Tag: Dragon Ball Z movies

Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn / Wrath of the Dragon

If you’re one of many people who feel that “Dragon Ball GT” hurt the integrity of the “Dragon Ball” franchise more than it helped it, you probably also consider the final episode of “Dragon Ball Z” as the official ending point of Akira Toriyama’s beloved anime. Of course, you’d be wrong to think that. While “Dragon Ball GT” is quite the abomination, Toriyama and Co. released two more “Dragon Ball Z” films that take place after the end of the series, and believe it or not, they’re actually quite good. The plot of “Fusion Reborn” will probably sound familiar to fans (something about the inhabitants of Hell wreaking havoc on Earth while Goku fends off the latest, greatest evil supervillain), but thanks to a nice mix of action and comedy, not to mention the first appearance of Gogeta, it’s actually pretty entertaining. (Bonus points for Hitler’s comment about Trunks and Gohan: “Blonde hair, blue eyes, super strength. I should be recruiting them.”) “Wrath of the Dragon,” meanwhile, is perhaps the best “DBZ” movie of the lot because it actually feels like the writers put some thought into creating an original story. This one involves the unleashing of an ancient monster, and though the monster itself is defeated rather easily, it’s the relationship between Trunks and Taipon (the hero in charge of trapping the monster) that really makes the film feel like it’s more than just one, long 40-minute fight sequence. It’s too bad the other movies don’t adhere to the same set of rules, because while “Fusion Reborn” and “Wrath of the Dragon” feature a similar checklist (action, comedy, and more action), they go the extra mile in making the actual stories satisfying as well.

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Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13 / Bojack Unbound

I don’t know what it is about the “Dragon Ball Z” movies that make them feel so second-rate, but it probably has something to do with the fact that they’re nothing more than cheap imitations of the series. “Super Android 13” is the perfect example, because it pits the Z Fighters against a trio of androids created by the late Dr. Gero – even though that ground was covered pretty thoroughly in the Imperfect and Perfect Cell sagas. And though it’s fun to watch Goku, Vegeta, Trunks and Piccolo fighting side by side, there’s not a single original moment in the film’s brisk 45-minute runtime. “Bojack Unbound” fares a little better, not only because it takes place during a World Martial Arts Tournament, but because it showcases something we’ve never seen before; in this case, a slightly older Gohan and Future Trunks. The latter was never seen again following the Cell Games (after all, the real Trunks had already been born), and Gohan went from annoying kid to mature teenager within one episode, so it’s kind of cool to see them fight during the period in between. Unfortunately, the fights aren’t very exciting, because while Bojack is built up to be this menacing enemy, it’s difficult to imagine any of the fighters having a problem defeating him after their battle with Cell. That’s “Dragon Ball Z” for you, though, and when you’re a fan of the show, you learn to take the good with the bad. This might not be the strongest of the double features, but thanks to “Bojack Unbound,” it’s not quite the weakest either.

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Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge / The Return of Cooler

By far two of the best “Dragon Ball Z” movies released, the Cooler-themed double feature is much shorter in comparison to the earlier films, but it’s a vast improvement on a tired formula that felt stale the first time around. The first film, “Cooler’s Revenge,” opens with a prologue that shows how Freiza’s older brother let the escape pod carrying Goku as a child get away unharmed. When he discovers that a Saiyan killed his cocky little brother during his attempted takeover of Namek, however, Cooler heads to Earth with his Armored Squadron to exact revenge. Following Goku’s eventual defeat of Cooler (who’s seemingly burned to a crisp by the Sun), the Z Warriors are contacted by Dende warning of an alien takeover of Namek’s new home planet. When they arrive, a new and improved Metal Cooler is there to welcome them – and this time around, he’s got the help of a rogue computer chip that automatically rebuilds him every time he’s destroyed. Sure, he’s kind of like Cell (who had a similar regenerative power), but anyone who enjoyed the Namek and Freiza sagas (and really, what “DBZ” fan didn’t like them?) will absolutely love both of these films. Short, sweet and loaded with wall-to-wall action, “Cooler’s Revenge” features Piccolo in one of his most badass appearances yet, while Vegeta’s team-up with Goku in “The Return of Cooler” is a welcome surprise.

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Dragon Ball Z: Tree of Might / Lord Slug

It’s a shame that the Dragon Ball Z movies aren’t as good as the series itself, but I guess that’s the price you pay when you’re only given 60 minutes to tell a story. You’d also think that with the sixth season hitting stores on the same day, we’d be a little further along in the DBZ timeline, but “Tree of Might” and “Lord Slug” take place pre-Namek – when Gohan was still an annoying little kid and Goku had yet to become a total badass. “Tree of Might” is definitely the worst of the two, and it might even be the worst of all the Dragon Ball Z movies. By now, we’ve already seen Goku go toe-to-toe against his brother Radditz, as well as his father Bardock (albeit in a strange dream sequence), so the idea of pitting Goku against another Saiyan that looks just like him is, well, kind of lame. Additionally, the battles are boring and the movie ends so abruptly that it isn’t even worth your time. It’s a good thing that “Lord Slug” is included in the set, because “Tree of Might” probably wouldn’t be worth owning on its own. Though it does have its share of similarities to the series, (the villain hearkens back to the days of Lord Piccolo, while his lackeys are reminiscent of the Ginyu Force), “Lord Slug” is still one of the better movies to be released thanks to some entertaining fight sequences. Not even Gohan and his stupid dinosaur friend can ruin that.

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Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone / The World’s Strongest

With both TV specials now available on DVD, the next logical step for Funimation in their ongoing plan to remaster everything “Dragon Ball Z” was to begin releasing the series’ other 13 films in conjunction with the remaining season sets. This two-disc double feature collects the first two, “Dead Zone” and “The World’s Strongest,” and though neither one is considered required viewing for the casual fan, they’re still part of the official canon. “Dead Zone” takes place just before the first episode of “DBZ” – when Goku and Piccolo were still mortal enemies and Gohan was as annoying as ever – and finds the evil Garlic Jr. fulfilling his wish for immortality. “The World’s Strongest,” meanwhile, takes place just after the Saiyan Saga and follows the famous Dr. Wheelo (now in brain form after his body decomposed in an icy prison) as he attempts to harvest the world’s strongest warrior for his new body. Both movies have two things in common: they use Gohan’s hidden potential as the catalyst for eventual victory (like Bruce Banner, you don’t want to make Gohan angry), and they exhibit several similarities to future story arcs (Dr. Wheelo is essentially a poor man’s Dr. Gero, right down to the robot warrior lackeys). Neither one is especially memorable, but diehard fans wanting to update their collection will be rewarded with the best-looking versions of these movies yet.

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