Prime Reactions Review – Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ (English Dub)

Most people have first impressions or early thoughts. I have prime reactions. This time, we’re taking a long overdue look at the English dub of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’.

1
A recycled villain? Run for your lives!!!

If I didn’t hammer it in enough, I did not like Battle of Gods. It felt disjointed due to waaay too many irrelevant scenes, forced humor, and time-wasting cameos. Some have said the humor is a return to Dragon Ball. Okay, but if the humor is bad, effortless, and intrusive are we supposed to give that a pass just because it might be a throwback? Comedy was clearly their mission statement with SO MANY unnecessary scenes in the film that serve no purpose beyond cheap laughs, most of which took no effort and weren’t clever. I could not help but constantly ask/tell myself “Did I need to see this? Was this necessary? Oh, I really needed to see that!”

If the non-Goku/Vegeta characters were relegated to cameos, that would’ve been fine, but no. The characters constantly don’t take the situation seriously and mouth off all the time for poor comedic effect. They otherwise stand there because they’re out of their league. The inclusion of Pilaf, Mai, and Shu ADD NOTHING to the story. Their scenes take up way too much time and if you took them out, the story does not change. Them becoming kids offscreen for no reason seems like an attempt to retcon GT and nothing more. Beerus and Whis are really annoying characters who aren’t funny despite their attempts. The artists probably spent more time drawing the food they ate than the writers spent giving them character and substance. There wasn’t anything memorable about them compared to previous antagonists in design or character. I was more irritated rather than excited to see where these characters go.

As for little things… I don’t care if Vegeta is running on emotion, that alone shouldn’t make him stronger than Goku at his best. How forced was that line? Vegeta can’t handle Fat Buu or Gotenks much less Goku. And will someone get that crap cat some pudding? Have Piccolo create some or send a useless cameo to 7-11. The extended cut is a joke that barely adds anything to the theatrical cut. Battle of Gods cannot justify its running time. The first thirteen DBZ movies were bad and repetitive, but they were short. Battle of Gods felt like an extensive demo reel for food drawings with poor laughs inbetween and I did not care for it.

To describe Battle of Gods in one sentence, our forced building toy cameo senior laffs analyst.

Galvatron?

2

The one major thing we learned in Battle of Gods was that what we’ve been watching is one of twelve universes. So you establish that and in the very next installment, you revive Frieza… You would think the story would progress with new locations and characters. Bringing Frieza back seemed like such a “just because” kind of decision. He’s an iconic anime villain for sure, but he can’t stand up to our heroes without some “because the plot required it” magic going on. I went in with pretty low expectations. Battle of Gods certainly didn’t give me any faith in future projects.

I’m going to do something a little different this time. For once, there will be a spoiler section with general thoughts preceding it unlike before with spoilers throughout. I’d really like you guys to see it fresh if you haven’t already.

*Spoiler-free review*

I really liked this movie, perhaps more than I should’ve. Is this an objectively good movie? It most certainly is not but I can tell that this time a lot more care went into making a better movie despite the flaws. As a huge fan of the Dragon Ball franchise, I can nitpick this one to death and in general I can poke at many stupid things, but it was still a good time.

There was tons of comedy but I think they were more subtle about their attempts. This time, the comedy was so much more clever and character-based. I simply felt the effort that went into those moments. There were far more legitimate laughs to be had over the forced comedic scenes in Battle of Gods.

Pilaf, Shu, and Mai are back, but their screentime was severely shaved down to the film’s benefit. In fact, they served a purpose as the catalyst for Frieza’s revival. After that and a quick comedic moment, they’re out of the movie! If you’re shoving in pointless cameos, give them a point or restrain yourself.

Beerus is still an awful character who’s unfunny and intrusive, but Whis is at least training Goku and Vegeta. He’s doing it for food but he’s being earnest in his teachings and I appreciate that. He explains how their character flaws can be detriments during battle and that if they were willing to work together, they’d rival Beerus. This was a good scene and while it doesn’t change that power means more, it’s attempting to make Dragon Ball Z less of the dumb fighting anime that it is. Also, Whis steps in poo… Seriously, where did that poo come from? I see no wildlife. Is it Beerus’? Is it Whis’? Why was it there? The “forced” is strong with this moment.

