Tentacle-Free Anime:​ "Dragonball: Evolution / The Last Airbender" (2009 / 2010) Review (2023)

Tentacle-Free Anime:"Dragonball: Evolution/Last Airbender"

- by Kazekun,12 October2015


It's horror month. Let's just do this.

Tentacle-Free Anime:​ "Dragonball: Evolution / The Last Airbender" (2009 / 2010) Review (1)

Episodes: 2 (Both are movies);
Directors: James Wong / M. Night Shyamalan;
Studios: 20th Century Fox / Nickelodeon Movies & Paramount Pictures;
Ratings: PG

Summary for Dragonball: Evolution(2009) - On his 18th birthday, Goku (Justin Chatwin) receives a mystical Dragonball as a gift from his grandfather. There are only six others like it in the whole world, and legend has it that whomever possesses all seven will be granted one perfect wish. When the arrival of a dark force triggers a tragedy, Goku and his companions (Chow Yun-Fat, Emmy Rossum) are propelled into an epic quest to collect the seven Dragonballs and save the Earth from destruction.

Summary for The Last Airbender (2010) - The four nations of Air, Water, Earth and Fire lived in harmony until the Fire Nation declared war. A century later, there is still no end in sight to the destruction, then, an Avatar named Aang (Noah Ringer) discovers that he has the power to control the four elements. He joins forces with Katara (Nicola Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka, to restore balance and harmony to their world.

So by now, most of you are probably familiar with the hilarious yet enraging disasters that both of these movies were. Well, for horror month I decided to do a review on these fear inducing, mouth frothing narratives. But instead of doing two different reviews, I'll be reviewing them simultaneously as there's no reason to repeat myself. Because both movies suffer from mostly the exact same issues.

Tentacle-Free Anime:​ "Dragonball: Evolution / The Last Airbender" (2009 / 2010) Review (2)

​So, why are these two films so bad? They're both based off of wonderfully popular shows with incredibly rich worlds to explore and solid narratives that – in theory – should be pretty hard to screw up. They both feature lovably powerful protagonists that take on a sort of “chosen one” role in their respective series, which is a common narrative to mess around with. There is an abundance of creativity in the cultures of both worlds, and a ton of comedy all around.
Also, let me preface this going in by explaining that I am aware
Avatar: The Last Airbenderis not an anime, but it is inspired so heavily by anime that it becomes a blurred line a lot of the time. Much like RWBY. So I feel it still fits within the confines of me reviewing it here, it just happens that we'll be starting the eventualAvatar: TLAsaga with the abysmal live-action movie.

Well, it's hard to really think about what was going on in both the minds of James Wong and M. Night Shyamalan. But it may not be far from the truth to imagine that both directors were keeping in close contact with one another and giving the other tips on how to royally screw up each other's films. Examples in both films include, but are not limited to: Mispronunciations of many character's names, this is most prevalent in TLA as Aang which is originally pronounced with a long 'A' sound is changed to Aang with a short 'o' pronunciation. And the Kamehameha technique in DBE is changed from an energy beam to an “airbending” move.

Coincidence? I think not!

Continuing with the examples, both films also feel as though the directors purposely want to keep the viewer at arms length of actually experiencing this world. Part of what works for both DBZ and A: TLA as epics is that we don't just rush from one story to another with flimsy “plot threads,” if you wanna call them that, holding them together. We slow down, explore the world these characters are inhabiting and get a sense of scale. What is really at stake if these character's lose the battle? We don't get that.

Tentacle-Free Anime:​ "Dragonball: Evolution / The Last Airbender" (2009 / 2010) Review (3)

Aang and Katara practicing waterbending in what is probably the only scene in this film I actually enjoy

​WithThe Last Airbender, Aang, Sokka (now called Sokka with a long 'O' sound instead of Sokka with a short 'o' sound) and Katara bounce continent to continent in what I can only assume was a few weeks at best as Shymalan rushes through storylines without giving us a chance to really get a look at what this world looks like. Consequently this also takes out many key moments for the character's that help let them grow and drive them. There's no reason for Katara and Sokka to care so much about Aang in this film. He doesn't do anything to make them see him as a friend, he's the avatar and a random boy they found in the ice: therefore the story dictates they “protect” him and that's all it should've amounted to given the time constraints Shymalan put on the story.

And with Dragonball: Evolution, literally Dragon Ball which this movie is pulling most of its inspiration from is a story of adventure about a boy who doesn't know anything about this world that surrounds him going out and discovering it for himself. For DBE, Wong compeletely disregards that and makes Goku a teenager who knows all to well what it's like to be a social outcast but doesn't give him any sort of innocence. He's actually a dick for the entire film and doesn't go through any actual character arc. And as fast paced as this movie is, making sure we get to point a to point b in any way neither Bulma nor Yamcha should've had a romance, and yet it's there because the director dictates it be there.

