What They Say:
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is the second Dragon Ball film personally supervised by the series creator Akira Toriyama, following Battle of Gods. The new movie showcases the return of Frieza – one of the anime world’s greatest villains. Frieza has been resurrected and plans to take his revenge on the Z-Fighters of Earth. Goku and Vegeta must reach new levels of power in order to protect Earth from their vengeful nemesis.
Includes a Digital HD Ultraviolet copy (subject to expiration).
Contains feature film and set of four holographic Frieza Force propaganda postcards in exclusive, premium packaging, including clear o-card and digipack.
The audio presentation for this film brings us the original Japanese language track in 5.1 as well as the English language mix, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The film has a good balance to it overall with what it wants to do, providing plenty of dialogue time and moments for the music to take center stage while also ensuring that the action side comes across strong. I’ve never been particularly impressed with the franchise’s score nor its actual action elements and this film doesn’t do too much to change it. A lot of anime is just weak even when designed for the 5.1 format. We do get some solid forward soundstage aspects here with some good impact and bass and we also get some good material thrown to the rear speakers in order to make it feel a bit more encompassing. It’s a solid action track overall, but little of it truly felt like it stood out. The actors on both mixes definitely do and that’s just a lot of fun to listen to as they go through the moves, the battle cries and more.
Originally in theaters in early 2015, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. While we’ve seen a good bit of this property in high definition in the last few years, and it’s one that I think “modernizes” well, this is probably the best looking of them all at this point. Colors are very rich and vibrant, giving a great sense of pop with wonderful definition and layering throughout. The film definitely has some really good animation for the franchise and the action sequences are strong, coming across problem free here though the encoding that keeps it to a solid middle to high bit rate, giving it more than enough to work with. There’s little to find fault with here and anything feels like I’m trying to find something wrong. It’s a great looking transfer that will please fans and provide a great viewing experience.
The packaging design for this limited edition release is pretty good all around though this particular kind of case isn’t exactly my favorite. But it definitely has some style. We essentially get a digipak with a clear plastic o-card for it with a touch of glue inside to hold it together when you unwrap it from the shrinkwrap. The front of it has a good image of just Goku going all out with a serious expression and it plays better than I thought against the blue of the digipak. The back side runs with Vegeta, though he’s underneath the glued on sell sheet that covers the technical side of the release and what’s included in it in a clean, clear and accurate way.
The digipak, when unfolded, is just a blank blue piece that has the film’s name on it in a slightly darker shade, which is nicely understated. it opens up to a more familiar orange background that gives is the traditional Goku and Vegeta images side by side with the feeling of the starscape hued in orange in a great way. The two discs are in their own containers and the pocket on the left side has the pack-in extras. These are made up of four high-quality Freeza Force propaganda cards that are just a hoot. They definitely need proper framing to go up on the wall in one frame to enjoy their colorful quality. They’re one-sided as well so you’re not stuck trying to figure out which one to use. The other insert is how to get the digital version of this through Ultra Violet (yuck) and a promotional spot for the new 3DS game.
The menu design for this release goes for a simple approach but one that lets the show itself set the mood. There’s a standard formula to be sure here and it works well as we get the logo along the upper left in a smaller form that cements itself but doesn’t dominate. The navigation strip along the bottom uses a purple background with white text that makes it easy to read and it’s a good size for both large and small screens. The rest of it is given over to the clips from the show, which range from small character moments to big action ones – as well as just some character shot panning work of Freeza that definitely sets the tone for it. It’s a solidly functional menu and one that works with its visual because the animation itself has such pop to it. Clean and easy to use with no problems during regular playback either when it comes to the pop-up menu.
The extras for this release are pretty good with what we get here and in some ways kind of eclipse the film in a sense. The basic is here with the clean version of the ending sequence, which is always welcome, and we get a fun seven minute behind the scenes recording session in the booth for several of the actors. The big extra is the forty-minute red carpet piece that takes us to a couple of locations, including the one at the Egyptian for the world premiere which included the Japanese voice actress for Goku – who I fully believe will be able to do this role forever like she wants. It’s interspersed with some footage from the film throughout, but the focus on the talk ahead of the screening, showing the fans and then digging into a lot of dialogue between the English voice actors is great. With them having worked these roles for years and years now, they have a wholly different perspective on it all than most viewers of any level for the show. Watching them shoot the breeze about it is like they’re sitting across from you in your living room doing it. And that’s really worthwhile.
After the success of the Battle of Gods movie last year, it was no surprise that Toei would try to see what else they could do with the Dragon Ball Z franchise. With a new TV series that kicked off this summer, it was preceded by this feature, Resurrection ‘F”, which continued the events of Battle of Gods. Having become a fan of the franchise overall more so from the manga than the anime, at least in regards to the TV series, getting new adventures in this world is something that I definitely am glad to see since it’s such fertile ground. While Battle of Gods is something that served to reintroduce everything and see if there’s actual interest in the characters and works, this one has the advantage of trying to move things forward.
The focus of the film is one that does take us back to familiar ideas as we get the remnants of Freeza’s forces, lead by Sorbet, looking to revive their fallen master. Freeza’s forces were definitely terrors and scourges of the universe, but without him it’s easy to imagine that they’d lose some of their influence though not all of it. To Sorbet’s advantage, he uses Pilaf in order to work a small approach to Earth since there are plenty of beings there that don’t need scouters to register power levels and he’s intent on not being noticed. So slipping in with a comrade is easy enough and that lets them work in the background for a bit, ensuring that Pilaf and his crew know that they’re not to be trifled with. The prologue sets things up well enough with the easy gathering of the Dragon Balls thankfully being done off screen so that Sorbet can bring back Freeza.
