I have been a fan of the Dragon Ball Z ever since I was a little boy. I remember going into my parent's bedroom where the second television set was and flipping on Cartoon Network's Toonami program which was my only source of anime. Prior to all of that, I had no idea what it was.
During these anime binges on Toonami, I saw a lot of visually exciting shows like Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Blue Gender, Blue Submarine No. 6, just to name a few. But nothing caught my eye like Dragon Ball Z. It was very fast-paced action where the fighting was the most intense that I've ever seen in animation. I was only like 8 or 9-years-old when I started watching it which meant that I wasn't too far behind on the series. I had missed the entire Saiyan Saga but I started watching just in time for the Frieza Saga.
For me, there was never a time where becoming a Super Saiyan wasn't a thing. It baffled me to learn that there was a show prior to Dragon Ball Z that was simply called Dragon Ball that featured Goku as a kid, not as a Super Saiyan, and where the theme of the show seemed to revolve more around humor rather than the high-octane action I had become accustomed to.
I learned to like Dragon Ball and even the early days of Dragon Ball Z before the Z fighters went to planet Namek, but there'll always be something extremely nostalgic about all that took place in the Frieza Saga, including Frieza himself.
That's what made the announcement of second Dragon Ball Z film, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' so exciting for me. They were bringing back one of the greatest villains ever for an ultimate showdown. The trailer got me that much more excited as well, check it out:
There is a whole lot of history that they referenced and you can feel just how much of a monstrous villain Frieza really is throughout the trailer.
My excitement could barely be contained for this movie and now, after having seen the film, I want to share my thoughts on just how this film turned out!
I can't say that right from the start, we get a glimpse of the amazing action that's featured in the trailer. No, instead, the movie starts off with some strange world full of fairies and stuffed teddy-bears playing instruments in a field of flowers surrounding a large tree. It looks more like a seen out of Digimon rather than Dragon Ball Z.
It's not till a minute or two later that you spot a cocoon hanging off the tree in which we find Frieza trapped an unable to escape This overjoyed world is his version of Hell and it plays for a nice laugh in the opening. Though not what I was expecting for the opening of Resurrection 'F', it was a entertaining way to open up the film.
But don't allow this opening scene to sway your opinion on the direction of the film as we are bound to get a ton of your run-of-the-mill Dragon Ball Z awesomeness.
What I really love about the film is that he action isn't just limited to the two main Saiyans (Goku and Vegeta), it actually allows for a lot of the characters to shine in their fighting abilities. These characters include but are not limited to Gohan, Krillin, Piccolo, Tien, and even a hulked-out Master Roshi (which we don't see often enough).
For many, this scene may very well be the highlight of the film actually. There's no shortage of action as our heroes split up to divide the seemingly endless members of the Frieze Force and we get to see each character deliver a good butt-kicking. It really gives the audience a feel of just how high the stakes really are.
We are also introduced to a new character name, Jaco, who also gets in on the action against the Frieza Force a little bit, although he's the most hesitant to participate.
Jaco is not the only newcomer to the Dragon Ball universe to show up, the two characters introduced in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Whis and Beerus, also make a welcome appearance.
Though Beerus doesn't seem to hold as much importance as he did during his first appearance, Whis is more than willing to take the cake (not just figuratively either) as he has a pretty interesting tie into the training of Goku and Vegeta. He reveals to both Goku and Vegeta, that although they may be great warriors, there is still something that each of them struggle with that holds them back.
It's revealed that Goku is too over-confident and puts his guard down while Vegeta is too wound-up and needs to relax. Although a short moment in the entirety of the film, I really loved this because it shows that the characters are training to do more than just become stronger, but they're growing in their technique as well. It's not just a throwaway scene either since we see the two characters sort of change their approach when facing down Frieza back on Earth.
Speaking of Frieza, he is definitely a forced to be reckoned with in this movie as he has achieved a new form more powerful than the one he used whenever he was taken down on Namek.
This new, golden-covered Frieza form is enormously powerful, however, we only get a small taste of that power. When were first introduced to Frieza in Dragon Ball Z, we were introduced to a being who could destroy a planet with just a single beam from his finger. It was the power of the Death Star from Star Wars inside a being as small as Yoda and more evil than anything we've seen before.
But Frieza, despite all his new power, isn't the only character to have grown so powerful that they've reached a new form. In fact, Frieza missed out on a few forms that our beloved Saiyans have reached and, unfortunately for him, has arrived just in time for their newly reach form, Super Saiyan God.
Although this gives us a great deal of action sequences, we don't actually feel the terror that we did back when we first met Frieza. It used to be that we'd wonder how Goku would even defeat the evil being, but in this movie, we're just sort of expecting Frieza to get his butt handed to him. I think this is where movies based on shows can often suffer, the magnitude of just how dangerous Frieza really is.
I will say also that I wish that Frieza got a little more personal with characters he's come into contact before such as Gohan and Krillin. He addresses them and even stares them down while we wait on Goku and Vegeta to arrive on Earth. Frieza has had an impact on almost all of our favorite Z fighters.
- He destroyed the planet Vegeta.
- He killed Vegeta on Namek.
- He killed Krillin on Namek.
- He destroyed the planet Namek in his fight with Goku.
- After being remade from the destruction of Namek, he was finally killed, himself, by Trunks (the future son of Vegeta and Bulma).
I think the big missed opportunity is that they didn't explore enough of the possibilities as far as how Frieza has affected all of the Z characters.
I will say that one of the more highlighted moments is that of Vegeta's interaction with Frieza. I won't spoil anything but by the end of the film, we're both "pleasantly surprised and mortified" (Christopher Sabat's words, not mine) by Vegeta's role in the battle with Frieza.
All in all, this plays out like what you'd find in the typical (yet awesome) Dragon Ball Z stuff we've seen before. It doesn't offer a whole lot that's new beyond some new transformations and a small bit of character development and growth for Goku and Vegeta.
Having Akira Toriyama back as the mind behind these characters in movies and television is such a dream-come-true for Dragon Ball Z fans. I had the exact same reaction watching Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F" as I did watching Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods: a non-stop smile across my face.
I would highly recommend that anyone who is an anime fan or a Dragon Ball Z go see Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' while you still can in its limited theater release (August 4-12 at select theaters). This movie, as well as its predecessor feels like it's Akira Toriyama's love letter to what we loved most about Dragon Ball Z. It's got the action that we love in Dragon Ball Z, as well as a nice dose of the humor.
It's another great installment in a truly legendary franchise.