Dragon Ball’s New Era Begins


I love Dragon Ball, especially Dragon Ball Z. I grew up with it, watched all the episodes, watched all the movies, and played all the video games. That said I’m still going to try my best to be objective about this movie review, despite my great, great love for the show. (I may go full DBZ nerd on you from time to time, I’m sorry in advance.)

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of F opens with Frieza’s army’s stand-in commander, Sorbet, attempting to resurrect their late master. When he succeeds, Frieza plots his revenge on the Saiyans that destroyed him. The plot is fairly simple, giving the movie ample opportunity to focus on the fighting.


And any Dragon Ball fan knows that the series’ appeal has always been the fighting. Our heroes battle foes that grow progressively stronger, to which the main protagonist, Goku, would always overcome via some new ability or transformation. It’s the Dragon Ball formula. It’s predictable, yes, but we eat it up anyway because of the flashy and vigorous way it’s presented. And it is that presentation that ultimately evolves in this movie.

Superficially, everyone will immediately recognize the HUGE leap in visual quality. The animation is more crisp, dynamic, and vibrant. Backgrounds and character’s auras are a given at different, more intricate treatment. There’s more thought put into the fight choreography. The anatomical movements look more fluid than what we used to see in the original show.


But on a subtler but deeper level, the fighting seems to have slightly shifted its “fight structure” (if you can call it that). The original Dragon Ball was a martial arts show, while DBZ was generally the more magical counterpart, focusing on high-energy, world-devouring Ki (energy blasts) battles. In the film, it was a balanced mix of both. While still being able to fly and emit energy waves from their hands, the plot and dialogue gave more grounding/logic to their fighting. The fighting is given a science, in a manner of speaking.

DBZ is traditionally very linear when it comes to who’s more powerful than whom – character A is more powerful than character B, who’s more powerful than character C, and so on. It was simple and very easy to understand. But now, factors like styles, fighting sense, fatigue or lack of training, can all suddenly come into play. These new considerations have contributed to making Dragon Ball Z a more complex martial arts show where the battle isn’t already predetermined simply by who’s perceived as physically stronger. In that respect, this puts DBZ in a similar vein to shows like Hunter X Hunter.


It was kind of stressful thinking about it, really. As DBZ fans, we’re so used to thinking “But Goku already beat Frieza, so it’s impossible for Frieza to be at his level.” We automatically refer to this imaginary scale in our heads about who ranks up to whom in terms of power level. So it was a bit of a frustration. Watching the movie will force you to let a few things go and make giant leaps of fate. My advice: just take it as a standalone thing, and try to forget the history of the show a bit. Just let yourself enjoy the spectacle.

In case you didn’t know yet, there is going to be another installment in the Dragon Ball series called Dragon Ball Super. It’s set to be released this coming July. And the reason I say this is because Resurrection of F seems to function as sort of a prelude to the upcoming series (as opposed to the more homage installment last year, Battle of the Gods).

Another development in the movie, and probably the most noticeable one, is the new Super Saiyan system. The iconic, golden-locked, Super Saiyan 1, 2 and 3, is now obsolete, as the movie introduces a new form of Super Saiyan. Can’t say I’m a fan of the new look, but maybe I’m just not used to it yet. At any rate, it’s still pretty cool to see the new transformation!

Super Saiyan Bromance!

The new Super Saiyan form, new costumes, new fighting structure, and a new, strengthened dynamic between Goku and Vegeta seem to hint at where the show is heading this July. If I’m right, then so far, I’m liking what I’m seeing!

Some other notes: it was disappointing to find some characters absent in the movie, especially ones who could’ve really helped in the battle with Frieza. But on the brighter side, how awesome was it to see Master Roshi fight again?? Good to see that pervy geezer can still hold up his own in a fight!

Wooh! Master Butin!

I especially enjoyed how Vegeta, a character I have loved since childhood, has finally been given an overdue spotlight. I’m excited to see how this elevated status, from supporting character to co-protagonist, will play out in the series!


There was also a good amount of humor to break some of the long, strenuous action beats. They didn’t come as natural as it did in the last movie, but still pretty fun. And it’s a gripe that barely registers.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of F brought a lot of high-octane action we’ve come to love from the franchise and turned it up a notch. The visuals were stunning, the animation was seamless and the fighting structure has matured. It was kind of a return to its martial arts roots making every blow resonate even more. Even though the profuse amounts of action make it a tad draggy, some humor felt forced, and you can feel certain wheels turning, it was still a very strong addition to the Dragon Ball mythology and a must-see for all self-respecting Dragon Ball fan!


Seriously, this movie needs more love. I was genuinely hurt by how small the audience was when I watched it. The movie opened last June 10 and can be seen in selected SM cinemas! Go watch!

No comments:

Post a Comment