Amusingly, because Trunks sliced Freeza in a big way when he killed him years ago, Shenlong advises against it because the body cannot be reconstructed easily by him. Sorbet’s technology should be able to handle it though and that means his soul is brought back in pieces to be dealt with. It moves quickly enough and while Sorbet comes across as a grump in a lot of ways, he manages to achieve a lot very quickly and very easily compared to what we’ve seen before in this franchise. Freeza’s resurrection is also something that goes easily enough, which isn’t a surprise considering what we’ve seen of the character in the series before and his ability to heal and regenerate. It’s an amusing reunion that gets underway since Freeza’s not exactly thrilled it took so long for Sorbet to bring him back. With the way Freeza runs his organization, it’s no surprise that his superior attitude is what drives him. That and revenge against the Super Saiyans for what they did.
News of Freeza’s revival does travel quickly as Jaco the Galactic Patrolman has arrived to tell Goku about it. Jaco’s amusing as he can’t believe the things Bulma tells him about what Goku is up to and who with as Whis is pretty much a myth to a lot of people. Just using Jaco alone is a delight since he’s such a fun little character. This sets into motion everyone on Earth learning about Freeza’s impending arrival in about an hour and that has the usual quick catching up with a few of the characters. Some parts are more interesting than others and we also get some of the usual casual sexism that exists as Krillin has his wife stay and watch their daughter even though she’s far stronger and more capable than he is. It’s good to see Krillin back and going old school here with his hair and outfit, but his protective nature comes across poorly.
It takes until thirty minutes into the film before Goku and Vegeta make their appearance where they’re off training with Whis for the moment. Whis is providing some decent education and training for the two of them on what they need to focus on, which, of course, are things that we’ve known since the introduction of each character basically. There’s some fun with Beerus himself when he shows up and cuts to the chase, but you have to appreciate that he’s keen on trying the pizza and putting a proper threat behind it. The film plays to this kind of slow build fairly well when you get down to it, partially because even after the Battle of Gods film it’s simply good to reconnect with the cast on the big screen. So doing these standalone moments here and there while waiting for Freeza’s arrival sets the tone right. It may not be wall to wall action, but that’s a bad expectation to have with this franchise in general and the cautious use of budget with time and effort involved.
Naturally, Freeza’s not the type to wait long to deal with Goku and that means the action picks up well before he and Vegeta return to Earth. Though this is all about the supporting cast getting their time in the sun, it works pretty well to let them shine with fights against the rank and file of Freeza’s soldiers as they each have about two hundred to deal with. It’s not a series of revelatory moments, but they each spread out and get to do their best to take down as many as they can and it helps to pad things out in a good and expected way, especially since it is partially about getting to know these characters again. Piccolo, in particular, is a whole lot of fun to watch as he gets into the fight by getting ready of his weighty clothes and really going at it. But really, it’s just fun to see Roshi fighting again all bulked out and to see some of Jaco’s style as well.
All of it comes down to the third act, though, which is why we’ve come to this movie to begin with. Bringing Goku and Vegeta back to Earth to fight Freeza was a given, but it has the twist here. Freeza never trained in his life before and was incredibly power. Now that he’s spent a few months training, he’s hugely powerful now and has seemingly surpassed what Goku and Vegeta have done on their own in the years since. It makes things complicated in general, but, of course, there have to be a couple of sidebar fights as well. Notably with Goku and Vegeta as the two of them can’t not fight to some extent and that’s just silly fun, at least until Goku goes to his top level of power in order to finally go against Freeza. Thankfully, the “god” level that Goku can achieve doesn’t get a lot of explanation since it’s all part of the larger narrative, but it’s something that forces Freeza to show how much he’s grown and changed as well, making for a really great transformation sequence.
In the end, what we get is what we had hoped for with the film in that it’s a pretty fun fighting show. The final act of it attempts to capture some of the magic of the original Freeza and Goku fight, but it’s limited by time in really doing so. But with Freeza having “gone gold” along the way, and not quite as confident at first as he usually is, it does shake things up a bit and makes for a really good series of back and forth moments between them as they slug it out. Mixing Beerus and Whis into a bit provides for some levity amid it, but also some admiration as he gets to see what these two are capable of. And with the nod earlier about his and Majin Buu’s position in the world, it’s definitely something that puts Freeza in a very different frame of mind upon seeing him there. Particularly since he’s just enjoying the ice cream that Bulma made for him. It’s these little moments that color things in a fun way, especially with Jaco being a part of this universe now.
As much as I enjoy the Dragon Ball Z franchise, I also don’t have high expectations of it when it comes to story. Battle of the Gods reinforced that as we had some decent fight scenes, but it was more focused in reintroducing everyone and just having fun being together again. Here, it flips it a bit by having more action to it, especially in the second half, but it retains enough of the humor and hanging out pieces that will delight fans, from Piccolo watching the baby to Jaco trying to get his picture taken with Beerus. Freeza’s a character that I think worked incredibly well in the original series but is one that I wish hadn’t been brought back because it lessens that impact some. That said, he makes for a good character in this revived form here to go up against Goku, having built himself into something more, and while you know how it will end, you enjoy the journey overall.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, The Voices of Dragon Ball Z: Picture-in-Picture Making Of Footage, The Return of Dragon Ball Z: Cast Interviews & Red Carpet Footage
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.