Unleashing the Dragon: How the Live-Action Dragon Ball Movie Redefined the Franchise

Unleashing the Dragon: How the Live-Action Dragon Ball Movie Redefined the Franchise

Discover how Dragon Ball's live-action movie sparked a resurgence in the franchise, leading to the creation of Dragon Ball Super Find out the incredible impact this film had on revitalizing the Dragon Ball universe

Newer fans of the Dragon Ball franchise owe a great deal to Dragonball Evolution, a Hollywood movie adaptation that played a crucial role in popularizing the series. Created by Akira Toriyama between 1984 and 1995, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z were brought to life through an anime. Although Toriyama had a hand in designing some characters, Dragon Ball GT, the subsequent series, was not based on his manga and almost marked the end of the Dragon Ball world. Thankfully, Dragonball Evolution changed the game.

After extensive development, Dragonball Evolution was released globally in 2009. As the first high-budget ($30 million) live-action Hollywood adaptation of an anime with a massive fanbase, it garnered much anticipation. However, the film failed to meet expectations and is now infamous as one of the worst manga adaptations. Its poor reception even had a detrimental impact on the progress of future live-action anime adaptations.

Without Dragonball Evolution, Dragon Ball Would've Ended With GT

Apologies Made by Dragonball Evolution's Screenplay Writer Years Later

In 2013, the worldwide release of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods completely transformed the series. It brought in a whole new realm of cosmic proportions with the introduction of Beerus, the God of Destruction, and Whis, his angel companion. While Beerus took on the role of the film's primary antagonist, becoming a threat that Goku had to save the Earth from, Whis exhibited even greater power, effortlessly defeating Beerus with a single strike. This marked the inception of a new era for Goku and Vegeta as they set out to achieve an unparalleled divine level of strength. These new characters and their intriguing mythology laid the foundation for the subsequent development of the Dragon Ball Super series.

Dragon Ball Super Exists Because Evolution Was So Bad

Unleashing the Dragon: How the Live-Action Dragon Ball Movie Redefined the Franchise

In an interview with The Asahi Shimbun Digital, Toriyama shared more details about when he was approached with a story outline for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and how much he altered it. Following the disappointment of Dragonball Evolution, Toriyama was determined to have more creative control over the new DB project. Unexpectedly, his imagination took over and he ended up rewriting a majority of the film, including the dialogue. He explained, "Instead of pointing out problematic areas, I decided to simply write it out myself to save time. My intention was to provide them with a model, but my hand didn't stop and I ended up writing almost everything." After the immense success of Battle of Gods, the DB franchise was revitalized, and Dragon Ball Super played a crucial role in expanding its popularity even further.

Dragon Ball Super owes its existence to Dragonball Evolution, despite the criticisms from loyal fans of the older series. However, it's impossible to overlook the numerous positives that DBS has brought to the long-standing franchise. The stunning animation in recent films and the gripping final storylines have captivated a whole new generation of Dragon Ball enthusiasts. The exhilarating climax of the Tournament of Power, the introduction of Ultra Instinct, and the highly acclaimed Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero film would never have come to fruition if not for Toriyama's determination to prevent a repeat of the Dragonball Evolution debacle.