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File:Dbe small.jpg

An American Live Action Adaptation of Dragon Ball. The trailer can be viewed here.

Goku is a young high school student who must battle the evil space overlord Piccolo and retrieve the Dragon Balls in order to stop Piccolo's massive ape servant, Oozaru. Along the way, Goku loses his grandfather and meets an inventor named Bulma, a martial arts master named Roshi, and a bandit named Yamcha.

According to The Other Wiki, the movie grossed $30 million worldwide on its opening weekend, not covering its (variously reported) $45 million to $100 million budget.

Has a tie-in video game.

Not to be Confused with Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins or Dragon Ball Fight for Victory Son Goku.

Tropes used in Dragon Ball Evolution include:
  • Action Girl: Chi Chi
  • Adapted Out: Krillin is neither seen nor mentioned at any point.
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: A riff provided by TeamFourStar of the Dragon Ball Abridged series.
  • And the Adventure Continues...: The movie ends with the main characters heading off to look for the dragon balls again.
  • Anticlimax: Piccolo creates several creatures to fight the heroes. It takes the heroes about 10 seconds to defeat them. Then, Mai shows up. She takes another 3 seconds.
  • Ascended Extra: Mai was originally just a minor character who was a henchwoman to second-rate villain Pilaf. She also becomes an Adaptational Badass.
  • Ascended Fanboy: James Marsters referred to the anime as "the coolest television cartoon in the last 50,000 years."
  • Asian Gal with White Guy: Goku and Chi Chi. Gender inverted by Bulma and Yamcha.
  • Badass Grandpa: Gohan.
  • Badass Normal: Yamcha and Bulma, though they do almost nothing of consequence compared to Goku.
  • Beam-O-War: Sort of.
  • Beta Couple: Yamcha and Bulma.
  • Blood Magic
    • Piccolo creates creatures from his blood.
    • Mai uses a character's blood in a spell to mimic him or her.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Poor Grandpa Gohan.
  • Cleavage Window: Although Mai mostly has adequate protective gear, she leaves her chest unprotected. Huh.
  • Composite Character: Goku and Chi-Chi could just as well have been called Gohan and Videl.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Goku hops across a lava flow by using Mook bodies as stepping stones.
  • Conveniently-Timed Attack From Behind: Mai is chasing Bulma and about to deal a killing blow when Yamcha shoots her from behind. A deleted, alternate version of that scene actually has her impaled by shrapnel, but still taken out by Yamcha.
  • Dangerous Eighteenth Birthday
  • Deadly Dodging: When Goku is confronted by a couple of bullies at the big party, he informs them that he promised he wouldn't fight them - before smoothly allowing the bullies to beat the crap out of each other and the head bully's very expensive car.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bulma
  • Designated Girl Fight
    • In the only tournament fight shown, Chi Chi is fighting Mai. These are, most likely, the only two female participants.
    • During the final battle, Bulma must fight Mai alone for the Dragon Ball.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Goku takes on Piccolo, who is hyped all movie long as an extremely powerful badass. He isn't.
  • Dropped A House On Him: The sad fate of Gohan.
  • The End - or Is It?: The last shot of the film shows us that Piccolo has survived Goku's attack and is now being nursed back to health by a woman, for who all we know could be Mai in another guise.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Most of the bullies use the usual assortment of punches you'd expect from untrained jocks. The one Asian in the group, though, adopts a fighting stance and tries to use a flying kick.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: True to the source material, Oozaru is a giant monkey.
  • First Girl Wins: Chi Chi for Goku.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Goku is choleric, Yamcha is sanguine, Roshi is melancholic and Bulma is phlegmatic.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Mai has a scene that's all in (subtitled) Japanese.
  • Guns Akimbo: Bulma. Shame she misses everything she shoots at.
  • High School AU: No, seriously.
  • Hydra Problem: The creatures created from Piccolo's blood have the ability to multiply whenever their body parts fall off.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: At the beginning, Goku cares more about dealing with bullies and getting with Chi Chi than with his kung fu-ing.
  • Invisible to Normals: Ki attacks
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Bulma tries this with Mai.
  • Jerk Jock: One of the guys who bullies Goku at school.
  • Kamehame Hadoken
  • Kids Are Cruel: The Jerk Jock tries to run Goku down with his car.
  • Large Ham: Master Roshi and Piccolo.
  • Little Miss Badass: Chi Chi
  • Money, Dear Boy: See Ham and Cheese.
  • Necessary Drawback: Roshi tries to seal Piccolo again, even though it sucks out his life force. It doesn't work.
