Directed By: Tadayoshi Yamamuro
Produced by: Norihiro Hayashida, Rioko Tomonaga
Writers: Akira Toriyama
Genre: Animation, Action, Comedy
Release Date: April 18, 2015 (Japan), August 4, 2015 (USA)
Version reviewed: English with no subtitles
Let me show you my further transformation!
Coming off from a great start from last year’s release of “Battle of Gods”, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ does even better in theaters in Japan and overseas by bringing back one of the most iconic villains, Frieza, literally back from the dead. Akira Toriyama once again returns to write the storyline and designs of the new movie.
Frieza is shown in the movie in hell while his henchmen seek to revive him. Frieza was a huge villain in the TV series and was defeated by Goku, one of the main characters and a Saiyan (an alien race that enjoys fighting) in battle but survived against him. Then later was killed by Trunks, another Saiyan that was from the TV series that sliced Frieza into pieces and sent him to hell in the first place. With the remnants of Frieza’s army struggling to keep the empire afloat, Sorbet, a henchmen who has taken over the army in Frieza’s absense, goes to Earth with his minion Tagoma to revive Frieza from the dragon balls on earth.
They locate Pilaf and his gang, who were collecting the dragon balls, and bully them to summon Shenron, a dragon that comes from the dragon balls to grant wishes. Frieda’s henchmen were successful on bringing Frieza back to life. Based on the past events in the TV series, Frieza was still sliced into pieces and the henchmen collected the pieces and made haste back in space to regenerate him back to normal. Finding out how much stronger Goku, one of the main characters in the movie and TV series, who also defeated Frieza in battle, trains for months to grow into a new level to defeat his nemesis once and for all.
After four months of training, Frieza and his 1,000 soldiers arrive on Earth and it’s up to the Dragon Ball Z heroes to fight against the resurrected villain and his army.
The story is pretty straightforward from here on out. Frieza is resurrected and seeks revenge. What’s interesting is that Frieza was aware of not only Beerus the Destroyer (God of Destruction who was introduced in last year’s movie, which you can read about it here) but also aware of Majin Buu, one of the last villains in the Dragon Ball Z TV series. The movie is mostly packed with humor and fighting, lots of it. The movie isn’t really trying to push a unique story but rather draw the fan-base on new transformations for both villains and heroes. This is your typical, fighting anime with handful of comic relief that made Dragon Ball Z popular in the first place and this time it doesn’t take over 30 episodes to end a battle.
If you are familiar with the original TV series and movies, then you know there are lots of returning characters except for three supporting characters. Sorbet (Frieza’s henchmen that took over the army in Frieza’s place), Tagoma (a minion who follows every command given by Sorbet) and Jaco (a galactic patrol who happens to know Bulma, another main character of the TV series and her family). Jaco is also a spin-off character Akira Toriyama has created in a separated comic series that’s considered a “prequel” to the original Dragon Ball series. He has a lot of pride on his duties as a galactic patrol but his presence in the movie adds a lot of comic relief and works really well!
Sorbet and Tagoma, the henchmen that were given a lot of screen time in the beginning began to cease to exist once Frieza was resurrected. I know the movie is based on Frieza and his revenge on Goku but having these characters up and gone from the screen is a bit disappointing.
Compared to the last year’s film, supporting characters like Krillin, Tien, Master Roshi, Piccolo and Gohan were given more screen time, especially fighting scenes. The film does a pretty well job focusing between the characters before the main fight. Once the fight with Frieza and Goku began, you saw less of them.
Beerus and Whis, the new characters from last year’s film makes a return but are more on the screen for comic relief. Don’t expect them to step in the fight, unless you count the training Whis gives to Goku and Vegeta. Videl makes a small apparance with her and Gohan’s newborn at the beginning of the movie and that’s it. No Buu, no Goten, no Trunks. The way it seems it was written out was to make it feel like the movie took place right after the Frieza saga in the TV series. This doesn’t really bother me since there’s enough comic relief in the movie from different characters like Jaco. If you were looking for fusion fights, you won’t see it here.
You will see a bigger role from Bulma, one of the main characters of Dragon Ball franchise and also wife of Vegeta (another main character of the series), from helping to bring Goku and Vegeta back to Earth from their training with Whis and her comical scenes with Frieza.
Goku, Vegeta and Frieza are your three main characters in this film and each one displaying a power never seen in any TV series and movie. I don’t wish to spoil anything but this is one of the biggest things the film reaches out to the fan-base. New power-up forms and how do they show it off for three characters. While Frieza has already been introduced to many fans, bringing him back from the dead brings back many memories on why he is a force to be reckoned with.
Taking the same studio that did last year’s film, the animation feels even better with all the power up scenes and the fighting animation. I notice watching the movie first time that there were some small instances the characters were in 3D models and not in 2D animation. Same goes for the 1,000 henchmen, hovering around Frieza. My biggest gripe from last year’s film was the way the 3D animation felt a bit off. This film seemed to be better and less noticeable. The rest of the animation felt clean and detailed while working with Akira Toriyama’s signature designs. I could watch this movie over and over on how colorful and detail the scenes were created.
The original soundtrack is filled with mostly orchestrated music and a couple vocal inserts. One of them being a 2008 score called “F”, created by Maximum the Hormone, who has also done scores for another anime series “Death Note”. It could be the heavy metal score, even the lyrics play tribute to Frieza, makes it work well in the movie. When the song plays while Frieza is being resurrected, something about it gives you goosebumps on how well it works. This is one of the best insert songs I’ve heard for a TV series and movie.
The second vocal was used during the end credits but also considered as the movie’s theme, “Z no Chikai” by Momoiro Clover Z. They have done many scores for various anime series like the Sailor Moon and Pokémon and have worked with KISS on a collaborated single and an opening act for one of Lady Gaga’s concerts. “Z no Chikai” is a fun, upbeat score that goes well with the movie. This score was used in trailers and even the music video by Momorio Clover Z was well created to play tribute to the famous series.
I’ve only heard bits and pieces of the Japanese voices, which to no surprise would work regardless since it is the same voice cast as last year’s film and most of them from the original TV series. Same goes for the English voices that were using the same team that were involved in last year’s film and original TV series. At first I couldn’t listen to the current English voice actors when they were introduced in the Frieza saga years ago but now they have gotten better and have grown on me. Some anime series that were brought over to be in English (also known as dubbed) not everything was explained or translated correctly. The English voice acting team has done a pretty well job in matching the animated mouth movements and keeping details together so you aren’t lost in the movie. I can see myself not only watching the Japanese version but also the English, dubbed version.
While Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ storyline is pretty much straightforward, everything else about it makes it one of the best Dragon Ball Z films.