Dragon Ball Z. The name alone brings memories of spending hours trying to Kamehameha or trying to turn Super Saiyan. For many, its an intense action show with lots of drama and multi-episode fights. It’s iconic and it has set the bar for the action genre. I found a showing of this playing at my local theater . Rushed down and bought a ticket, (only four left). I walked in to a packed theater with people my age and young fans who love DBZ. I cannot tell you how happy that made me.
Resurrection of F takes place 10 years after the Majin Buu saga (the last canonical arc of Dagon Ball Z) and a few months afterBattle of the Gods, the previous movie. If you haven’t seen Battle of Gods, Beerus is a Destroyer God and Whis is his care taker/mistake fixer. Goku and Vegeta couldn’t defeat them in the last movie so they are receiving training from Whis to attain new heights. Freiza, one of the most iconic villains of the show, has been dead for a decade and is suffering in his own personal hell. In a stroke of desperation, his soldiers use Earth’s Dragon Balls to resurrect him. Freiza then spends the next six months training to become strong enough to exact his revenge. A brief time skip and we now have Frieza invading earth and the what winds up to be a roller coaster of a movie. When I say roller coaster, I mean the thrills are real. This is almost exactly what I want from a DBZ movie.
Toei Animation almost crushed it with the visuals on this movie. There is a strong blending of traditional hand drawn animation and 3D model usage. The two are blended quite well but there are still a few seams visible in this other wise stunning tapestry. There are a few times where the 3d looked like it could have used a bit more time in the oven. The overall look however, is quite good. The 3D fight segments looked like they were made using assets from DragonBall Xenoverse (A great game) and transposed them here. This is not a bad thing as Xenoverse had some great animations. There are also scenes that do an instant transition from 3D back to hand drawn and it is remarkable how well it works. The actions is crispier than bacon on a hot pan and you can see everything very clearly. This adds to the enjoyments of the fights but also to the intensity. DBZ is known for quick action, hard hits and lots of energy blasts…all wonderfully done here. The fact that the less powerful characters get about a half hours worth of ass kicking is a blessing in itself.
I’m also pleased to say this movie also hits high marks in it’s other departments. Fine animation has little power without sound, Resurrection of F kicks things up a notch there. Sean Schemmel as Goku, Christopher Sabat as Vegeta and Christopher Aryes as Frieza really have the dubbing on lock. They were not the only ones who shine but these three absolutely are the best of the group. The writing is total A-game material. Every character has lines that fit and the delivery is snappy. DBZ is known for a lot of screaming and grunting, this still the case but the caliber of delivery makes it easy to soak it all up.
The movie rounds things out with an excellent original score and use of one of my favorite songs of all time: “F” by Japanese band Maximum the Hormone. The song was written sepcifically about Frieza soo the inclusion is almost a joke in it’s inclusion…..That’s actually not the case at all. The use for Frieza’s Revival scene and instrumental use of the song during a particularly intense stretch of battle is just brilliant. The original score also puts a strong emphasis on certain scenes to great effect. I don’t really need to go into detail here because the work speaks for itself. It’s non-intrusive and it sounds great overall.
For all the praise I can give this movie, there is one section that is a tad weak: story. To be fair, the movie doesn’t need a terrible amount to make things work. There are two things that stood out to me. The first was at the ending. I cannot say what it is for fear of spoiling it. But I will say that the reason required for it is not a good one. The other is robbing Vegeta of something that would actually have been poetry in execution. Vegeta has always been one step behind Goku, but this movie he proves he is every bit his equal…..only to moments later be stripped of that. Totally unfair. This always happens and it could have bucked the trend. Again, this could just be me because Vegeta holds the spot for my favorite character. I wonder if the film had taken a slightly different approach to it’s last quarter that would have achieved a better result. Those are my only real complaints.