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The Last Airbender Vs Dragonball Evolution Which One Is Worse

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada

These awful live action adaptations made fans rage quit. But which deserves the most hate? M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has been called the worst movie ever made. “Dragonball Evolution” was also universally panned however, disappointing fans of the manga and anime series. Which adaptation do YOU think sucks more? Let us know in the comments!

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/The+Last+Airbender+VS+Dragonball+Evolution Special thanks to our user Drew Boxall for suggesting this idea!

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Script written by Andrew Tejada

The Last Airbender Vs Dragonball Evolution Which One Is Worse


These live action adaptations filled their fans with rage. But which one deserves the most hate? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be diving into the worst parts of “The Last Airbender” and “Dragonball: Evolution”. Although vs battles are normally about finding a winner, we’re going to pick a loser this time around.

Round 1: Plot and Characterization


“Avatar the Last Airbender” follows a boy who uses his elemental powers to bring peace to a war-torn world. Instead of adapting a short storyline, director M. Night Shyamalan turned a twenty-episode season into a two-hour movie. As a result, the audience gets a barrel of exposition dumped onto them in every scene. The story is also bogged down by a relentlessly grim tone. The heavy mood makes comic relief characters like Sokka sound bitter and depressed. When the original source material got dark and detailed, the creators added humor to break it up, but there’s hardly any jokes in “The Last Airbender”. The movie’s emphasis on world-building and the show’s depressing elements gave us a bland and bleak adaptation.

In “Dragonball: Evolution”, Goku must prevent Piccolo from using the magical Dragon balls to conquer the world. While the plot sounds straightforward enough, the movie botches its premise in bizarre ways. The tone shifts between humor to drama at random, with a new plot hole appearing every ten minutes. The most bizarre changes are saved for the characters. Instead of being a pure and gifted warrior, Goku is a girl crazy high school student who spends the whole movie learning one move. If characters personalities weren’t radically changed, they’re removed like Goku’s best friend Krillin. But even if the characters had resembled their anime counterparts, they’d still be stuck in a messy story.

Although “Last Airbender’s” plot lacks the humor and flow of the source material, it at least tried to be a faithful adaptation. “Dragonball Evolution” butchers its narrative and series details so badly that the story feels both incomprehensible and unrecognizable from its roots.


LOSER: “Dragonball Evolution”


SCORE: “Dragonball Evolution” 1 / “The Last Airbender” 0

Round 2: Casting


The world of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is steeped in various Asian cultures and traditions. So, when three Caucasian actors were cast to lead the film, fans immediately called the film out for whitewashing. To add insult to injury, they hired Asian actors…to play all the villains. Although Shyamalan defended his casting choices, he couldn’t defend the terrible acting. Noah Ringer’s Aang and Nicola Peltz’s Katara deliver their lines with little emotion or variety. At the same time, Jason Rathbone’s Sokka is too over the top to take seriously. While Dev Patel’s Zuko and Shaun Toub’s Iroh gave decent performances, their acting couldn’t overcome the uneven cast or controversy.

Some claimed that “Dragonball: Evolution” was also guilty of whitewashing characters, due to the casting of Caucasian actors in the original’s Asian setting. However, to the movie’s credit, they got notable Asian actors like Chow Yun Fat, Jamie Chung and Joon Park to fill out some of the main roles. Unfortunately, none of their performances are consistent. The acting ranges from melodramatic to underwhelming in any given scene. Although James Marsters tried to make his villainous Piccolo three dimensional, he doesn’t get enough screen time to explore his character. While the casting decisions looked decent on paper, the actors struggle to make their roles look good onscreen.

Both movies made terrible casting decisions. However, “The Last Airbender’s” casting is much more problematic. In addition, Jason Rathbone earned a Razzie for his portrayal of Sokka. “The Last Airbender’s” infamous and controversial casting takes this round.



LOSER: “The Last Airbender”

SCORE: “Dragonball Evolution” 1 / “The Last Airbender” 1

Round 3: Dialogue


Shyamalan has been criticized for his, unique approach to dialogue. Unfortunately for him, his “Last Airbender” script didn’t help his writing reputation. Most of the dialogue is dedicated to exposition instead of character development. This makes all the characters sound like identical robots forced to deliver endless streams of information. When we’re not hearing exposition, the dialogue sounds awkward. Characters tell us how they’re feeling instead of showing it and say things no human being ever would. But the worst aspect of the dialogue is the new pronunciations of Aang and Sokka’s names. While that seems like a minor offense, the altered pronunciations can sound grating to loyal fans.



