Synopsis (IMDB): One peaceful day on Earth, two remnants of Frieza’s army named Sorbet and Tagoma arrive searching for the Dragon Balls with the aim of reviving Frieza. They succeed, and Frieza subsequently seeks revenge on the Saiyans.
In case you didn’t know before, I am a HUGE Dragonball Z fan. Even with the existence of Mr. Popo. I have many opinions about Dragonball Z and its characters, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review Dragonball Z: Resurrection F. Let me start with what’s cool about Dragonball Z: Resurrection F:
• Frieza! Even though there isn’t a lot of substance to Frieza this go-round, Frieza reminds us why he’s one of the most entertaining villains Goku and the gang have faced. It seems like he’s even more entertaining this time, what with his big vocabulary and his clever “contingency plan” if his first plan to kill Goku doesn’t succeed. To me, the most interesting thing about Frieza in this film is his high intelligence. It gives him a relatable bent which, to me, makes him even more terrifying. Also: Golden Frieza looks really cool.
• Gohan is still Piccolo’s son: Yeah, I know Gohan is Goku’s biological son, but let’s be real, okay? Apart from Chi-Chi, who has literally been taking care of Gohan and looking out for his well-being? Piccolo! “But Goku’s always dying to save the planet!” some might (and have) said. Well, at least one of those times, Goku could have come back but decided not to. “But it was still a sacrifice!” Okay, sir or ma’am. Okay. But whether not Goku’s dead (for whatever reason) or alive, guess who’s acting as Gohan’s dad? Piccolo.
To me, it seems like everyone knows this (except for maybe Goku, but maybe he feels it too) and everyone has accepted it as an open secret. Gohan sure has accepted it, because if Gohan’s around, Piccolo’s not far behind or vice versa. As a kid, Gohan would even dress like Piccolo. I say all of this to say that it seems like Gohan still announces his respect for and allegiance to Piccolo in his clothing; in Resurrection F, Gohan was wearing a green track suit. He could have chosen any color, but green? It’s like he unconsciously wants to match his green father-figure.
• Was there a Dragonball Z: Abridged influence or nah? I read in the credits that Christopher Sabat was the producer and vocal director. With Sabat having such a close relationship to the American dub of the film, I have a theory that Sabat let his love for Dragonball Z: Abridged, the popular online series by Team FourStar that takes old episodes of Dragonball Z and re-cuts, edits, and re-scripts them into funnier (and sometimes scarier) versions, influence how he directed the cast. I don’t know how much influence he might have had over Resurrection F‘s translated script, but the script itself seemed a lot more tongue-in-cheek, in the vein of Dragonball Z: Abridged. Is this a good or bad thing? It’s not a bad thing, and I enjoyed most of the humor, but I’m still not sure if it’s a complete good thing, since it doesn’t really mesh with the ’90s Dragonball Z scripts (in my opinion)…but the changes made for some good humor, so there you have it.
Here are some things that weren’t my favorite things.
• The slow start: I wish there was more story to the movie, because it become apparent that there’s not much to the story except for Frieza losing to Goku (this isn’t a spoiler; if you know Dragonball Z, then you know Goku has to win). It takes what seems to be a good 20 minutes for the actual story to actually begin. I could be wrong about that time estimation, but it definitely feels like 20 minutes. Even Frieza’s resurrection, which does occur within those 20 minutes, seems a little too light, seeing how Frieza’s commander quickly tracks down Emperor Pilaf, Mai, and Shu (who have been aged down from a previous wish in Dragonball Z: Battle of the Gods) who just happened to have mostly all of the dragonballs. The convenience of everything takes something away from the experience of seeing Frieza resurrected.
• The lack of individual fights: The main fight, of course, is Golden Frieza vs. Super Saiyan God Goku. But it would have been cool if some of the time that was used on jokes could have been used on individual fight set-pieces. They kinda did that by splitting up the gang and focusing on them fighting all of Frieza’s men, but one of the coolest things about the show was seeing each fighter do their best to take on the main villain. Having the group take on easily-beatable men is just passable, not something that’s meant for a theatrical experience.
• Krillin’s chauvinism: The one thing I always liked about Bulma and Chi-Chi were that they always made their presence known as strong characters. I don’t mean strong in that “Mainstream Feminism” way of “She’s a woman that can FIGHT!” No. What I mean is that they are characters who act like people, not stereotypical women. If they want to yell at someone, no matter how powerful, they’ll do it. If they want to be a part of the action, in the case of Bulma, she’ll be a part of the action. Remember: Bulma has been at almost every battle in Dragonball and Dragonball Z. She’s the one that started the original journey for the dragonballs, after all; it was her adventurous spirit that brought her in contact with Goku.
Once again, Bulma is on the front lines, challenging Frieza and calling on Beerus and Whis for help. But you know another woman who should have been on the front lines? Eighteen! As Krillin’s gearing up to leave home for the fight, Eighteen says that she should probably be the one going, since she’s stronger than him. Krillin says that while that might be true, she should stay home and take care of Marron. WHUT?!?! I get that someone needs to take care of the kid, but if Eighteen is stronger, it would be cool to have her strength out there in battle instead of at home! And, just to bring it up, Marron is the name of Krillin’s ex-girlfriend. Who names their kid after their ex?
Combined with the “stay at home” issue, Eighteen says to herself how “cool” Krillin is as he flies off. Really? I don’t remember Eighteen acting like this. It seemed off-character for her.
• The lack of resolution: There is a thing I don’t want to really spoil, and it’s between Vegeta and Goku, It’s a thing that’s not even that big, but it’s something that hasn’t been said in trailers, I don’t think. In any case, the thing that happens (something that Whis brings up) leads the audience to think that this particular bump in the road will get resolved at the end. It doesn’t. Or, rather, it doesn’t get resolved in a way that’s satisfying. That’s kinda annoying.
Overall thoughts: Dragonball Z: Resurrection F is fine for renting or watching on TV, but I wouldn’t go to the movies for it. There are certain elements that do make it fun to watch, such as some moments in the animation, the addition of animation that’s a mix between 2D and 3D, and some small character beats that are funny. The dub also keeps in the original Japanese music, which is cool (Frieza’s regeneration process is accompanied by death metal, which is very interesting to me). Surprisingly, the dub also keeps in the curse words! Goku curses, everyone! This is huge since it’s from Funimation, a company that, back in the ’90s, had “HFIL” in place of hell. But even still, is it worth going to the movies? I’d say no; you’re better off catching it at home. It’s a good diversion, though, and, if you were a fan of Dragonball Z back in the day, it’ll remind you of why you loved the show.
What are your expectations for Dragonball Z: Resurrection F? Give your comments below!