I’m of the right age and was lucky enough as a kid to watch a ton of Dragonball Z, and regardless of what my little sisters say or think about it, I remember that show very fondly. It was a fun show that created memorable characters and looked really good for its time (and not to bad even nowadays). Resurrection F is the second movie to be made in recent years that takes place after the end of DBZ and before Dragonball GT, which was a much less memorable show then DBZ. It also marks the return of the most memorable villain in the whole series, Frieza, which is what the F stands for in the title; clever, I know. After being resurrected, Frieza does something he has never done before; he trains. This allows him to rise to the power level of Goku and Vegeta, both of whom have far outstripped him in the decade or so since his death (both of his deaths, don’t ask). After the rest of the Z Fighters mow down his army of thugs, Goku and Vegeta arrive from across the universe to save the day and defeat Frieza one more time.
Visually, this movie should appeal to both old fans and new. It takes most of the hallmarks of the original series and adapts them to modern animation technology so that we get fight scenes and moments that we simply could not get back in the late 80s, early 90s when everything still had to be hand drawn. The middle action scene, where Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Master Roshi, Tien Shinhan and Jaco the Galactic Patrolman fight off a giant horde of bad guys, simply would not have been possible twenty-five years ago. In that way, the movie really does bring some new things to the plate; fights are more complex and don’t rely on characters jumping around faster then we the audience can even see or limiting fights to just two or three characters at a time. While the climactic fights of Frieza vs. Goku then Vegeta are pretty classic style fights, the scenes before those ones really do feel fresh and modern; they give me hope that the series going forward will not be completely trapped by it’s past or nostalgia. Frieza’s new form, along with Goku and Vegeta’s new god forms, are well done and surpass most everything done in GT; I hope that the success of these movies along with the new show wipe that series out of existence.
I also really enjoyed the humor of this movie. The writers and voice actors really capture some of the best and funniest aspects of this world and the characters themselves. Some of the lighter moments are amongst the funniest moments I think the series has ever had. Jaco especially is quite funny and I hope that we get to see more of him if they decide to make more of these. Both Lord Beerus and Whis return from the last movie and they are as great as ever. I also really enjoyed some of the character interactions, especially between Vegeta and Goku, who have developed a great love/hate relationship that feels a lot more authentic then it should. When Vegeta turns down Frieza’s offer to join him, you get the sense that the things he says about Goku are true and as heartfelt as he can manage.
That being said, the movie definitely does suffer a bit from its heritage. Ever since the latter parts of DBZ, the series has become the Goku and Vegeta show. In almost every case, the other characters have been so outclassed in terms of power and ability that they are often only useful as cannon fodder or as delay tactics till Vegeta, but most likely Goku, arrive. The movie makes fun of this a bit, but it doesn’t really get points for noticing but not addressing a pretty big narrative problem. I like Goku and Vegeta quite a bit, but it does get a little old watching everybody else wait around for them to show up. Hopefully, the show and any more movies will come up with ways for Gohan or Piccolo (somebody, ANYBODY) to catch up with them. The movie also lets me down by having Goku be the one who ultimately defeats and kills Frieza. Considering all that Frieza did to Vegeta and his people, it would have been nice to see the Prince of Saiyans end this particular threat. Also, it would have been nice to see anybody besides Goku win the day.
Ultimately, Dragonball Z: Resurrection F is a really fun movie that any DBZ fan, old or new, should enjoy quite a bit. I honestly don’t know how a person will respond to this movie if they walk into it completely cold, but that’s not who is seeing this movie (I hope). It’s a quality movie that captures all the good, and some of the bad, things from the classic cartoon series.