Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods
Director: Masahiro Hosoda
Writers: Akira Toriyama, Yûsuke Watanabe
U.S.A. Voice Cast: Laura Bailey, John Burgmeier, Chris Cason, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Justin Cook, Cynthia Cranz, Jason Douglas, Kara Edwards, Kyle Hebert, Chuck Huber, Bradford Jackson, Josh Martin, Meredith McCoy, Brina Palencia, Chris Rager, Monica Rial, Christopher Sabat, Sean Schemmel, Ian Sinclair, Mark Stoddard, Sonny Strait, Kent Williams
Japanese Voice Cast: Masako Nozawa, Hiroko Emori, Toshio Furukawa, Tôru Furuya, Tesshô Genda, Aya Hirano, Ryô Horikawa, Shigeru Chiba, Unshô Ishizuka, Miki Itô, Yôko Kawanami, Takeshi Kusao, Hikaru Midorikawa, Yûko Minaguchi, Masakazu Morita, Masaharu Satô, Kôzô Shioya, Mayumi Tanaka, Naoki Tatsuta, Hiromi Tsuru, Kenji Utsumi, Naoko Watanabe, Eiko Yamada, Kôichi Yamadera, Jôji Yanami
Synopsis: The Z-Fighters must contend with Lord Beerus, the God of Destruction, but only a God can fight a God, and none of them are Gods. However with the creation of the Super Saiyan God, will the Z-Fighters be able to defeat Lord Beerus?
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Note: Sadly, I wasn't able to catch this film in theaters, due to a hectic work schedule. However, I did buy the extended edition DVD of this film, so this entire review will be based on the extended English dubbed version.
8.3 / 10
- Jokes were funny. Pilaf's gang had some great comedic moments.
- Interesting story that expands the "Dragon Ball Z" universe, as it leaves room for a lot of possibilities for more stories.
- The singular rotating camera work during Goku's final fight with Beerus was amazing, as it makes the viewer feel like they're right there in the action.
- Sound effects and mixing are good.
- Voice acting was great.
- Upgraded animation that combines CGI with traditional 2-D hand drawn animation
- Beerus is quite possibly the most unique DBZ villain ever conceived, and arguably the best antagonist the series has produced thus far.
- The surprise twist at the end is a rather nice change, and it's completely unexpected from a DBZ franchise that's notorious for never changing it's formula.
- The film is unkind to the uninitiated. If you know next to nothing about this franchise, then you're going to be completely lost, as the film relies on the fact that you already know the characters and history of the franchise.
- Although Pilaf and his crew were funny to watch, the harsh reality is that they slowed down the pacing of the film. Whenever they were on screen, it forced the story to pause to focus on their antics; which had relatively little to nothing to do with the overall story arc.
- The Super Saiyan God form felt uninspired, and unoriginal, when you consider it looks exactly like Goku from season 1, when he used his "Kaio Ken attack."
Behold the legend of the Super Saiyan God....
In light of the horrendous film adaptation, "Dragonball Evolution", that was made a few years ago, Akira Toriyama has taken it upon himself to create a brand new anime movie that not only continues the adventures of Goku and his pals, but it also promises to retcon the entire "Dragonball GT" series as well.
Although, I wouldn't say "Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods" is perfect by any means, but it's definitely the best movie of the franchise thus far. The story takes place between the events of the "Majin Buu" saga, and the final saga that introduced Uub as being Goku's inevitable apprentice. Goku is off training on King Kai's planet, and Vegeta is doing a bit of his own training as well; while the rest of the "Z-Fighters" prepare for Bulma's birthday party.
Things seem to be normal, but the god of destruction (Lord Beerus) wakes up after his long slumber. Apparently, each of the twelve known universes has a god of destruction, and Lord Beerus happens to be one of them. Upon hearing the news that Goku killed Frieza, Lord Beerus gets a premonition about the possible existence of a Super Saiyan God. This intrigues Beerus so much that he decides to pay a visit to Goku and his friends on Earth, to see if they might know anything about it.
Lord Beerus is said to be so strong that even the Supreme Kai (who's basically the god of creation in the "Dragon Ball Z" universe) is afraid of him. After a brief encounter with Goku on King Kai's planet, Goku challenges him to a sparring match. And surprisingly, Goku loses to Beerus quite easily. Even with Goku being powered up to his Super Saiyan 3 form, Lord Beerus was still able to take him out like he was nothing.
