Post by Old Man Dream on Aug 19, 2017 23:36:40 GMT
As many on this site may know, I don’t have nice things to often say about Dragon Ball Z given the number of bad anime tropes it would contribute to later shounen action titles like Bleach or Naruto. Still though, I suppose the challenge that comes with reviewing popular titles like it would be trying to find some sort of silver lining with them.
But rather than plow through all 291 episodes of the series again, I decided the next best thing would be to try looking into the 15 movies for the series that were released. For those only knowing of the recent releases of Battle of Gods and Resurrection F, Toei Animation, the animators for DBZ, released 13 additional movies between 1989 and 1995 during the original Japanese TV airing of the series that have no direct continuity to the canon storyline of the series. As they were made to cash in on the show’s popularity, each film tends to vary in quality with some having visible effort to put together a decent plot, while others take story elements from prior films or the canon storyline and rehashing them.
As the content from the films don’t have enough material where I could properly cover them in a lengthy review, I have decided to do things a bit differently here by offering my thoughts of each of the 15 DBZ movies from worst to best. Bare in mind that the thoughts of this list are only my personal opinion. So don’t take things too personally if your favorite movie ranks higher or lower on this list than you were anticipating. With that said, here we go with the list.
15. Resurrection F I suppose if there's one word I could use to describe this movie, it would be lazy. This film brings back Frieza, one of Dragon Ball Z's famous villains and one that highlighted the more serious shift of the franchise's storytelling with his cruel and merciless character. Here though, he's mostly treated as not a serious threat between Goku and Vegeta acquiring more stronger transformations, as well as Bills and Whis significantly surpassing him in power when they appear on Earth to casually delight in Earth's snacks. Not to mention that just like the new Super Saiyan God forms feeling like a lazy job with being color swaps of the old Super Saiyan transformations, Frieza's new form to be on Goku's level is just that by being given a golden color job. Like Battle of Gods, Resurrection F implements the same mix of CG and 2D animation that is just as awkward in its implementation as the mentioned film. Overall, a rather lazy effort to cash-in on the franchise's return to popularity following Battle of Gods.
14. Bio Broly More laziness is afoot in this eleventh DBZ movie marking the third appearance of movie-only villain Broly, only this time brought back as a bio-engineered clone. While the film takes the time to build up to Bio-Broly’s appearance alongside a side-plot of Android 18 blackmailing Mr. Satan for money, this isn’t as engaging as prior movies that made use of a similar narrative structure and Bio-Broly is not as big a threat as his earlier Saiyan incarnation since Goten and Trunks could reasonably challenge him here. This is easily one of the weaker quality and lazier efforts for the 1990s DBZ movies.
13. Super Android 13 This movie takes its main plot off story elements from the Android saga with the three androids from the future that Goku, Future Trunks, and Vegeta have to take on. This movie has quite a number of issues stemming from its stealing of ideas from the canon Android saga. The androids don’t have much to show in personality compared to other movie villains, there’s a noticeable logic lapse as Future Trunks and Goku don’t immediately become Super Saiyans against them when it is apparent they are being challenged by the androids, Android 13’s transformed state takes after how Cell acquires his transformed states, and the means that Android 13 gets dispatched by Goku is a rather glaring deus ex machina. Yet another lazy effort of a movie here.
12. Broly: Second Coming This movie marks the second appearance of Broly, who remains as much of an insurmountable threat as he was from his last appearance. There isn’t much that this movie has to show for a plot as the majority of it features Gohan, Goten, and Trunks struggling against Broly until they eventually overcome him with the worst implementation of deus ex machina from any of the DBZ movies. Sadly though, this wasn’t the last movie featuring Broly thanks to his third appearance in Bio-Broly.
