Meet Dragonball Evolution aka a crime against the entire Dragon Ball franchise.
Dragonball Evolution is based on the Dragon Ball story written by Akira Toriyama. The story follows a young Goku who's raised by the old martial arts master, Gohan. He later meets a girl named Bulma and together they embark on a journey to collect seven dragon balls. When all the dragon balls are gathered, the collector gets a wish.
Dragonball Evolution takes that original story and gives it a modern makeover. So instead of having Goku be a kid, he's now a teenager who attends high school. Instead of being set on an alternate Earth where dinosaurs and androids can exist alongside witches and three hundred year old martial arts gurus, it's set in bland every-day America. So yes, the big movie companies essentially cornered the franchise in an alley and beat it until it performed like a trained Oozaru.
What is Dragonball Evolution about?
When referring to this movie, the word "story" should always be accompanied by massive air quotes. Objectively speaking, this is the cinematic equivalent of that collage you had to make in grade school. It's just a bunch of cool things haphazardly stapled together the night before. Even disregarding the modern update, the entire Dragonball Evolution movie is still heavily formulaic and packed full of clichés. It's like the writers didn't even try. Like the order to make Dragonball Evolution was found written on a sticky note the morning it was due.
First off, the Goku in Dragonball Evolution isn't the Goku in Dragon Ball. He's every awkward teen protagonist to ever be inside a movie with an awkward teen protagonist who has to attend a high school at some point. Chi Chi is every love interest you'd find in the same kind of movie, starting off as the stereotypical girlfriend of the school's head bully. She's also sympathetic towards the main character. The villains are generically evil. Bulma feels tacked on since her capsule corporation doesn't make sense in the world the movie presents. They couldn't even get the kamehameha right. The only saving grace in the film is Chow Yun-fat as Master Roshi. Dragonball Evolution wouldn't have been so bad if it didn't damage the Dragon Ball franchise so badly.
Dragonball Evolution may have ruined Goku's future forever.
High octane battle scenes. Demons. Witches. An evil army with powerful androids. Dragons. Giant gorillas. Martial arts. Explosions. Dragon Ball seemed almost tailor made for the west. The one franchise Michael Bay could actually make more impressive. What Dragonball Evolution actually did though was obliterate any chances live action Dragon Ball had at success. Another big budget live action movie was never again made for western audiences. It wasn't until the 2015 YouTube fanseries Dragon Ball: Light of Hope, did the fan base get the live action adaptation they deserved.