For as lame as bringing Frieza back was, I liked Frieza so much here. A lot of this has to do with Chris Ayres’ performance. There’s a lot of him simply talking either to himself or to Sorbet, his henchman. His musings are very fun to listen to as I can feel the “villain” in every scene. He has a presence to him thanks to the music, how often he talks, and his analyzing the army fight. I got into his head far more than I did with Beerus making Frieza more interesting to watch.

Those working on this movie knew to keep the cast small which is smart. There’s a battle between six characters and Frieza’s army. You’ll ask “Where’s this character?” or “Why is he here instead of someone stronger?” but think about it. If all of the good guys showed up, it would add more time to the ten minute army fight and each character gets less time to shine. This action sequence might be my favorite part of the movie. Yes, they’re just fighting mooks, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen the B-team fight that it felt refreshing. You get to see those classic signature moves, nice fight animation, and some funny moments. With the earth at stake, it’s a legitimate problem that not everyone fought, but reasons were given for the absences and I like what we got.

Unfortunately, Goku and Vegeta showing up took me out of the movie a bit. It was more interesting seeing the side characters fight and I didn’t want that to end. The remaining half hour or so of the movie is Goku fighting Frieza and while there’s some good stuff, it dragged and was lacking. Also unfortunately, Beerus and Whis show up to add to the runtime. This all needed to be written more strongly despite the positives I can draw from this fight which I will cover in spoilers.

The animation and art are solid, at least for the clean and sterile look they’re going for. There are still some bad shots, but for the most part, it’s a good looking animated movie. However, I will forever take issue with the “you’re not fooling anybody” awkward CG character models used in the Goku and Frieza fight. They did this in Battle of Gods too and they look straight out of a video game. I don’t understand the need to do this. There’s plenty of good action that doesn’t rely on CG. Perhaps it’s for more dynamic action, but if the older DBZ movies didn’t have to use such blatant CG, why do today’s? I’d rather they stick to the standard art even if it meant going without the CG parts of the fight. Even some of Frieza’s men were CG when they were just floating in the background.

Ultimate Reflections:
I definitely recommend Ressurection ‘F’ for any fan of the franchise. It’s not a great or groundbreaking movie by any means but it’s enjoyable. Even if it doesn’t end up being your kind of movie, it’s worth at least one watch. For the general public, I’d say check it out if you’ve ever been curious about why the series has a huge following. It covers enough bases to help acclimate newcomers and things are for the most part explained so they can follow along. It’s definitely entertaining at its core. The action is great. The voice acting is fantastic, especially Chris Ayres’ Frieza. This is easily my favorite Dragon Ball movie and one of my favorite franchise-based anime movies. It’s hard to find good ones, let me tell you…

*Review with free spoilers*

The elephant in the room is how Frieza can compete. It takes some suspension of disbelief, but I buy the explanation. Frieza mentions that he’s never trained a day in his life as he never needed to. Imagine his power if he did. He says training for four months will give him a power level of 1.3 million. First, why only four months? You don’t have anything better to do. Second, your second form was 1 million already. Guess that’s a script problem. In Battle of Gods, Beerus responded with genuine surprise when he found out someone defeated Frieza. I wondered what the big deal was because Frieza at that point was an ant to him. Having seen this movie, Beerus must’ve known that Frieza had the potential to be this strong or he wouldn’t have cared that someone beat Frieza. This movie building on past details like that is something I have to commend because Beerus’ surprise now makes sense.

Speaking of details, I think it’s cool for continuity that Frieza was aware of Buu. It’s not necessary, but I appreciate little things like that. Future Trunks was also referenced. His killing Frieza wasn’t mentioned in Battle of Gods because of bad writing. If he was mentioned, Beerus would be looking for him too, but the writers are too lazy to explain Trunks away with a sentence. They already packed the film with “VERY IMPORTANT” scenes so no time for that. It makes more sense to talk about Trunks here, but this movie felt more detail-oriented overall. Let’s also not forget that Shenron granted two wishes here, but nobody acknowledged the second wish in Battle of Gods.

