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Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ Review
By: Kirran “LordMoonstone” Somerlade

In 2014, Battle of Gods brought the beloved Dragon Ball franchise to theaters in the United States, and now a little over a year later we have a sequel film airing worldwide. The new movie, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, revives Frieza, whose vengeful madness propels him back to Earth to challenge our heroes. The good people at FUNimation provided us with an advanced screening of the film, and we wanted to provide a review for you eager fans!

Before I indulge in the synopsis, I should establish my bias. As evidenced by our keystone project, Dragon Ball Z Abridged, we are all massive Dragon Ball fans. Further, Team Four Star has worked with FUNimation in the past for ad campaigns and voice-over work. In fact, our own Scott “KaiserNeko” Frerichs plays a minor role in the film (see if you can hear him begging for his life!). I will remain as objective as possible, but keep in mind our relations to the company and the franchise.

Written by original manga author Akira Toriyama, the 19th Dragon Ball theatrical release Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ has already grossed more than $51.1 million internationally. It is now slated to air in more than 1,000 theaters across the United States and Canada from August 4th to the 12th. The prior film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, grossed $50 million worldwide, which puts Resurrection ‘F’ at the forefront. While ahead in sales, Resurrection ‘F’ sadly falls short of the charm found in Battle of Gods when it comes to its plot, but its presentation and intensity make up for its shortcomings. Be warned, a few minor spoilers are to follow.

The cornerstone of the plot revolves around the revival of the titular ‘F’ character: Frieza. The film opens with a depiction of Earth’s hell, which I dare not spoil. Needless to say it is quite a fitting punishment for someone such as Frieza. We are then introduced to the remnants of his army, led by film original Sorbet, and their quest to acquire the Dragon Balls. Fortunately for them, the Pilaf gang already gathered them. Their comedic antics keep the film going strong throughout the opening scene, providing a performance akin to that found in Battle of Gods. While their screen-time may be short, their presence is filled by the appearance of the newly created Jaco, the Galactic Patrolman. Fans not familiar with the manga adaptation of his story will find him as the main source of comedic relief. His sketch of Frieza and interactions with the Z-Fighters, Beerus, and Whis all provide ample moments of Toriyama’s humor. Yet where the side characters Jaco and the Pilaf gang shine, the Battle of Gods duo Beerus and Whis fall short. This is where most of my problems with the movie’s writing become evident.

 

ResF-Beerus
 

Beerus and Whis were the best parts of Battle of Gods for me, and it is unfortunate that their characters have devolved since. Whis serves as the observant mentor figure for Goku and Vegeta throughout a good portion of the film. Whis’s apparent omnipotence is fully demonstrated, which destroys some of the mystique for the character. In a sloppily-handled execution, Whis is the film’s deus ex machina as well. Unfortunately, these two are mostly portrayed as food-oriented caricatures of what they offered in Battle of Gods. However, Beerus has a few wonderful comedic moments, and his interactions with the rest of the cast bring the laughs.

 

ResF-ZFighters
 

Once Frieza arrives on Earth, we see the nexus of Z-Fighters as Krillin, Gohan, Master Roshi, Tien, and Jaco gather to fight the alarming number of soldiers. The fight scene that ensues demonstrates the film’s excellent choreography, sense of scale, and urgency. In this scene, we see the manifestation of Toriyama’s intent, as he “intentionally increased the scale of the action scenes.” Arguably, the fight with Frieza’s soldiers holds most of the film’s excellent set pieces. Jaco utilizes a form of posing in all of his moves, Tien blasts a swath of soldiers with energy attacks, “buff” Master Roshi makes an endearing return, and we get to see Krillin demonstrate his tactical prowess. After Battle of Gods denied everyone but Goku and Vegeta their chance to shine, it is refreshing to see the lesser characters remind us that they’re not devoid of fighting potential.

 

ResF-Frieza
 

Once things get dire, Goku and Vegeta join the fray, and Frieza skips straight to his final form. After an energetic, visually stunning fight with Goku, we see the larger conflict of the film, that Goku and Vegeta cannot work together. From there we have the unceremonious transformation into the strangely titled “Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan” form, which is thankfully never referred to by name in the film. Frieza then demonstrates his new Golden Frieza form and the main battle truly begins, as it encapsulates the next third of the film’s runtime. The fight begins to drag, and it seems to attempt to build to some larger climax that never happens. In spite of this, both Goku and Vegeta get their shining moments in the film, and it is refreshing to see Vegeta finally have an excellent part in a movie. In summation, the plot of the movie wraps up quickly, and is too focused on delivering fights.