11. Lord Slug This film’s quality is about on par with the next entry on this list as it mostly focuses on the Z Fighters battling an enemy threat and their cronies, in this case the evil Namekian Lord Slug and his clan. This entry is a bit lower on the list since Goku milks two instances of deus ex machina to best Slug in both his forms, one of which including a pseudo version of the Super Saiyan transformation months before its official animated debut during the Frieza saga that was airing when this film originally debuted in Japan.
10. Tree of Might This is yet another movie mostly focused on the fighting that the Z Fighters have with fighting a movie villain and his cronies, this one seemingly taking plot elements from the Saiyan saga as the Z Fighters take on a Saiyan named Turles and his men. Originality seemed a bit lacking for designing Turles as he’s merely a skin color swap of Goku with Saiyan armor. There’s some decent tension in the middle of the film when Turles forces Gohan into becoming a giant ape who Goku tries to have control himself. Otherwise, this film marks the first among the DBZ films where Goku defeats his foe via deus ex machina when they become too insurmountable to overcome.
9. The Return of Cooler This is the second DBZ movie to feature Cooler and mostly focuses around the fighting that develops between Cooler’s mechanical armies and the Z Fighters, with Goku and Vegeta’s fight against a mechanical clone of Cooler making up a good chunk of the film’s runtime. While the fight’s a decent one that reasonably challenge Goku and Vegeta, things eventually get ridiculous for the later half of the film upon the revelation that are hundreds more copies of the mechanical clones and the resolution of the conflict getting rather underwhelming with how Goku and Vegeta resolve things.
8. The Dead Zone A middle-of-the-road entry for the DBZ movies, Dead Zone mostly focuses on the fighting between Goku and Garlic Jr.’s forces. It appears to be set sometime before the start of DBZ with Gohan around and Piccolo still regarded as an enemy of Goku. Helping compliment the action is the movie’s improved animation over the TV series with smoother details and more fluid movement depicted. The movie keeps things simple with Gohan’s abduction being the trigger for the movie’s plot and the boy’s hidden power eventually lending a hand in the battle. Still in spite of its well-animated action, there isn’t anything particular with Dead Zone that sticks out with it beyond Garlic Jr. making a return in an anime-only arc of the original DBZ anime.
7. The World’s Strongest World’s Strongest is another middle-of-the-road film entry in the same vain as World’s Strongest in that it is mostly focused on the fighting that occurs with the Z Fighters battling Dr. Wheelo and his forces, as well as sporting similar great animation quality. This movie gets a slight leg up in quality for me here since it does offer a decent twist during the middle of its run when Piccolo is revealed to be brainwashed fighting for Dr. Wheelo.
6. Broly the Legendary Super Saiyan Broly the Legendary Super Saiyan is another film that attempts to add something extra to DBZ’s storytelling and this comes in the form of Broly, a Super Saiyan who has a single-minded obsession with killing Goku ever since both were babies. The movie’s plot gradually builds up with Goku and the other Z Fighters encountering Broly and his father, Paraguas, on a new planet to reestablish the Saiyan race where more about Broly and Paraguas, until the second half eventually starts off the fight between the Z Fighters and Broly. This is sadly where the film starts to unravel in quality as Broly proves to be too insurmountable a threat for the Z Fighters until Goku milks a deus ex machina ability like a number of other films to narrowly defeat Broly. While an okay film entry in the franchise, Broly’s popularity with fans would lead him to reappear in two later DBZ movies and their quality is much more inferior compared to this one as seen earlier in this list.
5. Cooler’s Revenge Cooler’s Revenge makes a solid effort at exploring more on Frieza with the introduction of his older brother, Cooler. He is established early on in the movie as enough of a threat where he seriously injures Goku in their first encounter and a sort of rescue mission results where Gohan tries to safely get some Senzu Beans over to his father to allow him to recover while evading Cooler’s men. From there, Goku eventually has another fight with Cooler and even as a Super Saiyan, he still gets enough of a challenge where he has to work for his victory and does not even resort to deus ex machina in pulling it off. While mostly focused on the fighting between the Z Fighters and the movie villain’s threat, Cooler’s Revenge is the best movie that makes use of this sort of plot structure.