This leads us into our next example: Completely disregarding canon because the director thinks it will work better. I've already touched a bit on it with DBE, making Goku a dickish teenager instead of an ignorant child, but adding in Yamcha being a complete “ladies man” when his most defining feature as a character when we first met him was that he had a considerable phobia of talking to women. Piccolo is a completely 2-dimensional baddie who is angry because he was imprisoned or 2,000 years but WHY was he imprisoned? What drove him to be evil in the past that he had to be imprisoned? The great monkey that Saiyans turn into on a full moon is changed to a solar eclipse and also instead of being a giant monkey that's bigger than a mountain we get a large werewolf like creature that's barely taller than a normal sized man.

Tentacle-Free Anime:​ "Dragonball: Evolution / The Last Airbender" (2009 / 2010) Review (4)

Ah, the all-powerful Oozaru appears

​I could go on an on about the incorrect canon of DBE, but you get the gist of it. Now, what about TLA, eh? Well many key moments are left out of the story or changed entirely, such as Katara getting her waterbending scroll by it being given to her. Saving her from the “disgraceful”, yet incredibly character defining moment from the original series where she flat out steals it from Pirates who at the time were not doing her any harm. Sure, there's a whole thing about how they originally got the scroll, but that doesn't change the fact that she stole it. Movie Katara would not be so ballsy.

Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation is an incredibly defined character that grows from an honor bound punk to probably one of the most conflicting anti-heroes in recent fictional imagination. It takes many, many episodes to reach that point and while he thankfully doesn't reach that point in the film, his character arc is incredibly rushed nonetheless and many of his key moments – such as the Blue Spirit arc – are left with little to no explanation as to why they're even happening. They were “cool moments,” so Shyamalan is going to stick them in there.

There's also a very big elephant in the room that is TLA in that we get to not only see the face of Lord Ozai of the Fire Nation, but we also get to interact with him in several scenes. The literally goes against everything that is Ozai as a character, who is the shadowy lord and no one really knows what he looks like outside of the heart of the Fire Nation, because he likes it that way. We're not supposed to get to see him until much, much later in the series, so having him shown at all goes against much of the first Book (or season) that this film is based off of.

The comedy for both of these films of overworked and childish, attempting to capture innocence and instead floundering into idiocy. The characters, all of them in both films, are incredibly de-powered and every “epic fight” is really just a bunch of people running around being like putties to the equivalent of heroes being Power Rangers. In that if you're not a main character, you suck at fighting. And even the main characters all suck at fighting. The choreography is all sloppy, and the effects are abysmal. Such as the “energy beams” or “airbending movies” of DBE look like stylized and colored puffs of smoke, and there is a specific scene in TLA where it takes SIX Earthbenders to pick up a single – not that large really – stone and slowly move it across the screen until a seventh guy came in and pushed it into the enemy. Like, really?! These movies...

Tentacle-Free Anime:​ "Dragonball: Evolution / The Last Airbender" (2009 / 2010) Review (5)

It's a small gif but here is the 6 Earthbenders that had to work together to move a pebble.

​Look. I've been trying very hard not to rage out on these films. But I have to wonder how these two directors could've gotten SO MUCH wrong. They definitely did not research the source material, they couldn't have, because what these two films are based on are so much better. That's not even bias, it's true. I know there's no sense in beating a dead horse, and I've really only touched on a bit of what is truly wrong with these two films. There's still so much more I didn't even get to talk about. But this review is reaching unending territory and I need to stop before I continue to ramble.

The movies SUCK. They are horrifying atrocities, and I promise that if you are fan of either show and have not seen these movies, you will scream in agony when/if you ever do. But take my suggestion and stay far, far away from them. My burn list of films is very short – it's a list of films I feel all copies in this world should be burned. And these two movies are on that list.

Just... stay away. You'll be a happier person for that.

Final Score: Did you really think I was going to give them one? No. I will not. I don't care enough.

P.S. - Next review will be about an anime that's actually good, and fits perfectly with horror month. Get ready for some – oh, let's just say, vampiric justice. See you then!

Are you the one person in the world who would disagree with the final verdict?!? let us know what you think below!

Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime, .

Tentacle-Free Anime:​ "Dragonball: Evolution / The Last Airbender" (2009 / 2010) Review (6)


Tentacle-Free Anime:​ "Dragonball: Evolution / The Last Airbender" (2009 / 2010) Review (7)

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Was Dragonball Evolution a flop? ›

The film was both a financial and critical failure. It received negative reviews by both critics and fans, particularly for its script, cast, and unfaithfulness to the source material.

Was Dragon Ball Evolution a success? ›

Not only that but it did terrible in rating and only made $9.4 million in North America and $58.2 million world-wide from a $30 million dollar budget.

What race is Goku? ›

Goku comes from a race of now nearly extinct extraterrestrials called Saiyans, himself having been sent from their home planet to prepare Earth for sale on the intergalactic market by destroying all its life.

Why is evolution not always good? ›

Firstly, selection can only act on the available genetic variation. A cheetah, for example, can't evolve to run faster if there is no 'faster' gene variant available. Secondly, the body has to work with the materials it already has. It can't make something out of nothing—that's why winged horses are the stuff of myth.