Moving on, the movie’s presentation is absolutely stunning at points, and disappointing at others. The CG work found in Battle of Gods makes a return, but there is little improvement in the technology. The CG models still look like they are ripped from a last gen video game, and feel out of place amidst the beautifully animated characters. Pictured below are two fight scenes for comparison.

 

dragon-ball-z-resurrection-DBZ_ResF_GIF11
 

dragon-ball-z-resurrection-DBZ_ResF_GIF8
 

The CG transitions oddly to 2D animation, but when it is purely 2D it looks spectacular. Each character looks gorgeous and on-model in every scene. As mentioned before the large fight between the Z-Fighters and Frieza’s soldiers demonstrates a fluidity found in recent digital animation, and it is thrilling to see the Dragon Ball characters translated wonderfully into the modern era without losing their sense of style.

The voice acting is simply stellar across the board. Jeremy Schwartz and Todd Haberkorn deliver solid performances as newcomers Sorbet and Jaco respectively. Jason Douglas is just as endearing as Beerus in this film despite his subdued role, and Sonny Strait’s Krillin is just as excellent as he is in Dragon Ball Z Kai. Speaking of Kai, blowing everyone out of the water, destroying scenery, and resonating in viewer’s minds, is Chris Ayres as Frieza. His screams, irritation at soldiers, and pompous attitude are all delivered with incredible conviction. Chris Ayres has been the best thing to happen to the Dragon Ball dub, and he has only improved since his debut as Frieza in Kai. Dub fans should consider themselves blessed that the new film provided another chance for them to see Chris Ayres portray Frieza the way he was meant to be seen: a tyrannical, conniving, and maniacal emperor.

The soundtrack is equally impressive, which is a step up from Battle of Gods. Norihito Sumitomo provides many choral moments invoking celebration, despair, and tension. For the unaware, the film’s ‘F’ moniker comes from the Maximum the Hormone song of the same name, which they wrote as a song about Frieza back in 2008. I was excited to see the song in an official Dragon Ball feature, but it is slightly underwhelming when used for Frieza’s revival and not a fight scene. Admittedly we do get an instrumental version of the track for the big Golden Frieza vs SSGSS Goku fight, but I only wish that was the vocal version. There is no moment akin to the big HERO~ Song of Hope insert song found in Battle of Gods. If it’s any consolation, I did get goosebumps from Ayres’s Frieza.

 

ResF-Frieza Grin
 

Ultimately, what the film lacks in writing, it makes up for in presentation. Unlike Battle of Gods, which served as a grand celebration of the Dragon Ball cast, Resurrection ‘F’ capitalizes on the familiarity of fans to deliver an incredible follow-up to the legendary Goku vs Frieza fight of old. The premise alone can alienate the uninitiated, but it is an enjoyable film nonetheless. The characters suffer from poor development and a heavy focus on fighting, but it is the culmination of beautiful animation, excellent performances, and grand set pieces that make the movie a must-see for Dragon Ball fans.

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  • CurtisAlbert

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  • Jolbucley

    This was the first Dragon Ball movie for which I liked the English dub anywhere near as much as the original Japanese. Also, I am so glad that Jaco is in a movie.

  • roninreverie

    I just got to watch this movie and the first 20 or so minutes in I thought that it was just an absolute delight! It had that old timey Dragonball feel with some seriousness of DBZ. I liked all the jokes and thought it was funny that Whis and Beerus were just sort of bored comic relief in the background—it is sort of how I felt while watching the last fight. I mean, Goku and Vegeta were just sort of treating it like training—and why not? At this point power levels are so high that is the only way to stay sane? It was amazing animation—even with the machinima thrown in… and I cannot wait to see what ya’ll do to it once you get your hands on it! =D

  • KosmicDragon

    Is it me that thinks Beerus is on of Mr. Popo’s cats or is it just me?

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  • veniversum

    I’m so fucking pumped for when/if you guys do Dragon Ball Super. I know it’ll be amazing. Thanks for the outstanding material and the insane amount of effort you put into entertaining us assholes!

    • EpicNomming

      They may not even finish the normal DBZ; I think Lani, Kaiser and Kirran all hate Super Buu, so could be a bit relucatant to do, to them, another Cell arc. Although it would be hilarious if it was like Cooler and Freeza:
      Buu: I just ate a bunch of people!
      Goku: Cell did it.
      Buu: I’m gonna kill Trunks
      Trunks: Cell kinda does that in the future.

      • Sokolniki

        It would end this way.

        Super Buu: “I’m gonna eat everyone on the lookout.”
        Popo: “HAAAA!!!”
        Super Buu: “What…. AAAAaaaaaaaahhh…..”
        *Scene shows Super Buu vanishing into Popo’s pupil.*
        Popo: Hm… shame I had no salt or mustard to go with it… even a little bit of Vinegar could have Spiced it up a bit.

