Tuesday, October 20, 2015

‘Resurrection F’ Is Crafted for ‘Dragon Ball Z’ Fans

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is the sequel to 2013’s Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.  And just like Battle of Gods, one needs to be a fan already of Dragon Ball Z – embracing and appreciating its delightfully over-the-top tropes – in order to enjoy it thoroughly.  The movie requires familiarity with the Dragon Ball Z mythology as well as the events of Battle of Gods.  Casual adult/teen audiences will find this movie dumb and incomprehensible.  But those who grew up on the anime – like me – will have a blast.

The “F” on the title stands for Frieza as this iconic villain is resurrected for this movie via Shenlong – the mystical wish-granting dragon that can be summoned by the Dragon Balls.  It’s revealed that Frieza has never in his life trained, that the power he had manifested before were simply inborn.  So in order to have his revenge on Goku – who has grown exponentially more powerful since their last meeting – Frieza decides to train for the first time ever.  After four months of training, Frieza – now implied to be more powerful than any other opponent that the Z Fighters have faced – arrives with his army to conquer Earth and challenge Goku.

Such is the set-up of Resurrection ‘F’.  It then follows a very familiar plotline that has been seen multiple times in Dragon Ball Z: the less powerful Z Fighters handles the big villain’s minions and initially face the big villain; before the big villain can slaughter the less powerful Z Fighters, Goku shows up to fight the big villain; Goku and the big villain exchange blows; the other Z Fighters just watch; screaming build-ups ensue; the big villain power-ups and beats up Goku; Goku then power-ups to a higher level and beats up the villain; Goku wins; congratulations are given; maybe some celebrating afterwards; roll credits.

If that sounds boring to you, well, it’s actually not – again, that is, if you’re a fan.  Dragon Ball Z is simply an anime that revels and thrives in its simplicity and absurdity.  A fan of Dragon Ball Z will almost always find the predictable and exaggerated elements awesome because they are really done so, so well.

In fact, Resurrection ‘F’ is a more traditional Dragon Ball Z story than what Battle of Gods had been.  Battle of Gods offered more new and different things, while Resurrection ‘F’ feels like the old-school, brawny Dragon Ball Z.  Thus, it has more kickass action.  The battle between Goku and Frieza is as much epic as their battle in the anime (albeit shorter in length), and Vegeta (my most favorite DBZ character) has an awesome sequence that allowed him to be more badass than he was in Battle of Gods.

Though I like this movie very much, I still have some few minor problems though. *MILD SPOILERS* First, when the Z Fighters have to face Frieza’s forces, I was surprised to see Master Roshi joining the battle.  He has never been portrayed to be this strong in Dragon Ball Z before.  It’s not far-fetched to think that he somehow became stronger since the last time we saw him, but I still feel it’s pretty bizarre.  It doesn’t make sense to have Master Roshi in the fight but not Majin Buu, Trunks, and Goten – who are definitely stronger.  In fact, along with Yamcha, these three didn’t make an appearance in the movie at all (at least with Battle of Gods, everyone was in it).  Second, I don’t buy the stupid, irrational manner in which Goku was put out of commission by Frieza’s dirty ploy.  It’s simply too unbelievable considering the power levels at play.  Third, once again, Gohan doesn’t do much.  This is supposed to be the badass that was able to defeat the android Cell.  But since then, Gohan hasn’t done anything significant and has been weaker.  There’s some merit on the argument that Gohan isn’t Goku, that he doesn’t have the same passion for fighting and training that his father has, and therefore, his power levels haven’t improved much since his battle with Cell.  Nonetheless, it would be nice to see Gohan be badass again (maybe in the next movie?).

In the end, Resurrection ‘F’ benefits from the Dragon Ball Z goodwill to have all its flaws pardoned.  Besides, it’s actually pretty great by itself – its positives outweigh its negatives.  The animation is pretty and crisp, the fight scenes are fantastic, it’s funny and entertaining, and the fact remains that it’s always a treat for every fan (which I am) to see more of these beloved Dragon Ball Z characters.

Of course, it would be nice to see the next Dragon Ball Z movie to have more depth and innovation.  But even if that won’t be the case, I think, I will still be fine with another traditional, fan-servicing movie as long as it’s going to be fun and exciting.    

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