Dragonball Actor Apologizes For Ruining Movie

By Robert Scucci | Published


When filmmakers deviate from the source material that inspires their movies, you can always expect mixed results. Dragonball Evolution, from 2009, is a prime example of a live-action anime adaptation gone wrong in every conceivable way according to fans, critics, and even the film’s star, Justin Chatwin. Chatwin, who portrayed Goku in the adaptation, even issued a public apology to Dragon Ball creator, Akira Toriyama, after his passing on March 1.

Everyone Seems To Regret Dragonball Evolution


Chatwin’s farewell apology to Toriyama didn’t beat around the bush, and his statement leaves little room for ambiguity. Owning up to the creative missteps that the film took, he simply said, “sorry we messed up that adaptation so badly.” Given Dragonball Evolution’s rock-bottom 14 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, he’s not alone in expressing this sentiment.

In fact, screenwriter Ben Ramsey expressed similar regrets to the Dragon Ball fan base back in 2016. Ramsey admitted that he wasn’t necessarily passionate about the project or the manga’s lore, but rather more interested in securing a solid gig, which led to less-than-desirable results. While those involved with the live-action adaptation owned up to their involvement in tarnishing the Dragon Ball legacy, Evolution’s existence proves that if movie studios don’t get the right talent involved, they should expect the end result to alienate the target demographic that they were making the movie for in the first place.

The Source Material Isn’t Always Right

It’s worth noting, however, that deviating from the source material is often a necessary evil when filmmakers want to adapt an unwieldy amount of source material into an easy-to-digest feature film. We’ve seen it done successfully with the Dune franchise, as well as Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, both of which proved to be massive hits. In other words, if there’s a burning passion behind the production, which Dragonball Evolution was lacking, a whole new world of possibilities can be explored if the core elements of the original intellectual property remain intact.

Toriyama Wasn’t Happy With The Film


Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama also expressed his dissatisfaction with the film before his passing, and placed blame on the producers for not listening to his input. When the film was in production, Toriyama told the studio that their adaptation was uninteresting and failed to capture the essence of his manga in a way that would win over his core audience. If his input was taken more seriously, we may have had a solid film on our hands.

Toriyama even stated in a 2013 interview with Japanese Newspaper Asahi Shimbun that he couldn’t in good conscience call it a Dragon Ball movie.

Evolution Was An Objective Failure


Dragonball Evolution failed critically and commercially, which resulted in a number of sequels being cancelled. If the film was successful, there could have been at least three films and as many as seven that further explored the manga’s established lore as well as narrative arcs found in Dragon Ball Z. But in order for a sequel to get the green light, there needs to be a significant financial return at the box office.

Against its budget of $30 million, Dragonball Evolution only earned $56.5 million, which is hardly enough to get studio executives out of bed in the morning to pursue future installments.

A Live-Action Course Correction Could Have Worked

We weep at what could have been, as it seems like Toriyama was willing to steer the ship in the right direction and give us the Dragon Ball adaptation that fans truly deserve.

Source: IGN