        *looks around at terrfied lookout occupants*

  • deckera

    frieza is a bitch still not sure if he’s a man or transvestite

    broly is much better a movie where broly goes amok in hell and turns ss 3-4 when goku shows up would be better
    i even have a name for it dbz broly’s endless rampage

    • xnovus374

      Weren’t Goku and Pikkon ordered to deal with a rampaging Broly in Hell before? Be it in a movie, or a game, I distinctly remember something like that happening.

      • HyperKirby

        Not Broly

  • flash26

    frieza is my favorite villain in dbz so having him lose because he didn’t train long enough is my problem with this movie the rest is great.

  • willow1331

    are you guys going to do abridged versions of battle of gods and resurrection F?

    • EpicNomming

      I would say no. To quote Kaiser: “Toei would probably send a hitsquad after us. We’d wake up tied up in the middle of the desert… If we woke up at all.”
      They also don’t have a gimmick or voice actor for some of the characters yet, the movies are really recent and so they would probably have to pay a small fortune to “dub” it, if they were given the chance. Pus the animation is of a higher quality, so making small visual edits that Kaiser tends to do would be much harder, although maybe less needed.
      Wait until they finish DBZA, then give it another year or two… Then they might be allowed.

  • Lonehoof

    Just imagine if Frieza trained for several decades, not just months.

  • Lonehoof

    I loved it when Frieza spoke to Beerus like he was terrified. It felt so satisfying. It also felt satisfying to see Vegeta pummeling Frieza, even though Frieza blew up the Earth out of spite.

  • Aduro9

    I loved how Whis and Beerus were just commentating on the fight, completely untouchable by it all. like the old guys in the muppets.

  • muffin button

    they should make an abridged version of revival of f

  • XBattousaiX

    No mention of the fact that Ultimate Gohan can go Super Saiyan and it makes him a lot stronger? And how stupid this is considering he didn’t do this against Majin Buu when it likely would have led to Gohan defeating Buu?

    Or the fact that this is basically just a copy of the old Goku vs Freeza fight?

    Goku gets a Super saiyan Form: Check.

    Freeza’s 100% full power is bulky: Check (as Golden Freeza, he does gain some mass).

    Freeza’s 100% full power causes strain on his body which causes him to weaken: Check (Golden Freeza literally reverts to his final form).

    Let’s not forget that Freeza Kills Vegeta, AGAIN.

    I had high hopes for this movie, but I feel it could have been reworked to happen before the buu saga to improve it. “Oh I’ll train for 4 months and surpass everyone else because plot.”

    • Rlmendez20

      Uhhhh….Gohan’s “Mystic” form was activated when he tries going super saiyan in the Buu saga. Basically, it replaced his super saiyan form. In this film, it has been years since he’s done anything close to training or fighting, so he lost access to that power and he wasn’t even sure if he could go super saiyan or not. Piccolo hasn’t really gone past what he was at his peak in the Cell saga, which is why he had issues fighting that one alien.

      As far as Frieza goes, he was a prodigy of his race. His race has huge amounts of power with little to no training. He, however, decided to train hard, which is why his power went as high as it did. He was also hellbent on revenge, which is very consistent with how this series is (hard work and determination wins the day.)

      • EpicNomming

        Even though that “one alien” was apparently only euqal to Zarbon or Dodoria… According to Sorbet. So Piccolo must’ve really gotten weak or else he would’ve essentially 1 shot it.

  • Roach85

    Isn’t Jaco from the ‘jump’ series, didn’t he know goku’s mother?Btw, new here, been watching dragonball since I was like 5, back when the original series when it aired on fox on Saturday mornings.What you guys are doing is amazing, I say keep it up, hell, I would help with it if I could.

  • Rectal Fungi

    The song was placed at such a bad area… When I heard they were going to use it I was stoked, thought it’d be like the fight song in BoG. Didn’t think they could screw it up. They did. Most disappointing part of the movie to me. Overall, not too shabby. Got to see Roshi be a badass, and that’s all I want.

    • paul

      Yeah, they’d have been better using the ‘Only a Chilling Elegy’ song in it’s place during his revival. Paced so that when the song says ‘He is coming, freezing me-!’ If and when TFS does do the movie, can they do that? I understand it’s meant to be Frieza’s song, but the song just sounds like noise to me with Frieza’s name being said. The only part I actually like in the song, is the Frieza part.

    • petjon

      Yeah the song was extremely badly used, they should have used it alot more, its one of those song you can overuse and no one will be upset about it.

