Monday, 24 August 2015

Dragonball Z: Resurrection 'F' (2015) - Movie Review

Right of the gate, the fact that Freeza, otherwise known as the best villain in the series’ history, is the antagonist this time around already makes this better than Battle Of Gods. As much as I like Beerus, he’s a lot better as the comic relief than as the main threat, something illustrated really well here as he and Whis spend most of the film being their adorably goofy selves while Freeza takes charge. He carries some of his original goofiness, mostly as a result of what his version of Hell turns out to be (Or, as a possibly funnier take on things, what everyone’s version of Hell turns out to be), but also the psychotic drive that makes him work so well. He’s a little too… well, fabulous in his new final form, but overall, he still makes for a marked improvement over Beerus; at least his motives extend beyond "a new challenger appears".

Aside from our big bad this time around, I really liked how the majority of Team Z got their turns in the spotlight here, given how BoG mostly focused on just Vegeta and Goku. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a Dragon Ball Z movie so they’re still the main focus but it’s nice to see that they aren’t the only focus amongst our fighters; hell, even Krillin gets an action hero moment during the battle with the Freeza Force. The fight scenes are traditional Toei animation, which whether you love it or hate it has always been pretty bare bones, but aside from a few budget-cut moments works really well here with the action set pieces. It follows the DBZ speed-line-heavy style but the physical attacks have the visual impact that they should possess, bolstered by some classic sound design.

This is very much a film for the fans, right down to an extended cameo from Akira Toriyama’s other famous creation, but kudos for how it explains enough about the plot background to bring newcomers up to speed without much hassle. I’m very much a surface fan of the series and haven’t seen everything it has to offer (despite my foreshadowing last year that didn’t pan out), and I didn’t feel like I was being left behind in the dust at any point. It even comes with a bit of lampshading its own convoluted history, what with it involving time travel and casually becoming a god and all that, but in a way that could get people interesting in what other bizarre stories this series has to offer.

The plot is fairly basic, and while it is definitely helped by the presence of a worthy villain (which also sets the tone to be a bit less goofy this time around), it still carries some of the tried-and-true DBZ contrivances. The convenient power level spikes and the cure-all Senzu beans may be staples of the franchise, but that doesn’t excuse how they still drag the film down somewhat. Yes, this is part of a shonen fighting anime franchise where plot is likened to sprigs of parsley, but a little more effort would have been nice as well.

All in all, this feels like a decent step-up from Battle Of Gods. The characters are well-utilized, the fight scenes are good and the animation works without the CGI clashing too heavily with the more traditional character designs. Between this and BoG, these newer Dragon Ball films helmed by Toriyama are looking pretty damn good and I eagerly look forward to when the next one comes out.

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