Are…are you serious? I have a hard time believing that THIS is the return of Dragonball Z’s most notable villain and a good majority of the masses are happy with it. Maybe it’s because I am long past the point of liking, much less caring about, the Dragonball universe, but I thought Battle of the Gods was pretty damn good, so that left the door open for me to warrant interest in Frieza’s return movie. The lesson learned, as far as I know, is if you’re going to make a movie where the genesis is a Japanese metal band doing a song about the character, you can get away with making it stupid.
STORY: Generally the story really never matters in these DBZ films, it’s not like context of the plot ever has cohesion with the franchises’ overly bloated, ridiculous fight scenes after the initial Frieza story arc. So much like almost half of the 15 movies, shadowy bad guys want to use the Dragonballs for some nefarious purpose that never results in them wishing for immortality right off the bat. This group of numbskulls are remnants of Frieza’s army. Sorbet, diminutive brownnoser who sounds like Warren Beatty to me. Tagoma, yet another 13th tall, skinny, bald guy, and maybe the others had names, but it seriously isn’t important at all.
So, with this being Frieza’s great revenge, I was expecting a great sense of tension throughout the film once he’s brought back. And since this is DBZ, we need a built-in excuse why Goku and Vegeta aren’t there. Those two are off in Beerus’ world, training [WHAT A SHOCKER] with Whis.
Fine, whatever, but the path of carnage I was anticipating was instead virtually absent. Earth’s forces to stand against the former galactic overlord are Piccolo, a shriveled up Gohan (more on that later), Krillin, Tenshinhan, a character named Jaco, I assume he’s from Cho, which I haven’t seen, Bulma, for no discernable reason other than to make my ears bleed, and……Master Roshi…who hasn’t done anything useful in Z up to this point. So this standoff is Frieza, allegedly blinded by revenge, coolly sitting off to the side watching the Z Fighter B Team play mop-up duty with generic henchmen. Why not turn it completely into Final Fight and have Krillin kick a garbage can to reveal a health replenishing hamburger?!
This went on…forever. It’s not engaging, not interesting, I DARE even call it pacing. The movie is filibustering itself and were it not for Beerus’s existence, this would almost be a complete waste. Whereas Battle of the Gods carried a heavy sense of tension throughout the first act because of the unpredictable danger of the God of Destruction, Resurrection F returns to the repetitive, time padding, empty calories fights that made me sick of DBZ in the first place. This is anime malnutrition. SCORE: 3/10
ART & ANIMATION: The production values, animation, and CGI continue to be good to the series as the higher quality images makes the impact and pace of the battles the way they probably wanted them to look 20 years ago. It is very easy on the eyes, but I am not a fan of the new art, it looks very sterile, glossy, and lifeless. Much like how Bulma’s character design somehow gets sexier as she ages, everything feels too neat and pristine, like it’s afraid to get its nails dirty. And I have a hard time getting over that distracting shine on all the characters’ skin, they look like they were marinating in Armor All. When the action picks up, it is visually impressive, but a lot personality is lost in FashionBall Z here. SCORE: 6/10
SOUND: The FUNimation VA group for the English dub reprise their roles, minus Tiffany Vollmer, as much to my chagrin, Monica Rial is now PermaBulma. Sean Schemmel sounds like the only one who still actually cares, as he’s still decent as Goku. Chris Sabat seems to have given up and now just does alternating inflections of Roronoa Zoro for Piccolo and Vegeta. Chris Ayers still sounds like he’s channeling Team Four Star Abridged Frieza, but I’m used to it now. If there is one positive about new Dragonball is being done away with the irritating Bruce Faulconer soundtrack. It was cute for a while, but jeezuz, it got repetitive! SCORE: 7/10
CHARACTERS: What can I say? It’s the Z Fighters, they do pretty much the same schtick they’ve been doing, just slightly subdued. If you enjoy them, it’s fine. I want Bulma assassinated. I was never a fan of hers and she’s all over this movie shrieking like a harpy, so I can only assume this is a rib against me. An even bigger rib is how much Dragonball now seems to go out of its way to make Gohan, the only two dimensional personality, a gigantic dweeb post Mystic Super Saiyan. The biggest thing I like about him is that he DOESN’T follow in his dad’s footsteps, does right by his mother’s wishes and finishes his schooling, and wants to be a decent father, something he never had. I learned a lot of people hate Gohan for that, then I realized just how out of touch I am. Being a good citizen is now frowned upon? This industry left me in the dust and isn’t turning around. I’m sure if I watched Cho, I might Jaco, he seems like a fun enough nonchalant being, which is a healthy break from the knuckleheads. Vegeta, another guy I was never a fan of ever, has become very likeable and funny. Other than that, the original villains don’t add a damn thing to this. SCORE: 4/10
IN CLOSING: To call this a disappointment is an understatement. This is Lord Slug level and the two have a lot in common; wasted characters, nonsensical storytelling, continuity errors that make absolutely no sense upon hearing them, a useless middle portion of the movie, and an anticlimactic resolution that sums up everything I hate about the Dragonball universe!! The writers should’ve been arrested for the ending to this movie, because they stole 88 minutes I could’ve used for something productive instead of spending it on this failed attempt to rehash a part of my past. There are good things about it, but as far as I’m concerned, the bad dreadfully outweighs the good. FINAL SCORE: 3