Boy, can I put my foot in my mouth sometimes. In a recent article I wrote about how I don’t do movie reviews, and a week or so later I find myself writing one. Thankfully, this is the internet where everybody is super nice and no one bothers call anybody out on things they said that didn’t prove to be true, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine.
All right folks, I’m here to share my thoughts on the latest theatrical release of one of the biggest franchises of all time, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’.
It kicks ass. You should totally go watch it.
Okay, okay, I’ll go into more detail for them, Lord Frieza. Geez, calm down. Damn, he’s pushy. I think I’ve made my love for Dragon Ball clear around these parts already, so it might surprise you to know that I was more than a little worried going in to this. While I did enjoy Battle of Gods, it was truly from all my nostalgia for the series rather than the overall quality of the story, and I do agree with more than a few of Scott Johnson’s criticisms of that film. This makes me all the more happy to say that Resurrection ‘F’ avoids almost all the pitfalls of its predecessor.
The first right move is how this movie handles the fan service. Part of the problem with Battle of Gods was that it tried to fit almost every character from the series leaving large sections of the film dedicated to little more than “Oh look, it’s [INSERT NAME HERE], good ol’ [INSERT NAME HERE]”. Resurrection ‘F’ in contrast has us focus on a much smaller stable of the Dragon Ball cast and that means those characters that do appear have more chances to be funny and do cool fighting stuff. Krillin, Piccolo, Tien Shinhan, Gohan, and even the freaking Turtle Hermit himself, Master Roshi get time to be bad-asses and pull off some of their signature moves.
Speaking of being funny, this movie is a laugh riot. The humor comes fast and hard and is more integrated with the action this time as well as having some great character specific moments and jokes. Things like the great and mighty Piccolo staring out looking all cool and stoic as ever while sitting on the pedestal of a giant bronze Hercule (Mr. Satan, if you’re nasty) statue and gently rocking the crib Gohan’s daughter Pan is in with his foot is funny by itself, and get’s all the more crazy when you know the history of these characters.
They also bring the character of Jaco, a character Akira Toriyama created a few years ago in a shortly ran manga that tied into some of Dragon Ball’s earliest lore. Jaco is easily one of the best parts of this movie. A quirky egotistical one-liner delivering little space cop who thinks he knows it all getting caught up in the galactic and reality shaking madness that is the Z Fighters lives and happens to channel more than a little Bruce Lee when he fights. What’s not to love?!
Oh, and they brought back Frieza, one of the most popular and certainly the most well known villain in all of Dragon Ball. I suppose that might have been an important thing. The second most notable improvement is that there is a lot more fighting in this film. Big fights, smaller fights, comedic fights, dramatic fights…this movie has got them all! We all may enjoy these characters and how they bounce off each other, but this is a series about adventure and people beating the tar out of each other, and this movie is all about that. Additionally, Resurrection ‘F’ tailors the action set-pieces to fit the characters. They don’t all move the same way and do the same things. Each character is unique in the way they fight and tackle certain chaotic situations. However, not everything is perfect though. While the animation is fluid, the CGI elements are garbage and the fights sometimes go for these extreme angles that are not entirely flattering to the character models.
The version I saw was the dub, and though my personal taste when it comes to Dragon Ball is the original Japanese voice cast (not because I’m some anime snob, I think it just think it fits better with the series) I tip my hat to the Funimation crew as they knock this out of the park. At this point the English voices in my head for the characters swing towards the Team Four Star versions, but Sean Schemmel, Sonny Strait, and the rest of the bunch really gave it their all and made me fall in love with their interpretations all over again. The only hiccup for me is the slight change Chris Sabat has made in how he plays Vegeta. It isn’t bad or anything, however it sometimes sounds to me like somebody doing a Chris Sabat impersonation rather than the man himself. Again, not Sabat’s fault, it’s my mental hang up.
Look, this is a movie for the fans, if your little otaku heart thinks that this film is going to be a great gateway point for your friend/family member/significant other to get into the series then you are sorely out of luck. This is pure unapologetic Dragon Ball, and it isn’t going to hold your hand or explain everything. This movie expects you to have this shit down pat before you pop your butt down to watch it. It isn’t a total waste for the uninitiated and I feel that even a person coming in cold could have fun watching this, but they certainly are going to be bewildered by why the fanboy next to them is laughing or cheering so hard for large sections of the movie. Dragon Ball and its sequel series has amassed a whole bunch of in-jokes and references in its three decade old history, at this point they have to be well over…9,000!!!
The movie also thankfully doesn’t even pretend to be deep. It’s a big dumb melodrama with a bunch of punches, kicks, ki-blasts and explosions wrapped up in jokes with a good dash of optimism, and it doesn’t feel a damn bit of shame about any of it. If you’ve ever had any love for Dragon Ball, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check this movie out. While the theatrical run might be over, the disc and and (legal) digital streaming releases cannot be too far off. I know this is one I’ll be revisiting as soon as I can.
So, what do you good people have to say about Dragon Ball Resurrection ‘F’? Share your thoughts in the comments below.