The Best Dragon Ball Media in Decades
Dragon Ball in 2019? Yes, the same Dragon Ball that once mesmerized a generation during the early 2000s is back – and this time- with a cinematic flourish that completely reinvigorates the franchise.
DBS Broly is a film that is part origin story, part action film, and part study into the complex sociopolitical relationships that ultimately led to the demise of the Saiyans. A series once known for plastering muscle before logic – finds a sensitivity and a humility in how it represents some of the series most beloved and mysterious characters while managing to up the spectacle further.
The film opens on Planet Vegeta where King Cold, an adolescent Freeza, and the Saiyan army are plotting their next move. Freeza mercilessly kills a few Saiyan men as he introduces what would eventually become the Freeza force. The Saiyans, proud warriors, are reduced to muttering nothings as the reality slips in that they are effectively slaves doing the bidding of someone who cares little for their lives.
The movie than moves into modern day where the main character, Broly, is introduced. A Saiyan child whose potential is unmeasurable, Broly is outcast to a toxic planet to survive alone. The feature does a great job highlighting his loss of innocence, his strained relationship with his father, and the mental fragility of a child raised on a planet unfit for survival.
One of the most fascinating elements of the film is how it delicately balances the anxiety and heartache of the Saiyan slave trade whilst also using humor to lighten the mood. Comedic timing, while not always hitting, acts as a breath of fresh hair to not leave the moments too grim. You would think with such complex narrative ambitions, the film would fall victim to it’s plot devices and shenanigans – on the contrare- the movie is accessible and welcoming to newcomers- and that might be it’s strongest point.
The back half of the film consists of the main conflict where Broly, the Z Fighters, and Freeza square off. Without speaking of the story further- what ensues is an almost hour of epic fight sequences.
And let me be clear here- when I say epic- I mean JAW DROPPING. This is one of the most well drawn animated films in the modern era. Fight scenes have a healthy amount of frames, tiny details litter across planet landscapes, and even some of the gags- such as the transformation into Gogeta are done with an excellent amount of fluidity.
One thing I really appreciated was the restraint shown when using computer generated effects. CG animation can have a profoundly jarring sheen, but in this film, the cel shaded characters and 2D work are the main showpiece. Purists and the staunchest critics should be pleased.
Lastly, I’d like to talk about the voice acting. The English VA is what I grew up with, and the actors did a fantastic job. Goku is the likable goof you know and love, Vegeta is the troubled “good guy”, and the Freeza is as evil as ever. The cast does a fantastic job of making the moments hit- when they needed to.
So with all that said- I’m going to save you from any spoilers and cut to the chase: DBS Broly is a modern classic. Power levels aside, this movie is over 9000!. This is the most bad ass, heartbreaking, and uplifting Dragon Ball experience to date. It offers enough backstory, action, drama, and humor- to satiate any long time fan- and make plenty new ones. Go see it in IMAX while you can!
A preview screening was provided by Manga Entertainment for this review
Distributor: Toei Company and 20th Centry Fox Japan
Release date: 23/01/2019
“Power levels aside, this movie is over 9000”