Dragonball: Evolution is based on a manga series (that's Japanese for "comic book") that was also turned into an anime series (that's Japanese for "cartoon") and is now a movie that was not screened for critics before it opened (that's Hollywood for "we're not very proud of it"). I doubt it's what fans of the story have been hoping for all these years, as they've endured one delay after another in getting a live-action version to the screen, but it's not aggressively bad. It's more like a dumb, energetic puppy.

It is the story of Goku (Justin Chatwin), a teenager being raised by his grandfather (Randall Duk Kim), who teaches him the ancient ways of martial arts and, from the looks of it, the Force. Goku has supernatural powers that he has not yet learned to harness, including the ability, not unlike a video-game character, to throw colorful balls of energy. Grandfather urges him not to fight unnecessarily, but Goku is always being bullied by his classmates. "They push me so far that I want to explode!" he says. You know how it is -- the handsome, nice, sociable kids always have so much trouble making friends.

For Goku's 18th birthday, Grandfather gives him a cool-looking billiard ball with four stars on it. It is a dragonball -- and you better believe there's an angry dragon looking for it! No, I kid. It's called a dragonball because, I don't know, "dragon" sounds cool, I guess. There are seven such balls scattered throughout the world. If you were to assemble them all, you'd be entitled to have "one perfect wish" granted. Trouble is, a long-imprisoned demon called Piccolo (James Marsters) has been let loose, and he's trying to collect the seven dragonballs himself so he can have his own nefarious wish granted.