4. Wrath of the Dragon This movie is meant to wrap up the original Dragon Ball Z anime as it depicts a roundabout way in showing how Trunks acquired his sword for its movie continuity. While this hardly makes any sense nonetheless, the movie still offers some solid plot development and exploration with Tapion's character as he struggles with containing Hildegarn and gradually develops a bond with Trunks that the movie devotes much of its first half to establish. The second half features the battle with Hildegarn and it kind of follows the flawed battling setup followed from prior DBZ movies with Hildegarn being an overpowered foe and Goku eventually milking a deus ex machina to best him. Still with what it explored with Tapion's character and his bond with Trunks, this still makes it one of the better DBZ movies to check out if you're a fan of the franchise.
3. Battle of Gods As the first film to actually contribute main storyline continuity for Dragon Ball Z, Battle of Gods would introduce new concepts for the world of the series that included divine beings like Whis and Bills, as well as the new Super Saiyan God transformation. The movie does a solid job with striking a balance between comical and serious moments with exploring the character of Bills where while he’s a much more insurmountable threat than any past foe fought by the Z Fighters, he still has his comical edge thanks to his craving for Earth’s snacks. Also in spite of the new Super Saiyan God transformation that Goku gains, this film marks one of the few instances in the franchise where Goku doesn’t gain a definite victory in the end. The only major sore spot with this film is its rather shoddy attempt to combine CG and 2D animation, shown rather notably during Goku and Bills’ extended battle. Otherwise, this more recent DBZ film is easily one of the more better films I have seen.
2. Bojack Unbound One of the better DBZ movies, Bojack Unbound differs from most of the franchise's movies in that it doesn't immediately present its main movie villain and instead focuses its first half on the Z Fighters competing in a martial arts tournament. This leads to some decent comical moments with the Z Fighters being too powerful for nearly the entire tournament roster to match, Krillin's reaction to a possible matchup with Piccolo, and Mr. Satan trying to avoid any involvement with the tournament and ensuing conflict that take place with Bojack's men. Bojack and his goons are depicted as such where they can give the Z Fighters enough of a challenge, but not to the point where they are ridiculously insurmountable as a threat where deus ex machina has to be played. While Gohan doesn't immediately go for his Super Saiyan 2 form when dealing with Bojack and needs a slight deus ex machina a la Goku to trigger the transformation, this can at least be excused for Gohan's lack of experience with using the form since Cell's defeat in properly following the show's canon timeline. Overall, one of the better movies thanks to getting decent comedy out of the tournament side-plot and building up to the later battle with Bojack and his men.
1. Fusion Reborn In spite of Fusion Reborn being the more comedy-driven of the 15 DBZ films, this actually lends it to be among the best of the movies for me. The antics that result from Janemba’s warping of reality lead to some genuinely funny moments that result from it that include Goten and Trunks taking on a bunch of soldiers led by a dictator who is an obvious caricature of Hitler, Gohan getting to give a resurrected Frieza a one-sided fight, and anime-only character Pikkon having some out-of-character moments to undo some of Janemba’s warping to the afterlife. The attempts that Goku and Vegeta make to do a successful fusion to fight Janemba also lend to the movie’s humor as their struggles in successfully forming the technique lead to some hilarious outcomes. The more comical mood of the movie works well with the nature of Janemba’s character and easily makes Fusion Reborn the best of the DBZ movies for this reviewer.
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
DBZ is my favorite anime, so is no surprise that I personally did not like the first half of Dragon Ball. Also, I personally really like RoF, and put it above Battle of God. Hard to say which movie is my favorite, but my least is Bio Broly. Special wise, Trunks easily.
Old Man Dream: ...later titles in the Macross franchise can finally come stateside with all involved parties finally coming to a truce over how to handle things with the Macross trademark and all later anime in the franchise associated with it.
Apr 9, 2021 10:26:05 GMT
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT