If you're a fan of the Dragon Ball Z franchise you undoubtedly have been interested in FUNimation's latest releases of the series. The show's revitalization with its anamorphic widescreen presentation has sparked much controversy, but the DVD releases for the films have made just about as many waves. Presented with two films in a steelbook case, the DBZ films have received some nice treatment. Of course the quality of each movie begs to question whether or not it's worth the effort, but fans of the show should be pleased regardless.
I say that the films are of dubious quality simply for the fact that they are merely slightly extended episodes with no meaning of the show's plot. Don't get me wrong. As outings for fans of the anime they are perfectly fine. It's just that if you're looking for a meaningful plot, exciting story, or something that feels more theatrical, you're going to feel like you're missing something. With that being said, FUNimation's latest movie release bucks the trend somewhat and offers up three movies instead of two.
I suppose the decision to put three movies on this release instead of two comes from the fact that basically every other dual pack has more or less followed a specific theme. Whether a movie had a sequel or in some way tied into another, it seemed as though FUNimation was trying to keep like products together. For this steelbook DVD release Broly is the name of the game and the three films are Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly Second Coming, and Bio Broly. It's also worth noting that the first two Broly films were already released on Blu-ray back in 2007.
The first Broly picture begins in the middle of a relatively peaceful afternoon a spaceship arrives and spits out some guy named Paragus. He informs Vegeta about a Legendary Super Saiyan and naturally that piques the interest of the ex-villain. From there Vegeta sets off to another planet for a battle of galactic proportions. It's worth mentioning that several other characters from the show tag along as you'd expect. Gohan, Trunks, Krillin, Master Roshi and Oolong all find a way to go along for the ride because after all Vegeta will probably just wind up getting killed. If you know anything about the DBZ formula then you probably figured out that they are there for filler action until Goku arrives.
Fortunately for the would-be beaten to a pulp warriors, Goku receives a telepathic message and charges on ahead to tackle Broly. The two have a bizarre history that is explained during the film and, if you ask me, it's kind of ridiculous though I suppose you just have to take it with a grain of salt. In any event Goku and Broly fight, a planet is in jeopardy, and all hell breaks loose in the traditional Dragon Ball Z format. Like all of the other films from this franchise, this one turned out to be packed with filler and was more or less an extended episode. It wasn't bad, mind you, but it wasn't necessarily the be-all and end-all of DBZ either.
Taking place a little later in the series, Second Coming brings Broly back onto the Dragon Ball scene. Set years after the events of the first film, this one mainly involves Gohan, Goten, Vidal, and Trunks because at this point Goku isn't really around (think extended vacation). The film is kind of on the short side and once again it feels like an extended episode, though it's very entertaining and is loosely tied into Legendary Super Saiyan. The core of the plot sees Broly landing on earth only to become encased in ice where he stayed for the course of seven years. As it turns out Goten and friends are out looking for Dragon Balls when they unwittingly come across a recently thawed Broly. Fighting ensues and the Super Saiyans have to bring their powers together in order to defeat Broly. It's a big battle, but in the end it comes up short with regards to the actual plot.
Bio Broly was the lightest fare to be found on this release. This story did have some more ties to the series with an appearance by Mr. Satan and Android 18, but ultimately the story just came up short and seemed silly. Basically what you have here is a fight with Krillin, Marron, Trunks, and Goten as they travel to an island and meet a cloned version of Broly. Queue up some mutagenic goo and Broly soon turns into a bio-hazard version of himself and gains more powers. The best part of this film comes from the ending with a nice little send off for Broly's character. I won't spoil it, but let's just say a hero's work is never done.
For what they are, the Broly films are a fun outing for Dragon Ball Z, but nothing more than that. Like all of the other DBZ movies these were merely just slightly extended episodes with more action than substance. If that doesn't bother you and you're a fan of the show then by all means check these movies out. However, if you're new to the franchise or only know a little about DBZ these movies will most likely be lost on you and not very entertaining. Fans will get a kick out of these films, but everyone else can pass.
Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly Second Coming, and Bio Broly are presented on DVD in much the same way the remastered show is. The original Japanese material has been brought through one filter after another to clean up the picture, and it definitely shows. The presentation here is very similar to those of the other films we have seen. That means you can expect to still see dirt, grain, and some faded colors, but all around these instances are much lower than you'd expect and don't really mar the presentation. All three films are presented with anamorphic widescreen so they match the Uncut seasons also released by FUNimation.
All three films feature original Japanese language tracks with mono output and English 5.1 offerings with selections for original Japanese music and updated English tunes. When it comes to this series I have always been a fan of the original Japanese content and though the mono track is definitely more subdued I found the dub to be much more palatable. With that being said the English offerings are much better in the technical department with a greater sense of immersion. Unfortunately even that 5.1 selection isn't quite as robust as it could have been.
The only feature you're going to find for these three films is a spiffy package and some trailers.
Like all of the other Dragon Ball Z films, FUNimation's presentation of these three is pretty darned good. The video and audio has been spruced up a bit and the three movies are entertaining for what they are, but merely slightly extended episodes. None of these three really stands out, though I must say there are some nice moments within each. If you're a fan of DBZ then I'd say this release is recommended, however, everyone else can basically ignore it and go about their business.
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