  • No Sell: When Mai takes on Goku, she lands a solid punch to his face. Goku doesn't seem to notice.
  • Not What It Looks Like: All Goku can say when Roshi catches him in his house.
  • Not Screened for Critics: Both American and Japanese.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: In lieu of Krillin, Yamcha and Bulma
  • Plot Induced Stupidity: Piccolo is shown crushing a house with his mind. Later, when a Dragon Ball rolls out of his grasp, why doesn't he mind-grab it?
    • It also doesn't make any sense as to why he dropped a house on Gohan instead of questioning him about the Dragon Ball.
      • Well, maybe he figured Gohan wouldn't have told him anything.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Let's face it, the original Dragon Ball manga and anime would be just too damn weird to make into an American film.
    • Though that's something like Fridge Logic since the Dragonball anime -has- been shown in the US for quite some time. While one could say that it might be too goofy for the mainstream (though there are goofy movies like The Neverending Story or Beetlejuice that made it to the mainstream), the only reason one would make a DB movie (as opposed to some other non-branded martial arts flick) would be to cash in on the name recognition.
    • Roshi in particular played up his "goofy mentor" role and played down his "perverted old man" personality. He still has his porn stash and managed a PG rated feel-up on Bulma, but requesting a Panty Shot would be a bit too much.
      • Observant tropers may have noticed his t-shirt, with a sexy anime girl in it.
  • Race Lift: In the original, everyone was vaguely Japanese. In this movie, the two leads are white and everyone else is Asian.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Goku's kept changing color after his transformations into Oozaru form.
  • The Reveal: It's no real shocker to those who are DB fans but Goku and Oozaru are one and the same.
  • Schizo-Tech
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Piccolo is originally bound up in a jar, but escapes offscreen. Subverted, sort of, when Roshi later tries to trap him again, Piccolo fights his way out.
  • Sequel Hook: See And the Adventure Continues... and The End - or Is It?
  • Shallow Love Interest: Possibly Chi Chi for Goku and defenitely Yamcha for Bulma.
  • Shout-Out: There are actually a TON of references to the original series including (but no limited to):
    • Goku makes mention of a race called "Nameks"
    • Gohan finding Goku in a crater
    • Goku eating a large chunk of meat off the bone
    • Picolo's ship looks like one often used by Emperor Pilaf
    • Goku being forced to train while wearing a large, heavy backpack
    • Piccolo giving life to creatures from his own body
    • Chi Chi's house resembling a giant castle
    • The World Martial Arts Tournament
    • Roshi's collection of porn
    • Goku's bike resembles the one Gohan rides in the opening to several episodes after the Cell saga
    • Speaking of, Goku's entire high school schtick early in the film resembles Gohan's Saiyaman arc in the anime.
    • Roshi's (mildly) pervy behavior
    • Roshi's terrible hawaiian shirts
    • The jar Roshi attempts (and fails) to seal Piccolo in
    • The Wish being used to revive Master Roshi
    • Bulma's capsule cars
    • Goku's hair: while preparing for the party (where he confronted the bullies), he spends some time styling it only to have it snap back into exactly its normal form, complete with sound effect.
    • A quick reference to "chi chi" being Japanese for "boobs" ("Just because my name is Chi Chi doesn't mean I'm an idiot"). In the manga, Master Roshi goes off muttering at one point about how the name Chi Chi would be better suited for the larger-chested Bulma.
  • Spot the Imposter: Goku had to do this when Mai disguised as Chi-Chi fights the Real Chi-Chi. It didn't go too well.
  • Stock Scream: of the Wilhelm variety.
  • Stock Subtitle: "Evolution".
  • Stock Footage: Paying close attention during Goku's "premonitions" whenever he acquires a Dragon Ball reveals that the movie uses a fair amount of stock footage. Examples include Armageddon and Independence Day.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: Goku and the gang must acquire all the Dragonballs before an upcoming solar eclipse, when Oozaru will return and joins Piccolo. When said eclipse appears, Goku transforms into Oozaru.
  • Tournament Arc: Averted; it looks like the World Martial Arts Tournament, but it has a different name, Goku doesn't fight in it, and it's barely shown.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The first chunk of the movie is focused on Goku's conflicts with school bullies. If your name was Goku and you lived way the hell outside the rest of the city with some creepy old dude who told you stories about aliens called Nameks, you'd get picked on too.
  • Word Salad Title: Dragonball Evolution. It Makes Sense in Context as being either an adaption or Rule of Cool.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Very much averted, as Bulma in the original story was conspicuously a blunette. In some scenes she's got one lock dyed blue, likely as a nod to the original.