Who is No 1 in Dragon Ball? ›

1/20 Zeno Is The Strongest Character(s) In Dragon Ball

Zeno's power to remove entire Universes from existence without even breaking a sweat is proof of the fact the Omni-King is the strongest being in the entire Dragon Ball series.

How old is Goku? ›

Goku's chronological age at the end of Dragon Ball Z is 44, however, his body is that of 37.

Which Dragon Ball transformation is the best? ›

Dragon Ball: The 10 Best Transformation Scenes, Ranked
  • Super Saiyan God Goku - Battle of the Gods. ...
  • Great Ape Goku - Against Master Roshi. ...
  • Super Saiyan Rosé Goku Black - First Appearance. ...
  • Ultra Ego Vegeta - First Appearance. ...
  • Super Saiyan 3 Goku - Fusion Reborn. ...
  • Super Saiyan Future Trunks - History of Trunks.
1 Jun 2022

What is Goku's full Saiyan name? ›

Son Goku, born with the Saiyan name Kakarot, is the main protagonist in the Dragon Ball manga and anime. Goku is a Saiyan from Planet Vegeta.

Is evolution always slow? ›

CORRECTION: Evolution occurs slowly and gradually, but it can also occur rapidly. We have many examples of slow and steady evolution — for example, the gradual evolution of whales from their land-dwelling, mammalian ancestors, as documented in the fossil record.

What is the problem with evolution? ›

A common objection to evolution is that it is simply too unlikely for life, in its complexity and apparent "design", to have arisen "by chance".

Why does evolution have no goal? ›

Evolution has no purpose; it simply happens. There is no reason to assume that evolution comes with some objective “improvement”. The only thing that is constantly improving is the adaptedness of individuals to their given environment.

What happened with Dragon Ball Evolution? ›

The original film was so poorly received that even if it had performed well financially, Dragonball Evolution 2 still may not have happened. In the years since the filmmakers and even creator Akira Toriyama have acknowledged the movie just didn't work, so it's best a follow-up was cancelled.

Is Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero a flop? ›

The film grossed over $93 million worldwide, becoming the second-highest grossing Dragon Ball film to date, as well as the second highest grossing film branded as "Dragon Ball Super".

What Dragon Ball movie made the most money? ›

The Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie now has a box office to beat out other anime film competitors. The earning projections for the movie record an estimated $34,932,582 USD after Labor Day weekend. That estimate brings the film above Jujutsu Kaisen 0, which earned $34,542,754 USD.

Was the Broly movie a success? ›

The film was a box office success, grossing over $124 million worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing Dragon Ball film ever.

Who is the villain in Dragonball Evolution? ›

King Piccolo Daimao is the main antagonist of the 2009 action film Dragonball Evolution and its novelization.

Is Dragon Ball inspired by Naruto? ›

10/15 Naruto's Masashi Kishimoto Drew Inspiration From Dragon Ball And Goku. Masashi Kishimoto has admitted that he started working on manga because of Dragon Ball and Goku in particular. It's not difficult to see the influence either — Naruto and Goku are both big eaters with a taste for battle.

Who is the strongest hero in Dragon Ball Super? ›

1/20 Zeno Is The Strongest Character(s) In Dragon Ball

Zeno's power to remove entire Universes from existence without even breaking a sweat is proof of the fact the Omni-King is the strongest being in the entire Dragon Ball series.

How is the No 1 super hero? ›

Superman. One of the most popular superheros today is still Superman. If anyone can challenge the popularity of Batman then it would have to be Superman.

Who is the richest character in Dragon Ball? ›

11/15 Bulma Had An Extremely Wealthy Father (Dragon Ball)

Being Dr. Briefs' only child, Bulma is set to inherit everything, making her easily the most affluent character on the show.

What is the highest earning anime? ›

Dragon Ball (1986 - ) - $27.7 Billion

Another juggernaut of the anime industry, Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga and the wider franchise are one of the IPs most synonymous with the anime genre.

Is Dragon Ball bigger than Marvel? ›

Dragonball or Marvel? Marvel is way bigger.

Can Broly beat Jiren? ›

Broly, like all Saiyans, is powered by sheer rage, and should he go into a fight angry, he may catch Jiren off-guard. While engaging in a normal bout, however, Jiren has a definitive edge.

Can Goku win Broly? ›

During the Tournament of Power, Goku managed to gain the powers of Ultra Instinct, and during the Moro arc, he learned how to use the Ultra Instinct Sign at will. Strong as he is, Goku's chances of defeating Broly are still very low.

Why didn't Goku use ultra instinct against Broly? ›

The in-story reason for this is provided in the Dragon Ball Super manga series. Speaking with Vegeta, Goku reveals that ever since the Tournament of Power ended, he's been unable to repeat his Ultra Instinct transformation, implying that the power can only be used in the direst of situations.


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