If you took a bunch of cliché fantasy lines and smashed them together, you might accidentally recreate the “Dragonball Evolution” script. The movie is littered with generic phrases like “remember who you are”, “the power was inside of you”, and “the prophecy”. As a result, the movie’s dialogue lacks any sense of originality or effort. The lines that don’t sound like they were ripped from a random fantasy novel are nonsensical and characters often make huge leaps in logic during their conversations. In addition, several characters have strange speech patterns that make dialogue even harder to follow.



As weird as “Dragonball Evolution’s” dialogue is, you can at least tell characters apart from one another. Every person we meet in “The Last Airbender” is just another exposition machine. And we just can’t let the Aang pronunciation go.

LOSER: “The Last Airbender”

SCORE: “Dragonball Evolution” 1 / “The Last Airbender” 2

Round 4: Special Effects/CGI


It cost over $100 million to realize “The Last Airbender” onscreen. But the final product didn’t always reflect the high budget. There are multiple points in the movie where the backgrounds stick out like sore thumbs. Aang’s adorable animal companions are turned into generic CGI creations that feel fake. Although the elemental bending can look impressive at times, the quality of these scenes is inconsistent. The effects for the earthbending scenes are particularly laughable. After spending millions on visuals, the creative team spent an additional 5-10 million for a last minute 3d conversion that brought down the movie’s quality even more.



Whether we were watching a transformation sequence or flashy attack, we could always count on the “Dragon Ball” franchise to deliver impressive visuals. The same cannot be said for “Dragonball Evolution”. Within the first few minutes of the film, we’re subjected to a ridiculous closeup of Goku’s CGI sweat. After that rocky opening, we’re subjected to poorly animated energy attacks and unconvincing backgrounds. But the pinnacle of horrible effects came during Goku’s ape transformation. Editors gave Goku a CGI face and chest that looks less realistic than a bargain bin ape costume. Despite having a budget of 30 million dollars, most of the effects can’t even compare to a low budget DBZ fan film.

Heading into this round, “The Last Airbender’s” large budget gave it an advantage. But “Dragonball Evolution” sealed its own fate with too many atrocious effects to count.

LOSER: “Dragonball Evolution”

SCORE: “Dragonball Evolution” 2 / “The Last Airbender” 2

Round 5: Fight Scenes


Bending matchups in “Avatar the Last Airbender” are fast paced and unpredictable. But the movie’s fights lack those crucial elements. Slow motion is so overused in “The Last Airbender”, that even Zack Snyder would find it excessive. When the fights move faster, they often lack bending or are completely one-sided. Speaking of one-sided, firebenders get a ridiculous downgrade. The movie’s firebenders must manipulate the fire around them instead of creating it from nothing. This gives them an obvious weakness that is almost never exploited. If the clashes had been more exciting, we might’ve overlooked this ludicrous change to the lore.

Do the fights in “Dragonball Evolution” measure up to the legendary clashes of its source material? The short answer is no. In the anime, you felt the impact of every punch. None of the hits feel remotely real in the movie. While the show’s fight choreography was brilliant and dramatic, the movie’s fights were either simple or played for laughs. The original series blew us away with stunning animation. The movie gives us bad effects and obvious wire work. Just when you think it can’t get worse, “Evolution” botches Goku’s legendary Kamehameha, somehow launching himself forward towards his enemy Piccolo.

If we only judged how the fight scenes compared to their source material, both films would tie for last. But when it comes to the movies, “Dragonball evolution” has a slight edge. While its serious clashes fall flat, its light-hearted fights can be somewhat amusing. “Last Airbender’s” fights are too slow, serious and predictable. Our final round’s loser by technical knockout is “The Last Airbender”.

LOSER: “The Last Airbender”

SCORE: “Dragonball Evolution” 2 / “The Last Airbender” 3

With a score of 3-2, “The Last Airbender” achieves its destiny of sinking to the bottom of the bargain bin.
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