Frieza was dead to begin with…

To any cursory Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) fan the name Frieza should strike fear into their very souls. At the very least memories of watching a protracted and epic (in the true sense of the word) battle between DBZ hero Goku and the petulant fighting lord.

For those unfamiliar with the world of DBZ, the crib notes are as follows: Monkey boy Goku is found on Earth, gets tangled in a plot to find 7 mystical orbs that summon a dragon that will grant any wish. In this world martial arts is currency of supremacy and through three series Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT we follow the exploits of young Goku, across galaxies and generations in one of the finest displays of a life cycle ever committed to script. To the faithful, Dragon Ball and it’s incarnations is a life changing discovery. To the uninitiated – there is much to enjoy.

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Running for so many years as a TV series the movies have stood alone as individual stories often standing above the shows timeline. However the latest movie venture Resurrection ‘F’ does manage to squeeze itself comfortably between the worlds of Z and GT.

It must be said that going in as an old time fanboy of the series from the days of ToonAmi of Cartoon Network the prospect of watching a Dragon Ball Z film on the big screen was like a 2 for 1 cocktail hour for a lush.

Beginning with a trippy sequence we see cuddly toys playing in a brass band and fairies running amuck in an idyllic field before we come across a lava in it’s cocoon. The lava has the head of Frieza. The most diabolical individual in the galaxy. A fighter so tough that DBZ had an entire saga, titled succinctly as “The Frieza Saga” devoted purely to he/she’s? battle with Goku that seemed to last 30 episodes. Yes 30 animated episodes of two people fighting. His minions resurrect him much like that creepy episode of Transformers when Optimus Prime comes back to life but he’s evil. Frieza’s first course of action is to head to Earth to get vengeance on the Saiyans that killed him.

If we remember folks it was “future Trunks” who killed cyborg Frieza (if you have no idea what I’m talking about you have no business here, please feel free to read one of our many other fine articles). Frieza returns to a time where Trunks is a child so it’s left to Goku and Vegeta to battle… it? Then much DBZ punching, kicking, senzu beans and collapsing cliff faces take place.

In terms of storytelling Dragon Ball: Resurrection ‘F’ is an amalgamation of everything fans love about the franchise. There are a myriad of call backs to past characters dead and unseen with little to no explanation of who they. Frieza’s henchmen from “The Namek Saga” Dodoria and others are mentioned in passing. Things like the fact that Piccolo wears weighted clothing is used as a puns but again not explained. This is a film set up for the faithful and the faithful are rewarded in spades.

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Resurrection ‘F’ is set up like the opening act of Transformers the Movie when the Decepticons attack Autobot City with Frieza landing with literally thousands of minions. What a grand sight it is. On the big screen the animators have gone to town in showing the scale in the fighting force. Every alien fighter is realised in beautiful clarity. Every hit and crunch against a cliff face is beautifully realised through the sound design. The soundtrack flicks between early noughties Metal and surprisingly haunting orchestra that brings unexpected weight to the action but what is never lost is the DBZ humour.

That things that turned me on to the franchise, and I imagine countless others, is the the mix between intergalactic fighting and tongue in cheek humour. Resurrection ‘F’ has both in  abundance. Many was the time I had to stifle laughter at a one liner or general character trait. I still find Goku laughing innocently like a child reasons to chuckle. Also seeing a deity who can destroy worlds commentate on a fight between Goku and Frieza with a recipe for a strawberry sundae is something to be applauded.

The writers have picked everything that works; Goku/Vegeta’s struggle, Bulma’s impetuousness, Krillen’s lameness, the conventions of the DBZ climatic battle and turned it all up to eleven. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is the movie experience we have been waiting for. I charge any fan of the series not to smile at least 4 times and even get chills. For all the excellent straight to video movies that have come before this will stand as the gold standard.

 

4 / 5

Dir: Tadayoshi Yamamuro
Scr: Akira Toriyama
Starring: Kyle Hebert, Christopher Sabat, Monica Rial
Prd: Michael Harcourt, Norihiro Hayashida, Carly Hunter, Riuko Tominaga
Music: Norihito Sumitomo
Country: Japan
Year: 2015
Run time: 93 mins

Check out the the films cos-play heavy UK premiere screening last week via:

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is in cinemas from 30 September 2015. It will be showing at the following cinemas:

Odeon: Belfast, Birmingham Broadway Plaza, Bournemouth, Brighton, Colchester, Edinburgh Fort Kinnaird, Greenwich, Kingston, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool One, Manchester Printworks, Manchester Trafford, Newcastle, Milton Keynes, Southampton, Streatham, Surrey Quays, Taunton, Uxbridge, Wimbledon
Vue: Basingstoke, Bury, Cambridge, Carlisle, Cheshire Oaks, Croydon Grants, Edinburgh Onni, Finchley Road London, Hull, Inverness, Islington, Lancaster, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Purley Way, Sheffield, Stirling, Swansea, Watford, London Westfield, York
Showcase: Bluewater, Bristol, Bristol CDL, Cardiff, Coatbridge, Coventry, Derby, Dudley, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newham, Nottingham, Paisley, Peterborough, Reading, Teeside, Walsall
Empire: Basildon, Birmingham, Clydebank, London Leicester Square, Newcastle, Poole, Sunderland, Swindon, Wigan
Independents: Barn Dartington, DCA Dundee, Derby Quad, Genesis Mile End, Grovesnor Glasgow, Lighthouse  Dublin, London Prince Charles, Movies@Dundrum Dublin, Movies@Gorey, Movies@Swords Dublin, Odyssey Belfast, Phoenix Leicester, Playhouse Perth, Queens Theatre Belfast, SGC Dungarvan

By Michael Dickinson

Michael is the VultureHound Film Editor.

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