Tentacle-Free Anime: "DBZ: Resurrection 'F'" (2015) Review
- by Kazekun, 17 August 2015
I don't know if any of you have noticed, but there's been quite the resurgence in the last few years of classic characters and stories that many of us remember from our childhoods. Not only in America has this become a phenomenon, but in Japan as well. One of these series making a comeback is none other than Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama. Not only did we get the movie Battle of Gods only a year ago, but we also got a new movie this year and even a brand new series. I'm here to cover one of those, and the other will come soon enough. Let the nostalgia rush begin...
Thanks to this resurgence in childhood shows, which has been both a blessing and a curse depending on the franchise, we've now gotten to see two DBZ films in theaters, something that I never once believed would happen when I was growing up. Seeing as how by the time I was a kid, all the DBZ films had already aired in Japan, and were just being released here in the States on home video.
That's right, I believe Resurrection 'F' to be superior to Battle of Gods.
Though the story isn't without its flaws, it's a Dragon Ball Z story so most of the fun comes from the action more so than the plot. However, I think this is one of the most sound plots Toriyama has conceived for this franchise in a long time. Opening up the story we get to see Frieza spending time in his own personal hell surrounded by the most vile things in the world: fairies and music playing stuffed animals. It's a wonderful montage that shows off why Frieza is even more angry after his death at the hands of Goku and Trunks, and particularly hellbent on revenge against the monkeys.
After that, we get to see Frieza's scattered army attempting to rebuild and failing, seeing no other option than to resurrect their own master using the Earth's Dragon Balls. Now, I’m not going to sit here and recap the entire film, but what follows is a story full of references, and we also get to meet Toriyama's latest creation Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, and we get to hear all sorts of comments regarding past events from the original series that just made my heart happy. The first real misstep the story takes is when Sorbet and Tagoma summon Shenron, and not only does Piccolo and Gohan feel Shenron's power, but neither of them make an attempt to go check up on what was going on.
Whether they would've arrived too late or not doesn't matter - the first big blunder of the movie is them just accepting that he was summoned and then patiently waiting to see what results the wish granting dragon wrought. They end up waiting 6 months while Frieza trains to reach a new form of power in order to take on Goku, and then rushes to Earth to face him once its complete. It's totally in character for the guy and even though we've seen him a million times before, Frieza still casts a foreboding image when he's on screen.
I also appreciated the attention to all the details Frieza is able to register after coming back. Like noticing that Gohan isn't the little boy he was when Frieza was last alive, or that him and Bulma are meeting for the first time this film even though she was on Namek during Frieza's whole ginormous story in the original series. I also like that Frieza even knows about Majin Buu, and was told by his father that there were two powerhouses he must never pick a fight with: Beerus from the previous film, and Majin Buu.
Gohan, Piccolo and a whole host of other Z fighters take on Frieza's army until Goku and Vegeta can arrive, and it's a really fun fight as each fighter gets their due in the sun and a chance to really show off moves of theirs we actually haven't seen in years. It was really nice, and it was nice to see Toriyama understanding that these characters all have their own strengths and they can still take on an army. Even when all seems hopeless.
Goku and Frieza's battle is just as epic as you'd expect it to be, even if it does more or less keep itself contained to one small bay area rather than being a literal Earth-shattering event. It was really great getting to see Super Saiyan God Goku go up against “Golden Frieza” as the form is called in the film, and I think it's particularly fitting that symbolically Frieza more or less turned Super Saiyan and Goku has still reached a higher form than what Frieza was able to achieve.
The entire last half of the movie is their fight, and while it is a shame that so much of what could've been an ever expanding story was halted by this big fight sequence, I feel if they'd drawn any of it out even further we wouldn't have gotten much of a fight and the fights are where DBZ shines as a series. However, once they got going I was immediately sucked out of the fight because during a lot of the close up hits and blows Toei Animation decided to use incredibly sloppy looking CGI and even as a brand new film the look hasn't aged well. It's frustrating too, because looking back the original series they obviously have the skills to make completely illustrated fight sequences so I'm not exactly sure why they went this route.
But it was not a good idea.
Although it's a little late in the game, Vegeta does get his long overdue comeuppance over Frieza and it's particularly pleasing to watch him finally able to go toe-to-toe with the white and purple gangster alien. Sadly, final glory is stolen right out from underneath Vegeta, but I understand why it had to happen and I'll just let you all discover that bit for yourselves.
Despite the severely lacking CGI, the animation for Resurrection 'F' is really crisp and I adore it so. Ever since they started using this new updated animation style for the series I've been craving more. Looking back at the original show, I still like the 80s raw animation style. There's a lot to love there, but this new style is just so clean and it makes everything look lovely. I really enjoy it. I'm looking forward to seeing it on a more regular basis now that I finally get to check out the new series: Dragon Ball Super.
The music too was full of interesting choices. A mix of Maximum the Hormones song 'F' which is literally a song about Frieza that they ended up making a few years ago before this movie was even made. An updated theme song by Momoiro Clover Z, so right there you got metal combined with frilly pop, and then during some of the later scenes we ended up getting operatic music which I thought was particularly interesting. However, the story was able to make these mish-mashes of genres work, spreading them out enough that instead of feeling like an unkempt storm of sound you get a pretty even assortment of tastes.
Overall, this was a really great film and I recommend for any DBZ fan to go watch it. Unfortunately, by the time you read this review the movie will be out of theaters as it only got a limited release. Don't worry though, it won't be long until the movie makes its way to DVD/Blu-Ray, so you shouldn't have a long wait ahead of you.
Happy 30th Anniversary Frieza, I hope your time in hell surrounded by music playing stuffed animals and magical sugar-coated fairies is especially tormenting. You truly deserve it.
Final Score: 4.5 Ways to Reach Your Final Form out of 5
Have you seen "Resurrection 'F'"? What did you think of it?