Kami-sama's old nemesis's son has come to exact revenge on Kami-sama for winning the title of Earth's Guardian. After kidnapping Son Gohan and using the dragon balls to gain immortality, he has a final showdown with Goku.
Each character follows the same personality they have in the series, holding every grudge, knowledge, technique, etc., they had up to the release date of this movie. It develops the pre-existing characters very well. However, most of the characters that were introduced exclusively for this movie are not developed.
The story revolves around the Dragon Balls, just like everything else related to this series; some evil character appears and tries to grab a hold on the Dragon Balls in order to rule/destroy the world. It's not unique or original, but it at least entertains.
The art remains the same as the one
employed in the series, with the same buffed up muscles we're all accustomed to see. The fight scenes remain as thrilling as they were in the series, too. Art and animation, overall, was pretty good.
I happened to watch the movie already dubbed in English. I guess the voice acting was just alright, but I prefer the original japanese voice actors, the ones that did the voices in the original 291-episodes series. Opening and ending songs are the same as the series' japanese version ones.
If you're a Dragon Ball fan, you're definitely going to enjoy watching Goku and company get into some new fights, just like I did.
This movie takes place before the start of Dragonball z, and after the events of Dragonball. This movie was alrigth, but like all of the DBZ movie it has some plot holes. Like krillin not being suprised that Goku has a son, While he seems suprised in the first episode of DBZ. Overall it was pretty short and the battle was not that great. In my opinon only watch this if your a fan of DBZ if not than just watch the series.
When I look back on the very first DBZ movie, I always find it ironic how it's actually among the best in the line up. Each of the following movies venture the exact same path, which is to provide the viewer with low brow entertainment through lots of action and comedy. I have no beef with this. The problem is, once you get pass the first batch of movies, you start to sense the lack of innovation and even creativity. They become unbelievably gimmicky and that feel of a cash in is all over the place. Dragon Ball Z is definitely an anime series you
must be a die hard fan of to consistently enjoy.
Dragon Ball Z: The Dead Zone is a pretty fun title. It feels a lot more like the Dragon Ball series, as it takes the viewer on a near non stop action-filled ride. Almost from the very beginning, the action begins and rarely lets up, and it's actually a real joy to watch. The production values pretty much delivers; the battles do utilize that boring reused cel format, but the energy attacks and minimum choreography provide the fun. Especially during one of the moments when Goku is dodging and blocking various attacks from the combined might of the main villains goons.
There are also some nice background shots of the palace they battle in, and later on in the destroyed ruins of the place. The battles at different points takes place during the evening under an orange sun set that looks really nice. Now normally when it comes down to voice acting, I prefer to watch the dub because that way I can focus better on animation and music without having to look down at subs. This is one of those rare moments I can't tolerate the dub though. The voice acting itself isn't the problem, but there's this one musical scene that takes place with Gohan that is far better in the sub, because it actually contains the song. While in English, the entire scene feels bland. On top of this, I do believe the sieyuu is far better, with the legendary Kamiya Akira voicing lead villain Garlic Jr and Masako Nozawa voicing Goku. They had some really good chemistry going here.
The plot follows Goku as he tracks Gohan to the villain Garlic Jr. Garlic gathers the Dragon Balls to make a wish, and from here fist start flying again. During the later movies, characters will appear only to be taken down in record time. Here, characters like Piccolo and even Krillin are used pretty well.
One of the main problems I've always heard about this movie was the 45 minute length. When looking at the fact this is a franchise flick that rarely has a good plot to work with anyway, and a majority of the time the action scenes aren't breaking any new ground. I just can't see length as a problem. If anything, Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone feels too ordinary even for that time.
Overall, this is a solid movie that actually fits into main continuity, something you won't see often in the later movies. The action scenes do depict character deaths yet it's nothing over the top. The movie feels child friendly for the most part. Fans of the series will more than likely enjoy this. Newbies really shouldn't start here since character development is non existant. For them, I recommend coming into the first season of the main series. If that piques your interest enough to move further, then go ahead and give this a shot.
Highs: Short and to the point, knows what it wants to be
Lows: Average at best, mainly for fans of franchise
So, on a whim, I decided to begin working my way through all the Dragon Ball Z movies, as I've never seen any of them, outside of seeing pieces of Broly a decade ago. The first film in the series, Dead Zone, despite some minor inaccuracies, is essentially a forty minute prequel to the major Dragon Ball Z series. If I had to sum this movie up, it's the perfect union of the original Dragon Ball, beginning to integrate with the more modern Dragon Ball Z. It's fun, it's gorgeous (especially for a film from 1989!), and it's in a package that's essentially an extended
episode of Dragon Ball Z.
I adore the art design for this film - the deep oranges and reds of Garlic Jr's castle is a fantastic setting for the main conflict of this film, which I honestly feel is better then many of the other settings in the rest of the Dragon Ball Z series. They also, amazingly, nailed the transformation of Garlic Jr - I was wondering how they'd make such a diminutive goblin-looking guy into an actual decent antagonist, and they pulled it off. The effortless nature he takes down Goku and Piccolo prior to their power-up moment is really entertaining to watch, and the sequence where he hunts them down in total darkness was a highlight of the film.
The action is fantastic in this movie - the highlights of which is Goku's 1-on-3 against Garlic Jr's squad, and Goku struggling with the sword duel later on in the fight (On a tangent, I finally know what that scene from the Western OP of DBZ is from now!). It's also nice to see everyone get a little bit of the action, except for Krillian, who really seems relegated sadly to babysitter for a couple of minutes. It wouldn't have worked in the film, but I was a little sad to see Goku and Piccolo only exchange a few blows, but the prospect of a movie-level brawl between the two is exciting. The unique placement in the timeline is one of the most engaging parts of the film, as Piccolo is barely an ally at all - whilst we love him today as ally of the cast, and Gohan's better dad, there is something just so cool and exciting at seeing a antagonistic Piccolo.
I also really appreciated how they blended the more childish and silly humour of Dragon Ball with the more combat focused elements, with all the yelps and freak-outs from Goku and Krillin. Though, I have to say, Gohan's weird apple-based drug-trip went on a little too long, and there was something a little uncomfortable seeing such a young kid like that. While I'm talking about little touches of the film, I enjoyed the scene of Chichi attempting to defend Gohan, since her martial art prowess isn't something we've seen pretty much at all in DBZ or Super.
My biggest complaints with the film mostly deal with the story - it's really nothing special outside of it's setting in the series timeline, and the way in which they deal with Garlic Jr, whilst fitting with events in the series overall, feels really anticlimatic and a real handwave to the threat he poses - but at the same time, Garlic Jr's early power-up really locked them in a corner on how he was going to be dealt with.
Overall, Dead Zone is a great movie that just feels like a really good, extended episode of Dragon Ball Z. You really can't go wrong watching this if you're a Dragon Ball Z fan, though some of the comedy elements featuring Gohan break up the movie a bit and are just odd. But for the most part, it's a great time, and highly recommended!