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Review: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

When you revive a classic villain from a show's past, you also breathe new life into the interest of fans who have forgotten the series, says Liam Dooley.

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Director: Tadayoshi Yamamuro

Starring: Sean Schemmel, Christopher R. Sabat, Christopher Ayres (voices only)

Running Time: 93 minutes

Image: Toei Animation
Image: Toei Animation

Dragon Ball Z was one of the definitive shows of my childhood and therefore Resurrection 'F' is certainly quite the trip down memory lane. The Dragon Ball series has been around for a very long time now and I believe the last time I truly followed it was back when Dragon Ball Z had just concluded the Buu Saga. Yet, despite having never watched any of the other eighteen feature length films, Resurrection 'F' was still easy to follow and highly immersive.

This was probably due to the return of the classic villain, Frieza. Resurrection 'F' felt like it could very easily have been a continuation of the Frieza Saga from way back in the day, especially since the whole cast consists of familiar faces (aside from Beerus and Whis, but a quick Google search solved that problem). It was very clear that with this movie there was an attempt at appealing to audience's sense of nostalgia, whilst also continuing to propel the franchise forward into new territory. The shaving of Krillin's head into his iconic bald look is quite indicative of this, since it evokes a return to the series' origin and also recognises how far these characters have come since then. It reminds us that the show has progressed since then and will also continue to develop in the fute, but at the same time promises us that Resurrection 'F' will be true to the 'old style'. These are the same characters that we have always known, in a situation that is entirely recognisable to us and although some of them may be sporting new colours (the blue Super Saiyan hair definitely caught me off guard), they are still going to be just as entertaining as the always have been.

The famous joke about Dragon Ball Z is that it takes twenty episodes for characters to power up and only one for them to actual battle, but this certainly wasn't the case with Resurrection 'F'. The fighting took up a good proportion of the film and we even got to see a little bit of combat from the majority of the cast, not just Goku and Vegeta. Sadly, the plot did leave quite a bit to be desired, what with the entire film leading up to a fight between Goku and Frieza and the latter just spending the first part of the main sequence just wasting time until the former arrived. There was plenty of the gut-punching, teleport-kicking and kamehameha-ing violence we expect from Dragon Ball Z, but it must be said that there have been plenty more interesting plotlines in the franchise's past.

Aside from its action-packed scenes, Dragon Ball Z was also notoriously very funny, but with Resurrection 'F' it must be said that it wasn't always so perfectly timed. Some of the comic relief in the film was truly entertaining, whilst in other parts it merely distracted from the action. Maybe it's due to unfamiliarity with the characters, but when Beerus and Whis are making comments about food during Goku and Frieza's big fight, it just felt like they were creating an unnecessary diversion from what the audience is truly interested in. Sure, there certainly needs to be intermittent movements away from the main action, but a comment or two from the likes of Gohan or Piccolo who standing at the sidelines of the fray would have been much more appropriate than jokes about strawberries. Aside from this one little complaint, the comedy in the film is otherwise entirely on point and very characteristic Dragon Ball Z humour. Vegeta is still angry at the world, Dr. Brief is still completely easy-going in the face of danger and Goku is still completely idiotic at times.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'Z' is well worth a watch for anyone who has ever been fans of the Dragon Ball franchise at any point in their lives, especially due to its throwback to the show's early days and its relatively self-contained narrative. Anime is not normally my kind of the thing, but there's something about Dragon Ball that reminds me of that time when I was young enough not to know the difference between it and any other form of animated show. Resurrection 'Z' draws you straight back into your childhood moments and is a highly entertaining reunion with some of those faces you grew up watching.

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