  • lockeandkey

    I, for one, giggled like a madman when Jaco showed up. i knew Toriyama was writing it, but I was still surprised to see him insert his own little in joke with the character, and I thought he wound up being lots of fun.

  • Natsuzilla44

    I loved the movie. It was just the sit down and relax kind of movie that appeals to me. I think Toriyama was just playing to the stereotype of non-DBZ fans and using that as an advantage. Like Kaiser said, the movie was beautifully presented with pretty cool actions scenes and some comedy in it. That sum’s up the stereotype about DBZ and most anime in general as just some silly cartoons. By making the movie the way he did I think the purpose was to grow and expand there audience past just the DBZ fans and anime fans while still appealing to the core audience. When I went to go see it every hardcore DBZ fan was enjoying it a lot. After it ended, we were all pumped to see if they’d bring back anyone else like Cell. Was it the perfect movie? No. Could it have touched up on some stuff. Yes. But then again you have to remember that all movies are like that in every genre and every franchise and universe. What I’m trying to say is that it was a good movie for what it was set out to do. It could have been worse. I mean look at Fantastic 4 (2015). It was set out to bring back an old, forgotten, team of superheroes and failed at that. Unless you qualify ruining everything good about it and people remembering that as a success. At least Resuurection ‘F’ excelled at what it was supposed to do.

  • Natsuzilla44

    “If it’s any consolation, I did get goosebumps from Ayres’s Frieza.” Ha. I see what you did there Kaiser.

  • Vanyelxp5

    I thought it was a good movie for the most part, but there were things that just didn’t work for me.

    For instance, saying that they left Yamcha and Chiaotzu out of it because they weren’t strong enough, but bringing Roshi in? I know Yamcha probably hasn’t gotten much stronger since the Saiyan Saga, but at that point he would have been easily three times as strong as Roshi, even fully powered up. So why not come up with a better reason for something that was clearly a decision made based purely on the fact that Yamcha doesn’t matter to the series at all. He hasn’t really been relevant since original DB, and even then he didn’t do much.

    I didn’t like Jakko. Maybe because I don’t know his story, but he felt like he was just thrown in to give them a reason to know what’s going on, when they could have had Dende sense Frieza, or King Kai, or pretty much anybody! If Goku could sense Frieza from so far away that Whis would have taken more than a half hour to get them there, then fucking Piccolo should be able to sense him more than an hour away. And don’t tell me that it was because everyone powered up, because honestly, that was barely a grain of sand on top of Frieza’s pile judging by the way he punked out Gohan.

    Speaking of which, another Gohan has been lazy story? Really? He didn’t learn from his shortcomings against Buu? I get it, he’s got a girl now, but Videl should be more than willing to train with him. What I wanted to see was Gohan fighting first form Frieza for a little bit, and have Goku sense that. Would have been much better.

    Vegeta wasting time instead of going for the kill annoyed me too. As did the plot device used to stop the Golden Frieza form.

    And of course, in the end, the things discussed about Goku and Vegeta’s problems at the start of the movie were never resolved at all. Goku took the kill because he had to, I’m okay with that. But he should have been troubled by it, even knowing that it was necessary. Neither Goku nor Vegeta even tried to learn that “move without thinking” thing, and we already know that they are both too proud to fight as a team unless it’s absolutely necessary. So there was no point in bringing them up in the beginning.

    I loved the fights. Particularly with all of the troops, but Goku vs Frieza once Frieza stopped holding back was a great fight.

    • lastunusedname

      As a bit of an expansion on the part about bringing Roshi to the fight but not Yamcha: That wasn’t even the worst decision they could have made about who showed up to fight Frieza’s forces. I can understand not bothering to get Chiaotzu or (snicker) Yamcha. I can even understand why Bulma wouldn’t want Trunks involved…sort of. Less why she wouldn’t want two super-Saiyans who can become a SS3, but was willing to hang out there hersel, but fine. But not bringing arm-breaker 18? Anyone could have watched Maron, from Chichi or Videl to…well, Chiaotzu and Yamcha. And while I’m thinking about it, from any perspective other than the writers saying it would make the fight too easy, not at least asking Buu to join in makes no sense to me.

      And about the Gohan being weaker thing: seriously, how hard did he have to…anti-exercise to go from Mystic to “I can definitely still turn super-Saiyan when I want to…maybe”?

      • paul

        You know what’s funny, I made the exact same point on a video on Youtube about Yamcha and 18’s absence.

