BLU-RAY REVIEW: DRAGON BALL Z: BATTLE OF GODS / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: MASAHIRO HOSODA / SCREENPLAY: YUSUKU WATANABE / STARRING: SEAN SCHEMMEL, CHRISTOPHER R. SABAT, JASON DOUGLAS, IAN SINCLAIR / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 10TH
Dragon Ball Z is one of anime’s best-loved series, and the latest feature-length addition to the saga, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, is sure to please any hardcore fans. As the first original DBZ release in over a decade, existing fans of the anime series are welcomed back with open arms, though the film does a pretty good job of isolating any potential new audiences. The anime series reached nearly 300 episodes and this feature assumes the audience will already have a pretty good knowledge of the show. It’s great to see some familiar faces, but characters like Tien, Krillin and Piccolo, although featured, aren’t even named for those who haven’t seen the anime. It’s a little overwhelming to have dozens of characters without any introductions, and definitely problematic for those with no prior knowledge of DBZ. That said, the film goes out of its way when it comes to fan-servicing, with lots of neat little references not just to the DBZ anime series, but also to Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT as well.
The plot of Battle of Gods isn’t going to win any awards for originality as it doesn’t really stray from the formula of the show, but it’s true to form with wit, smarts and even a touching moment or two. A cat-like God named Lord Beerus wakes from slumber and realises it’s time for the Super Saiyan God prophecy to come to light. He travels to Earth looking for a Super Saiyan God who might prove to be a challenge in battle and finds our hero, Goku. There’s a lot of build-up to the reveal of a Super Saiyan God, but it’s well-paced, and seeing the formidable Lord Beerus socialising, eating and dancing at a party thrown by Bulma is actually pretty funny.
Dragon Ball Z’s fantastically gripping and epic battle sequences have given Battle of Gods a lot to live up to. There are quite a few small fights in the film that don’t really offer anything that hasn’t been seen before in the DBZ world. Yes, the sequences are rapid, fluid and great to watch, but it’s not until the final showdown between Lord Beerus and Goku that the visuals really make an impact. From Beerus’ blast attack to the dramatic swooping sky fights amongst the skyscrapers of the city, Battle of Gods is cinematically stunning. The final fight sequences perfectly showcase the fluidity of DBZ’s infamous battles with the use of the superb modern visual effects available today, and the result is absolutely breath-taking.
Although it might not appeal to newer audiences, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is a wonderful homage to the glory days of the original anime series, and it’s great to see that the integrity of the characters and the formula of the show hasn’t changed over time. Battle of Gods is a must-see for any fan of the Dragon Ball universe, but it might not live up to the expectations of new viewers.
Special Features: Director's cut / Two featurettes / Full-length closing song / US trailer
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