Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is the latest feature film of the eternally popular Dragon Ball Z franchise and if this blockbuster release is any indication, then this franchise is nowhere near to losing any steam, and creator, Akira Toriyama, is still laughing on his way to the bank. The great thing about the Dragon Ball universe is that anything and everything can happen, and no matter what happens it’s always plausible and it always fits into the lore and continuity. The glue and pillar that holds the insurmountable mass of ethos together lies within the title itself: Dragon Ball. The seven mythical orbs, upon being assembled, summon the Eternal Dragon that is Shenron, who can make anything happen. This franchise was clearly planned ahead, and the 7 Dragon Balls are the ultimate foolproof contingency plan that can repair any plot hole. No other anime franchise can hold itself strongly with such simplicity quite like Dragon Ball.
Honestly, that’s the endearing appeal of the franchise in general… it’s sheer simplicity which allows its audience to turn their brains off and just enjoy the explosive action, and smile at the down-to-earth charm of the colourful cast of heroes and villains. You can’t get more wholesome than Dragon Ball when it comes to anime, and the latest film, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ ,ticks all the right boxes and more.
Resurrection ‘F’ follows after the earth shattering (literally) events of the previous movie, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, which was a pretty entertaining film in its own right. In Resurrection ‘F’, rivals Goku and Vegeta are training with Whis to become stronger than they already are. These guests are pretty much unwanted to “The Destroyer” Beerus, who unwillingly lets the Saiyan warriors crash on his planet… so as long as he gets his fill of pizza and other earthly delights. Beerus pushed Goku and Vegeta over the edge in the prior film, allowing the indestructible Saiyans to discover a God-like transformation. Of course, in Dragon Ball Z there simply is no upper limit to power.
In the midst of seemingly ordinary and peaceful events, a familiar and legendary foe re-emerges from the cruel (although adorable) depths of hell thanks to the power of the Dragon Balls. When it comes to the all time great battles and rivals that Goku and his friends have faced over the past few decades, Frieza is certainly up there as among the most formidable, and his resurrection is essentially the premise of this film. With him fully resurrected thanks to his loyal comrades and the Dragon Balls, Frieza spends months to train himself up to become more powerful than he had ever been. With an army assembled, and an unquenchable thirst for revenge against Goku, Frieza sets out to threaten planet Earth once more.
There are essentially two chunks that make up this film, with the first being a full scale war between Frieza’s army and all of Goku’s friends and allies. As per tradition, Goku never shows up on time, and so his equally endearing comrades (including his own son, Gohan) team up to take on the entirety of Frieza’s forces. This war is visually intense and an absolute blast to witness, seeing every character and their signature moves get ample screen time to kick some serious butt in really creative and entertaining ways. Jaco the Galatic Patrolman in particular steals the spotlight here, despite his apparent unwillingness to get involved. For someone who seems afraid to get his hands dirty, he sure can deliver when it counts.
The second battle is the rematch of all rematches: Freiza versus Goku (with some involvement from Vegeta of course). This is a fast paced, hard hitting battle that will have you on the edge of your seat. What’s really cool about it is its unpredictable progression, especially when Goku’s gains the upper hand with ease in the early moments of the fight. Things take some interesting twists and turns during the bout, with plenty of false finishes. Without giving much way, what’s really cool about the whole showdown is that despite how fleshed out and powerful these characters have become, this film still manages to instil new development in these classic characters, and not just in their combat prowess, but also in terms of their personality and resolve. Goku, and the Dragon Ball franchise in general, seems to be stubbornly set in their ways, but Resurrection ‘F’ manages to surprise viewers with some character evolution, wonderfully executed with simplicity.
What’s great about the viewing experience is that even in the midst of all the battles and chaos that will leave you in awe, Resurrection ‘F’ will still make you smile and laugh at the same time. It manages to insert jokes in the most unexpected places, but it never feels jarring or inappropriate. That’s the beauty of Dragon Ball in general: it keeps everything fun and simple, and yet pulls it off in such grandeur and epic fashion.
Visually, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is a feast for the eyes, and rarely do you see 2.5D visuals fuse so seamlessly into hand-drawn animation without looking tacked on. The 3D effects never stick out like a sore thumb, and they in fact help make the set pieces look stunning, and in particular, the epic war between Freiza’s army and Goku’s allies benefits the most from this 2.5D visual overhaul. The soundtrack shines too in this feature film, with some great energetic insert songs by bands like Maximum the Hormone.
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is for the lack of a better word, awesome. As far as Shonen action films go, you really can’t do any better than Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’. In fact, it’s perhaps the best Dragon Ball movie period. From its larger than life battles, complemented by superb production values, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is a feast for the senses.