        All of my points are from the DBZ Wiki, so try not to get confused: On the point of Yamcha And Chiaotzu, for goodness sake, they’re not there because Frieza’s too strong. So what? They’d still do well against Frieza’s army if Master Roshi can. 18 would be able to easily obliterate Frieza’s army. Also, there is a stated reason for the Absence of Buu. – I don’t think that it’s stated anywhere in the Dubbed version. – Majin Buu is in some kind of sleep. –

        Also, when the hell did Roshi get so damn strong? Also, according to sources outside the series, standard Roshi is 139, with serious form from the 22nd Tournament being 180. Also, according to the wiki and quoted from Toriyama aswell, Master Roshi is about as strong as Krillin in the movie who is said to have a minimum power level of 75k and isn’t as weak as people think. Ehhhhhh?!?

    • EpicNomming

      I agree completely with everything. Holy shit. This is new.
      Yeah, Gohan actually fighting Freeza for a bit, even if Freeza “held back” in his 1st form would’ve been great. Vegeta getting a little bit more action would be nice too, but oh well.
      Nice review.

  • gothpunkboy89

    WoW they really don’t like Yamcha do they?

  • Rider

    I have to say, strange as it may sound, I actually don’t really feel that Vegeta had much of a moment in this movie.

    In Battle of (the) Gods, we’re basically treated to an awesome display of how much Vegeta’s grown over the course of the series, and the lengths he’s willing to go for the people he cares about.

    Here, he has an amusing interaction with Goku in the beginning, then just stands around for the entire movie, briefly beats Frieza up at the end, but ultimately has the kill taken by Goku. They kept building up how he was going to take a turn against Frieza, but in the end, it really was quite little. In comparison, to me, Vegeta as a character really stole the show in Battle of (the) Gods, and cements over and over again in that movie how great a character he is and how great Toriyama can write when he wants to.

    And all of that just wasn’t here, here. Between having characters randomly not present for reasons (though 18 not coming because Krillin was being “the man” was kind of cute, at least) and ones who should have been able to sense the danger not coming not even having reasons for not coming, and so much other problems, it really felt lacking compared to how tight and well put together the previous movie was.

    All in all, the movie’s writing just felt… forced. Battle of (the) Gods felt like a perfect blend of character and action to me, and the fact that people were disappointed in its lack of action to the point that we got this instead is rather disappointing. I was actually just downright bored during parts of the Frieza and Goku fight, which felt like it really dragged for a movie fight.

    I have to agree with you on how Whis was handled. I suspect if we had actually seen some of what happened between this and BoG, maybe it would have felt more natural? It came off to me like it was written as though we were the characters, who had in turn been used to Whis for a couple of years, so this was supposed to be, like it was to them, so big reveal or something, but it all just came off as forced, much like the randomly handing out new forms that quite honestly just seem tacky and unnecessary compared to how great SSG was handled in the previous movie.

    It wasn’t a bad movie, no, but whereas I could watch BoG again and again with a smile on my face all throughout, I think this one putters out about halfway through once Frieza stops winning against Goku.

  • Rawden

    I didn’t care for this movie. Maybe it’s because I’m not a Frieza fan or the way horrible use of CG or the contrived excuse for Goku to save the day, yet again, but I just never felt invested.

  • chemicalpoisons

    Man, even though I am excited about the fighting and the participation of the “minor” characters, I am still pissed as hell that it wasn’t Vegeta that delivered the final blow.

    Goku had defeated Frieza, Trunks had killed him, so I expected that this would be Vegeta’s rightful turn to enact some semblance of vengeance for everything he did to him…

    Sometimes I wonder why do I even hope for a just portrayal and writing of my favourite character…

    • Rider

      SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN IT
      Why let that happen when Frieza could be the one to kill Vegeta (temporarily) instead?

    • Yusagi

      That’s also my biggest issue with the movie. Goku beat Frieza before, Trunks killed Frieza, Vegeta has never been given the chance to do it, and between the three of them it’s really Vegeta who it’s most personal with when it comes to Frieza. Frieza murdered his father in front of him, destroyed his planet, enslaved him, humiliated him, and then killed him. It really should have been Vegeta who dealt the final blow in this case.

      I’ve gotten over Goku being a killstealer/attention hog over the years. Mostly I’m just happy that Vegeta didn’t follow his usual format of going first and getting trampled on and needing to be rescued. Also that it was mentioned he has a stronger potential than Goku. It’s just a shame that the series won’t ever allow that to go anywhere.

      • GokuSaiyan

        Here’s how I see it: Dragon Ball has always been the story of Goku. It started out as Goku as a kid, you watch him grow and mature. It’s always shown him fighting tougher enemies as he got older. So, I don’t expect it to change. It’s Goku’s show.

  • firewoven

    Well I’m definitely excited to see it tomorrow!