I finally managed to see Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F. I caught it on the final night of its short, limited release run. As a pretty big Dragon Ball fan, I was excited for this movie from the moment of its announcement. However, when I heard that it was making strides in the box office, being the first limited release short run film to break the top 10 of the week, I knew I had to be one of the people to financially support it with my ticket purchase. While Resurrection F was a very good movie, it had some problems that need to be addressed.
Resurrection F picks up in the aftermath of Battle of Gods. The Frieza Force manages to collect all eight of Earth’s dragon balls. They use their one wish to bring their second in command, Frieza, back to life. Hellbent on getting revenge on Goku for defeating him, he spends four months training, eventually obtaining the ability to enter a fifth form. After gaining this ability, Frieza and his army immediately travel to Earth in search of Goku. It is up to Goku and Vegeta (currently training under Whis) to defeat Frieza, and send him back to Earth’s Hell for good.
Resurrection F did have some very strong elements. The seamless blending of 3D and hand drawn animation was superb. Although we didn’t have as big of a character roster as in Battle of Gods, it was still great to see everyone’s favorite pop culture icons return to the big screen. We also got the introduction of Jaco, a great comedic character that I look forward to seeing more of in Dragon Ball Super. It was also interesting to see Beerus and Whis as allies to the protagonists, rather than the primary antagonists of the story.
However, despite all of these positives, I had a few major issues with this movie. Dragon Ball is a traditional long running shounen anime franchise. Therefore, it is expected to feature epic battles that each arc of the narrative centers around. However, it is also expected to have slower, story building moments. Battle of Gods balanced these two key narrative elements perfectly. Resurrection F, while successful in the first of the two, featured almost none of the latter. The majority of the film’s hour and a half runtime was spent in battle, whether it be Goku’s allies fighting the Frieza Force, or Goku and Vegeta fighting Frieza himself. While these battles were strongly animated, choreographed, and written, the movie was lacking in the small character moments that made Battle of Gods so good.
My strongest problem with this film, however, was the lack of risk taking. Without getting into spoiler territory, the climax of this movie provided potential for a great opportunity for a future movie, or a future arc in Dragon Ball Super. However, Akira Toriyama decided to play it safe, making the ending very cliche. The conclusion was too traditional in more ways than one, contrasting the very unexpected ending of Battle of Gods.
To conclude, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F is still a good movie that is definitely worth the price of admission. However, its lack of character moments and risk taking made it an overall weaker entry into the franchise than Battle of Gods. Dragon Ball fans such as myself, however, will like this movie, regardless of these flaws. However, fans of storytelling and film, also such as myself, will find it has some problems. I look forward to how Dragon Ball Super will handle retelling this story as the second arc of the show. I hope that they take the time to implement more character moments, and perhaps alter the ending in a way that will allow for more experimentation in the show’s future.