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.
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
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.
When it comes to the Dragonball films in general they usually follow something different. instead of the canon material that the series contains
It instead mixes certain content from the series themselves but only to present a different setting that usually is not always direct from the series.
So therefore, Do not go into watching them expecting anything that great of a premise in the first place since its not meant to do so, except just take them as special added content for its standard viewing alone.
So on to the first Dragon Ball Z Movie When I finished watching the film, I thought it was just average.
it mainly follows a group of demons that show up with the main lead villain Garlic Jr who looks to find the dragonballs and gain immortality which probably out of all the villains in the movies ironically Garlic Jr is the only one who manages to succeed in doing this, however this apparently backfires on him in the dumbest way possible towards the end of the film.
As for the characters of course you have Goku, Piccolo, Gohan, Krillin and Kami as they battle against Garlic Jr along with his henchman on standby.
Kami being there also shows a tense history between him and garlic jr from their past but also as well as a showdown its also a rescue mission for goku as his son gets kidnapped early on which as I mentioned at the start of this review the movies share similarities of content compared with the series since gohan being kidnap feels like that time when raditz in the series kidnap gohan also.
The Characters I really don't need to give an introduction to as most people would know who they are already so I won't waste much time talking about them. As for the villains, I found them forgettable.
Animation was very good funny enough, especially during the fight sequences as they look very fluid in combat. For a film that was aired back in 1989 during its initial release its surprisingly well done for something that came out over 25 years ago.
Music was also okay but nothing memorable.
The thing I didn't like in the film was the ending which was lame since the villain being immortal seals himself with his own move called the dead zone which for some reason is the title of this film and that to me is a dumb move for a villain with immortality to possess and I was also quite put off by gohan who starts getting high and going off into his own fantasy world being somewhere up in cloud 9 but all in all I feel this was mainly a mindless and not so long film to get through thankfully so despite having really dumb villains I still found this easy just to get through,
All in all, its a very simplistic film meant for action and just passing some time.
The story is pretty light-weight since the whole purpose of this film - and its subsequent movies - are all about giving us more reason to watch Goku punch stuff, but it's still engaging none-the-less. While the premise was interesting enough for me to keep watching, the risk factor was absent from the beginning. Having the main villain wish and receive immortality despite the fact that the villain is never shown in any other DBZ media immediately makes me comfortable knowing he losses in the end. I understand that that's how every single film is, considering it's all non-canon alt. universe stuff, but it still
matters when you're spending 45+ minutes watching something.
Even so, I was still into it, especially since this was the first DBZ movie I had watched in years. I was hyped to finally start them since I finally reached their respective points in the manga (at least, where they WOULD be) and so it didn't really bother me that the plot was essentially "Give me back my kid!" And nothing more.
The ending was quite anti-climactic for me solely because there isn't some awesome, choreographed fight, but a stand-off with a giant humanoid creature. This is somewhat repeated in a few other DBZ films and it's so boring to watch. I like seeing the DBZ heroes overcome their adversary with sheer force. If I want a cunning victory, have it be cunning with punches, I don't know. Maybe I'm just being a baby about it but perhaps you can sympathize with the excitement of watching two macho guys - one good and one bad - going at it for real. I mean, this happens in the manga all the time and it rocks. Why not do it in a movie?
The animation is decent and I never found it bothersome. I recall a scene that used a previous shot but otherwise, everything was gucci.
I watched the Funimation dub and, as is expected, it was quite enjoyable. I also found the soundtrack to be decent as most of the funimation dubs do away with the original OST (something I detest. Just alter the voices, not the music!)
Nothing particularly special about any of the characters in this film but I did enjoy that bit where Piccolo immediately wanted to fight Goku after they thought their troubles had vanished. I enjoy the little bits of in-world content that seep into these films that seem to reside outside of the canon universe. It makes sense that Piccolo would wanna jump at any opportunity to duel Goku once more. It's fun.
A solid entry but not necessary. I didn't need this film but it's not like I regret watching it.
((If you liked this review, feel free to check out my others! I review most manga and anime I finish!))