NOTE: This film was reviewed through a theatrical screener that included FUNimation's English dub only.
The Dragon Ball franchise is a juggernaut in the anime fandom, a franchise that has spawned 600 plus episodes over the course of multiple series' (including one new television series that's currently airing), over 20 movies and TV specials, dozens of video games, trading cards, apparel. Etc. Dragon Ball is simply a cultural phenomenon.
Back in 2013, for one reason or another, Akira Toriyama decided to revisit the characters that made him so famous with the theatrically released film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. After the immense success of the film, Toei likely threw as much money possible at Toriyama to continue with another film, thus we have Resurrection F, which is being released stateside mere months after its theatrical release in Japan.
For anyone who is familiar with the Dragon Ball Z franchise is most certainly familiar with Frieza (voiced by Chris Ayres), the "F" in Resurrection F. For those not well versed in the series, Frieza was once the most feared tyrant in the galaxy. He ruled the galaxy with an iron fist and was directly responsible for the destruction of Planet Vegeta, the home world of the Saiyan race and the planet that Vegeta was destined to rule.
The film kicks off a few months after the events of the last film, Battle of Gods, the earth remains at peace, and Goku (voiced by Sean Schemmel) and Vegeta (voiced by Chris Sabat) have taken the opportunity to begin their training under Whis (voiced by Ian Sinclair) after their battle with the god of destruction, Beerus (voiced by Jason Douglas.) Elsewhere, 2 warriors who once served under Frieza, Sorbet and Tagoma (voiced by Jeremy Schwartz and Micah Solusod, respectively) have gathered the dragon balls thank to some help from Pilaf (voiced by Chuck Huber) and his crew.
Despite Frieza being sliced into pieces and blasted into oblivion by both Goku and for good by Trunks (Eric Vale), the pair are able to revive the fallen tyrant, and thanks to some technology that is glossed over, he's quickly able to regenerate and fully recover. Now fully revived, Frieza only has one thing on his mind... revenge against those whom have bested him, and he decides to start with Goku and planet Earth!
Unaware of the threat that is quickly looming over their world, Can Goku and Vegeta make it back in time to save the day? or is it up to Earth's last line of defense? Piccolo (Chris Sabat), Gohan (Kyle Hebert), Tien (John Burgmeier), Krillin (Sonny Strait), Master Roshi (Mike McFarland) and an oddly placed space patrolman named Jaco (Todd Haberkorn.) Whatever the result (no spoilers!) Resurrection F has one hell of a 3rd act.
While I feel like there were still a few problems carried over from Battle of Gods, like the pacing being a bit off and the random transformation, Resurrection F is a much more cohesive film and there is a lot to love about this film if you're a fan of the Dragon Ball Z franchise. The staple of the franchise, the action sequences, are slick and wonderfully animated, the characters actually get some development, and Frieza is a terrifically menacing villain (played excellently by Chris Ayres) for this particular film.
+ Some much needed character development for Goku and Vegeta.
+ Frieza's return is handled appropriately.
+ The English dub is FUNimation's best yet for the DBZ franchise. Obvious standouts are going to be those with the meatiest roles like Chris Ayres, Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat who play Frieza, Goku and Vegeta, respectively. I truly feel that these actors are the definitive choices for their respective characters. Outside of the core 3, I continue to immensely enjoy Jason Douglas's Beerus the Destroyer as he plays the role with wonderful glee and I really enjoyed Kyle Hebert's return as Gohan as well.
+ Characters who were pushed to the side in the television series, like Tien, Roshi, Piccolo, and Krillin, all get their moment to shine.
+ Unlike Battle of Gods, the comedy works in smaller doses.
+ Beautifully animated.
+ The action sequences were plentiful and excellent, some of the best in the entirety of the franchise in fact.
- The new transformations just... happen. The fight starts and Goku simply powers up into the new form without any explanation. Vegeta wasn't a super saiyan god in the first film because you have to be pure of heart to attain it, now he just randomly is. In fact, not only is he a super saiyan god, but like Goku, he's ascended past it. Both of which are unexplained in the film. Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with the new transformations, and I'm glad Vegeta gets what has been long overdue, to be Goku's equal, but I didn't care for how it just came out of nowhere.
- The pacing was a bit off for an hour and a half film. There were some spots in the first third that really dragged on which were more evident on my repeat viewing.
- Goku and Vegeta don't make their appearance until roughly a half hour into the film, then they're gone for another 25 minutes or so after that.