Very few things leave a scar on the collective pyschie of a group of fans like a terrible adaption of a beloved series and seven years later Dragonball Evolution still stands as the worst adaption of the beloved Dragonball/Dragonball Z franchise. It holds a 14% over at Rotten Tomatoes and has a user score of 2.7 over on Metacritic. This movie was bad.
Recently however Derek Padula over at The Dao of Dragonball reached out to writer Ben Ramsey to interview him for a book he is writing and in return he got back an apology addressed to the fans of the Dragonball world. Dan has since published it on his site and I’ve captured it below:
I knew that it would eventually come down to this one day. Dragonball Evolution marked a very painful creative point in my life. To have something with my name on it as the writer be so globally reviled is gut wrenching. To receive hate mail from all over the world is heartbreaking. I spent so many years trying to deflect the blame, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the written word on page and I take full responsibility for what was such a disappointment to so many fans. I did the best I could, but at the end of the day, I ‘dropped the dragon ball.’
I went into the project chasing after a big payday, not as a fan of the franchise but as a businessman taking on an assignment. I have learned that when you go into a creative endeavor without passion you come out with sub-optimal results, and sometimes flat out garbage. So I’m not blaming anyone for Dragonball but myself. As a fanboy of other series, I know what it’s like to have something you love and anticipate be so disappointing.
To all the Dragon Ball fans out there, I sincerely apologize.
I hope I can make it up to you by creating something really cool and entertaining that you will like and that is also something I am passionate about. That’s the only work I do now.
It is good to see a writer apologize, rare as it is in Hollywood for that to happen, and he does admit he is not a fan but the blame cannot fall squarely on him. After all a movie is the sum of its parts and while the writing was terrible nothing in the movie worked to the level it could have. The fight scenes, while I never expected it to be on level with the animation, at times barely qualified as martial arts, especially the final fight between Piccolo and Goku which is the cap stone of the Dragonball saga in the manga and anime show. I’ve included both the original animation and the Dragonball Evolution fight scene as an example.
There were ways this movie could have worked but I scrubbed my brain of it soon after I watched it and I plan to keep it that way.