As I mentioned, they kept the cast small which may disappoint fans, but I’ll let it go. There are reasons given for why 18, Goten, Trunks, Yamcha, and Chiaotzu are absent. Not Buu for some reason despite being mentioned. No, we get Master Roshi. I think we all know he stands no chance against Frieza’s men. I believe his presence to be a joke, but what we got with him makes up for the fact that his keeping the soldiers at bay makes no sense. Even then, we see his fatigue and that he’s not keeping up as well as the others. Attention to detail! He has comedic moments, badass moments, and he’s seen directing everyone. Purpose! I take issue with Piccolo having a hard time with Shisami though, a character said to equal Zarbon and Dodoria. Gohan had to step in and even turn Super Saiyan to take Shisami down. Boourns…

The introduction of Jaco and the casual name-dropping of Bulma’s older sister was either welcome or really strange. What’s with everybody having siblings they never mentioned before? First, Vegeta has a little brother and now Bulma has an older sister? Anyway, Jaco was funny and made a pretty good impression. I just question the necessity of his appearance unless Toriyama really wanted him animated. I doubt tons of people read Jaco’s book, so throwing him in here felt random even if he served a purpose.

The new “forms” have been irritating me. Super Saiyan God was a slimmer Goku, but a repaint otherwise. Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan has a blue Super Saiyan hairstyle which is another repaint. I’ll admit that the prospect of seeing Frieza get a fifth form like Cooler would’ve been awesome but that’d be too underpowered and require too much creativity. Can’t have that. What’s Frieza’s new form? Gold and purple repaint… Seriously, more time went into the new designs for Videl, Gohan, and Bulma. You’re going to sell toys either way. Can’t you make the designs more memorable or I don’t know, actually design something? I don’t love Super Saiyan 4, but at least it brought the tail back and there was clear creativity even if it was a huge departure from Super Saiyans 1-3. And what an awful name SSGSS is. The red form should’ve been Saiyan God as Goku’s hairstyle didn’t change. The blue form should’ve been Super Saiyan God due to the Super Saiyan hairstyle.

Let’s talk about the last third of the movie, because it’s the worst part. As Goku fights Frieza, he and Vegeta realize Frieza’s weakness in that he hasn’t mastered the golden form so that energy will run out. He was too cocky and impatient to train further and left for earth upon obtaining this form. This caused Frieza’s loss. I believe Frieza was stronger than Goku, but in a prolonged fight, Goku outlasted Frieza’s energy. I really liked this. Frieza lost because of his character, not because Goku was simply stronger. As Goku spares Frieza once again, Sorbet shoots a laser through Goku’s heart. This ties into Whis’ analysis of his character flaws. Goku got careless, relaxed, and didn’t see the laser coming. This is pretty good stuff for Dragon Ball Z. Having legitimate character flaws be their downfall instead of lacking power is a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, Goku eats a Senzu so any danger to his life is nullified.

Then Vegeta takes his turn because he’s been standing there the whole time. He also turns into a SSGSS which I guess he got offscreen. He’s about to kill Frieza, but Frieza blows up the earth. Whis protects everyone but Vegeta. Goku learns the lesson Whis tried to teach him. If he took down Frieza when he had the chance, this wouldn’t have happened. There’s no gravity to the situation because there’s always the Namek Dragon Balls to bail them out. Yet they all despair and act sad. Earlier in the movie, Whis casually mentions that he can turn back time. Gee, I wonder if that’ll come into play later… Yup, Whis turns back time to before Frieza blows up the earth. Goku jumps in with a Kamehameha to kill Frieza stealing the kill from Vegeta… Really? I feel like Vegeta always had more of a reason to off Frieza than Goku. Frieza killed Krillin, but Vegeta’s race was enslaved. This convenient time reversal felt like a cheat code so Goku could get the kill instead of Vegeta. For all the little problems I had with the film, this was the worst. This is simply bad writing and it’s not like Goku didn’t already learn the same lesson from the laser.

This lesson is important because it would help him be the hero he could be instead of the idiot fighter he always is. Bet he forgets in the next installment because status quo. And even though Whis brought up Vegeta’s flaws, he didn’t learn anything. In the end, they’re still against working together even if they acknowledged that would’ve been better. Frieza really should have been the major threat they built him up to be. One Goku or Vegeta could not handle alone and they work together to beat him. You still get a lesson instead of them brushing it all aside at the end and ideally, Vegeta at least partially kills Frieza. As it is, the climax felt sloppy, long, and poor compared to the great first two-thirds. Since Goku fights first, even if he loses, there’s still Vegeta. Frieza being a joke starting from Goku and Vegeta’s arrival is more bad writing.

Hate to end abruptly, but that’s what happens when ultimate reflections stays in the spoiler-free section. Your review has been fulfilled. I bid you farewell.

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