they spent a lot of time together getting to know each other; when Rossum learned Park was a musician, the two of them traded favourite songs between them to enjoy. Rossum learned two things: "Because everyone's taste in music is so personal, I've found music a very good way to get to know someone," and that Park loves classic rock.

According to James Marsters, his characterisation of Lord Piccolo is based on loneliness and revenge: "Piccolo is floating in the air in the beautiful landscape, but he never even admires the landscape; he is only thinking or musing and staring at his feet. I think that is a characteristic of Piccolo more than anything else. Maybe it must be a characteristic for revenge. He hates himself and blames the people who trapped him; his desire is to kill not only them but their family, furthermore to destroy the city and the planet they live and protect. To get revenge is everything to him. Everything."

Goku is seen in a poster wearing a sweatshirt with Japanese characters on them. These characters (actually the same one repeated over and over) are the Japanese character "kame", which means "turtle". This was the symbol any student of Master Roshi (who is also known as the Turtle Hermit) would wear.

Chi-Chi says she shouldn't be considered an idiot because of her name. This is a subtle reference to the fact that "Chi-Chi" is a Japanese term for "milk" or "breast."

Voice actor Christopher Sabat, who voiced the characters Piccolo and Shenron in Dragon Ball (1986), is credited as the voice of the Eternal Dragon Shenron in this film, even though his voice is not heard at all.

Appropriately, Justin Chatwin previously appeared in War of the Worlds (2005), as a character who had Dragonball toys on his bedroom shelf.

Justin Chatwin considers it an honor to play Son Goku: "He is a very important and epic character. He is always seeing the positive side of things, does good things, and always tries to help and take care of the weak, not only pursuing his power. He is a dependable and loving man as well as a boy". However, when Mexican media reporters approached him about the film during production, Chatwin quietly and nervously praises the film's take on the famous franchise.

During the early days of filming pictures were released to a Mexican newspaper called "Record". In that paper a full run down of what Dragonball was to be about as well as information on its director James Wong were given. However the pictures labeled as "the Director" and "actors" were nothing more than simple extras, in fact the picture of the supposed director was that of a chubby, white, blond haired extra, a huge contrast to James Wong who is of course a slim, Asian man.

Jamie Chung wanted to play Bulma and auditioned for the role, but she admitted that Emmy Rossum was the perfect choice for Bulma.

Bulma is dressed in black and purple clothes; the very colours worn by her son Trunks in Dragon Ball Z (1989).

While filming a fight between Son Goku and Mai, Eriko Tamura accidentally injured Justin Chatwin by striking his face a little harder than intended. She apologized over and over, but eventually they both laughed it off and went on filming; Chatwin claims that this incident enabled the fight to very powerful and intense, which fit the tone of the film.

In Dragon Ball (1986), Goku was a 12-year-old at the beginning of the story and 15 when he fought King Piccolo, but in Dragonball Evolution, he was made 18. He also does not have a tail in the movie.

The filmmakers decided to keep the number of characters in the film to an absolute minimum for a tighter story and better characterization. Therefore, sentient animals like Oolong and Puar were removed for realism, and fan-favourites like Tien and Krillin were removed for better focus on the core characters.

For the desert shots of a travelling Bulma to be perfect, Emmy Rossum had to ride the motorcycle in 4-foot sand drifts at a speed of 40 mph. It was an arduous experience ("40mph over bumpy sand dunes that is enough to make anyone a little queasy"), especially since filming would start at sunrise, and the bike would stall a few times and had to be dug out often; however, the cast and crew would assist each other and put everyone at ease for filming to continue well.

Goku is instructed by Roshi to carry all of Roshi's luggage on his back, while keeping up with Bulma's vehicle. This is similar to an event in the "Dragon Ball" manga where Master Roshi instructs Goku and Krillin to train wearing 50-pound turtle shells on their backs.

Japanese voice artists Hisao Egawa and Mami Koyama voiced Yamcha and the Narrator in the Japanese dub of the film (the Narrator is exclusive to the Japanese version). Egawa and Koyama have also worked in the Dragon Ball cartoons.