I’ve been a DragonBall Z fan for fifteen years. We’re talking serious nostalgia for middle and high school here; it’s always been a franchise I can sit down and watch no matter where I am or how I’m feeling, and I’ll have a good time.
So when I received an invitation to attend the English language premiere of the newest DBZ movie, RESURRECTION F, I jumped at the chance. Since it was a DBZ movie, I was fairly certain I knew what I was getting into: a relatively flimsy premise meant to lay the groundwork for the yelling and overpowered fights the franchise is known for.
RESURRECTION F is so much better than I ever expected a DBZ movie to be. It’s a movie that understands that half its target audience watched the series a solid decade ago and the other half is used to fast-paced anime and won’t sit still for filler, and it acts accordingly. The movie is quickly paced, beautifully animated (with the occasional egregious CGI scene, true), and much funnier and more intelligent than I remember the franchise ever being. DBZ has matured with its target audience, and it shows.
Fans of the series will notice that the usual formula (premise, smaller fight, climactic fight) is still in place, but the execution is different. For one, we do get to see fan favorite characters have their moment in the spotlight (when was the last time you saw Master Roshi fight? For real? Yeah, that happens in RESURRECTION F, and it is amazing). For another, the franchise is smart; the usual “whoever is stronger wins” formula is subverted with a more intelligent approach. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen strategy be employed in DBZ; RESURRECTION F goes one step further by making strategy every bit as important as brute strength. The series has gotten a lot smarter; it’s a long overdue development and one that I definitely appreciate.
It also grew a marked sense of humor. DBZ has always been funny in some ways, with the occasional joke or sight gag thrown in. RESURRECTION F has taken that to a new level, with the script understanding the need for levity in what would otherwise be a very intense scenario. Parts of the script are genuinely funny, instead of 90’s-punny-terrible-dub funny, which is DBZ’s usual level of humor. There are two incredibly powerful characters who could put an end to the movie if the choose; instead, they spend the entire movie eating ice cream and making snarky commentary on the action. The semi-immortal peanut gallery was hands-down my favorite part of the movie.
On the more technical side of things, the animation in RESURRECTION F is solid; there was definitely effort and budget put in the animation, and it shows. Unfortunately, that makes the few times they employ CGI (mostly for crowd scenes) especially noticeable, and not in a good way. The music in RESURRECTION F is incredible, including operatic pieces and electric guitar solos by turns. The opening theme is an especially good throwback. Better than the music, however, is the movie’s use of music. Pieces are fit especially well to scenes they accompany; even more striking is the movie’s knowledge of when to leave the music out entirely, letting the dead silence lend an intensity to the action happening onscreen. I’ve never noticed music in DBZ before; the use of music in RESURRECTION F made me sit up and pay attention.
Even those who aren’t fans of the series should be able to follow along with the movie. There’s a good deal of history that goes into RESURRECTION F, as the entire premise has to do with the resurrection of Frieza (one of the longest-running villains in the series) and his subsequent quest for revenge; however, it’s all presented clearly and concisely over the course of the movie, woven in naturally so it sounds like actual dialogue and not shoehorned exposition. RESURRECTION F has solid enough writing, voice acting, and animation to function not only as a great DBZ movie, but as a fun movie in general. (So if you wind up going to see it along with your friends/kids/significant others/etc, don’t worry – you’ll probably still enjoy it.)
DRAGONBALL Z: RESURRECTION F has a limited release in August, running in select theaters from Tuesday the 4th to Wednesday the 12th. Are you planning on going? If you’ve already seen the movie, what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments!