Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F Review

Guess who's back?

As an anime fan, it's pretty hard to describe just how important Dragon Ball Z is to the medium. If we're being honest here, most Americans probably wouldn't have been exposed to anime if it wasn't for DBZ. Back in the late 90's, anime wasn't as pervasive as it is now. There was no Attack on Titan, Naruto, or Death Note. Instead, you had a bunch of mediocre OVA's or the occasional series like Sailor Moon, but even then anime was still considered very underground. But Dragon Ball Z changed that. Most anime fans I talk to usually state that they either were introduced to anime with DBZ, or that they at least acknowledge that DBZ forever changed the face of anime. Now, Dragon Ball Z has been releasing a new movie every year since last year as well as airing a new show, Dragon Ball Z Super, so it's a very good time to be a DBZ fan. This year's movie was very highly anticipated however because of one reason; Resurrection F would be the movie to revive Freiza, the best villain in the franchise, to fight our heroes yet again on the big screen.

With Freiza dead after the events of the show, his army has been falling apart without him. They aren't nearly as feared as before, and their strength is a fraction of what it once was. Their new leader, Sorbet, decides to do the only thing that he knows will save the Freiza Forces; revive Freiza using the Dragon Balls. He succeeds, and Freiza immediately plans his revenge to not only kill Goku and Vegeta, but to destroy all of Earth for dying. Freiza trains, and eventually makes his way to Earth for a huge showdown between his forces and the Z Fighters. Given Freiza's new power and that Goku is now a Super Saiyan God, things are bound to get intense.

The very first second the movie starts, you'll be blown away by just how gorgeous this movie looks. It's so rare to see a 2D animated movie in theatres, but when one does come, it looks amazing. The animation is crisp, everything is colorful, and it just looks so beautiful. I'm a bit jealous of just how vibrant Resurrection F is. It makes me want to take a single shot from the movie and just make it into a mural on my wall.

Outside of the animation, this is pretty much a DBZ fan's dream come true. Nearly all of your favorite characters make an appearance (even Master Roshi!), have some good lines, and the characters that aren't there are explained in a pretty hilarious form. If you were looking for one of the best Yamcha jokes, there's one here. Even the newest characters Beerus and Whis are present in the movie, sporting a semi large role. I know I know talked about the previous film Battle of Gods, which introduced Beerus, Whis, and Super Saiyan God Goku, but needless to say, Beerus and Whis are delightful characters. Not only are they well designed and have great lines, but they're just so powerful to the point where even Freiza is afraid to see them. They might not do anything in this movie, but just seeing them is enough to make me happy they're there.

But let's get down to brass tacks. Let's talk about Freiza. Freiza is back, he's stronger then ever, and he sounds better then ever. He has the same voice actor as Dragon Ball Z Kai, but this is the first time in a while we've gotten to see original Freiza content. Before Resurrection F , if you wanted some Freiza goodness, you needed to watch the original Freiza Saga, play a video game that recapped the Freiza Saga, or even force yourself through Dragon Ball GT to see him. But now that he's back, it's like he's never left. There's a reason he's one of anime's greatest villains. He's cold, yet crazed. He's small, yet destructive. He's just a plain badass to watch, and seeing him fight in his new Golden Freiza form is frighteningly awesome.

Freiza and Goku now have even developed not necessarily a rivalry, but an understanding of each other and their tendencies. Freiza wants Goku at his strongest, and vice versa. They both understand each other, and seeing them fight is like watching two of the greatest warriors in existence duke it out again like old time. The character development is natural and seems to flow perfectly from where the series left them off. Even Vegeta got some great development when Freiza presented him an ultimatum towards the end of the movie. I'm tempted to call this Vegeta's movie, since he's the one that makes the most progression as a character, but let's be honest here, this is Freiza's movie. You're seeing this so you could see Lord Freiza one more time.

However, this movie wasn't without its flaws. As great as it was to see Freiza again, you couldn't help but feel like Freiza didn't really pose a threat to Goku or Vegeta at this point. Yes he's stronger than ever, but after Goku went toe-to-toe with a God, everything just seems like a step back. They even make several mentions to the fact that is Goku and Vegeta worked together, Freiza would be destroyed without any problems. Hearing that repeated again and again made me wonder if Freiza really was stronger than before, or if he was just brought back to please fans and drive in movie-goers. To be fair, this movie is in limited release, and the people that will see this movie most likely already saw it, but the fact still remains.

Not only that, but I wished there was a much stronger soundtrack in the movie. Several of the later fight scenes take place in dark, thundercloud ridden landscapes, yet the soundtrack is nonexistent. There was barely any music playing during the fight scenes, which makes them feel empty. It's been a while since I've seen the original show, but I'm fairly sure that was at least some minor background music during the fights instead of pure silence. It's fine when it's quiet during dialogue scenes, but not when there's Earth shattering action going on all around the characters.

Resurrection F was exactly what DBZ fans. They wanted action, and they got it. They wanted Freiza, and they got him. They wanted some genuinely funny moments, and they go it. I may have some complaints, but those were nitpicks at best. Resurrection F was a joy to watch on the big screen. It lived up to all of my expectations and provided me with a solid movie. It just sucks that we'll have to wait a little while longer to get some more big screen DBZ goodness.


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