For manga and anime fans around the world, the story of Dragonball has to be at the top, or at least in the top 3 of their most beloved manga/anime stories ever written. There is already an existing live action Dragonball movie called Dragonball: The Magic Begins (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0122050/) made in Taiwan back in 1989. That movie tried really hard to stay as close as possible to the original story of Dragonball as written by Akira Toriyama, but it ended up being more of a comedy. The entire story also only went up to the Pilaf storyline, which was way before the first Piccolo appearance. This movie, although aged and not exactly a direct interpretation of the Dragonball story, was still appreciated by most fans due to the comedic entertainment value.
Now, another live action Dragonball movie has come, called Dragonball: Evolution. When the first few pictures of this movie appeared on the internet, a lot of the fans already predicted that the movie would turn out horrible because the characters don't look like themselves. The characters were heavily changed and westernized too much, especially Piccolo, the main villain, who didn't look like the one from the manga and anime. Fast forward to a few weeks before the latest Dragonball movie was released, a trailer was leaked on the internet. That trailer spelled the certain doom of the movie to the fans of the show. Most of the comments described the movie as "Not Dragonball, but another action movie".
This writer was fortunate enough to be invited to a private screening of the movie, and boy was I surprised! I was already expecting the movie to be bad and not a "real" Dragonball, but what I witnessed was something much more horrible! Granted that the movie was really different, but the way the movie progressed, the introduction of characters, the fight scenes, oh wow, you'd think it was a movie created by elementary kids who had no idea what Dragonball was about, except for the "Kamehameha" move and the 7 dragon balls, just with the financial backing of a millionaire.
Everything seemed rushed in the movie and characters would just pop out of nowhere and decide to join together to beat Piccolo. The love angle in the story seemed forced as well, everybody was simply out of character. Goku's a powerful but lame school boy, Chi Chi's a martial art school girl who can't even open her own locker, Master Roshi's some crazy dude living in the city (at least he still wears a Hawaiian shirt and seems a little perverted), Bulma became Lara Croft and Rambo combined in another body with a bizarre voice, Mai (originally one of Pilaf's hilarious henchmen in the manga) became a cold blooded, shape-shifting killer, Yamcha became a weird cross between a desert bandit who can't fight and a hobo with unwashed hair, and Piccolo became a weird vampire whose outfit seems to be inspired by the Matrix. I think only Grandpa Gohan was close enough to the original character, except for the way he exits the movie early on.
The fight scenes were lame. Dragonball was about epic sized battles that could not be contained in one location. Characters would get punched through mountains, cities would be destroyed, the earth would rumble and split up due to the massive forces of the fighters. In this movie, everything seemed so lame. Even the Kamehameha attack was used to light some candles! Talk about total weakening!
The only "good" things about the movie were the special effects, although the energy blasts seemed very weak.
My advise is, if you're going to pay to watch this movie, DON'T DO IT. Listen to what almost everybody has been saying because they're right, the movie is worse than what you currently have in mind!