After defeating Goku, Beerus heads to Earth to find out if any of the other Saiyans know about the possible existence of a Super Saiyan God. Sadly, they don't, and it's up to Vegeta to make sure Beerus has a good time at Bulma's party. For you see, Beerus has been known to destroy entire planets and solar systems if the host planet he visits isn't up to his liking. Hell, there's even a brief flashback sequence, where it shows Vegeta's father kissing Beerus' a**. Needless to say, Vegeta knows firsthand how dangerous Beerus is, so he doesn't want to piss him off. In fact, Vegeta even puts his own pride on the line, by dancing and singing like an idiot, when it looked like Beerus was going to destroy the Earth.
Although it did seem a bit out of character for Vegeta to make a fool out of himself to appease others, but it was actually very funny to watch. If anything, t's probably one of the best parts of the movie.
Unlike most "Dragon Ball Z" films, Akira Toriyama claims this one is canon to the TV series and manga; while the others weren't. It's interesting to note that even the ending is vastly different than what you might expect from this franchise. I won't give it away for those that haven't seen it, but it's kind of refreshing to see that Toriyama went a different route in the story.
In previous films, some random villain would show up. They would start trouble, and beat up all the other "Z Fighters. However, Goku/Gohan would always end up kicking the villain's a**; regardless of how strong they allegedly were. In this particular situation, Goku powers up to a new level, but the outcome isn't what you would expect. In fact, "Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods" subverts a lot of stereotypes and tropes that fans would normally expect to come out of a DBZ movie in general.
Beerus for instance isn't your typical villain. As most fans would know, all the previous DBZ villains were either sadistically evil, or they were merely misunderstood anti-heroes that would end up changing their ways eventually (i.e. Piccolo and Vegeta). However, Beerus isn't evil at all. Apart from having a short temper, Beerus isn't lusting for power because he's already the strongest being in the universe.
He doesn't need to impress anyone because he knows who he is. Unlike Frieza and other villains, Beerus doesn't destroy other worlds because it suits his personal tastes. He does it because it's his job, and he's shown to be compassionate sometimes as well. In fact, Beerus isn't really a villain, as he's more of a character that's put into an antagonistic role. It's quite interesting, and it makes Beerus arguably the best antagonist that Akira has ever conceived for this franchise.
I especially loved the humor in this film, as it was very reminiscent of the old "Dragon Ball" series that started it all. Heck, Emperor Pilaf and his cronies even come back to play a vital role as well. Although their presence does distract from the overall story itself, there's no denying that they were entertaining to watch.
As for the animation, I have to say it was rather impressive. Unlike the previous films, this one seems to be more of a hybrid of CGI mixed in with traditional hand drawn animation. With the characters being portrayed mostly in regular 2-D animation, while using CGI backgrounds during most of the fighting sequences.
The end result is quite impressive, as you can tell the a lot of work was put into the animation. Plus, the cinematography, during the final fight scene, was simply outstanding, as it implemented a singular rotating camera that followed both of their moves fairly close. It was almost like you were right there in the action. Whereas previous DBZ movies and episodes, you'd often be subjected to a combination of a third person angle to a close up shot of the fighters; while the characters would disappear and reappear in certain areas, in order to create the illusion of speed.
In this film though, it ignores that by allowing the audience to see almost everything. I have to admit it was rather surprising to see this from a DBZ film, but it works rather well to create arguably one of the best fight scenes this series has ever conceived.
Sadly, that's not to say that this film was perfect any means either. For starters, if you've never seen a DBZ episode in your life, or read the manga it's based on, then you're going to be lost watching this film. Most of the characters are intentionally underdeveloped, as "Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods" tends to rely on the notion that anyone watching it already knows who each of the characters are.
Plus, Akira's character design for Goku's super saiyan god form felt a bit uninspiring. The design of Goku's new transformations looks exactly like Goku using his "Kaio Ken Attack" from the "Saiyan Saga"; which is a technique that amplifies his strength up to ten to twenty times stronger. The only difference is that the animation is better, but it still looks eerily the same.
Did Toriyama mean for it to look this way? Or did he simply forget that's what Goku looks like using his "Kaio Ken Attack?" Maybe I'm being too nitpicky here, but the new super saiyan god transformation feels a bit uninspired if anything.
Overall, if your a die hard fan of this franchise, then you're going to love this movie; regardless of it's flaws. However, if you're new to the series, then I wouldn't recommend it. As I pointed out earlier, the film itself is unkind to the uninitiated, as it relies on the notion that you know who the characters are. Therefore, if you know nothing about DBZ, and you're watching this film, then you're going to be lost. However, it's worth checking out if your a fan of this franchise.
© 2014 Steven Escareno
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