Certain questions have always plagued mankind. Can absolute morals exist in the absence of a God or some form of karmic retribution, or does morality become relative and all is permitted because nothing is innately wrong? If highly religious countries always have lower suicide rates than atheist countries due to the fear of eternal damnation, should religion be promoted to stabilize society even if we know many of the stories aren't true? Finally, what IS the worst fucking DBZ movie?!
The story of Lord Slug is that there is a super powerful Namekian that comes to Earth in order to gather the dragon balls and
wish for eternal youth. Keep in mind that he has an interstellar ship and MUST be aware of the Namekian dragon balls, that grant 3 wishes instead of 1 and are less well defended, because the toughest Namek is Nail with a power level of only around 40K. Lord Slug decides to defy ALL logic and come to Earth, so that this movie can totally rip off the King Piccolo story arc from Dragon Ball. Goku and friends must sense this powerful being coming, but decide to do nothing and just allow his minions to gather the dragonballs and grant a wish. If he had wished for immortality, the gang would be screwed because Lord Slug isn't going to open the "Dead Zone" and off himself. Fortunately, Lord Slug is so stupid that he merely wishes for youth without adding that extra bit about not being able to die. How is he defeated? The first step in his downfall involves Gohan whistling. In this movie, Namekians are really weakened by whistling for...some reason. Keep in mind that this has ZERO precedence in the series, and apart from this movie is never used again! Goku then changes into a form that isn't a Super Saiyan, because Toriyama hadn't created the Super Saiyan design yet. Instead he becomes a glowing red form that fans now simply call "Champion of Christmas" after the TFS joke. Goku then finally defeats him with....wait for it....the spirit bomb! Seriously, Fuck this movie!
Art and Sound: 6/10
The fight scenes aren't nearly as good as some of the other DBZ movies, but they aren't absolutely terrible. The animation is generally decent for 1991 DBZ standards and the soundtrack (I'm talking about the Japanese one) is mostly just the same soundtrack from the series without any notable great track additions, unlike say the 7th or 8th movies. Basically the art and sound is fine, but it didn't feel like they were really going all out either. It felt like a quickly made, lazy cash grab because that is exactly what it was.
Does it have some of that trademark DBZ yelling and action? Yes it does. Does it have a few moments that were amusing? I would argue that it does. Is it a good movie? HELL NO! This movie is always a strong contender for the worst DBZ movie along with #6 (Mecha-Cooler) and #11 (Bio-Broly). All 3 are honestly horrible fucking movies that only rabid DBZ fans (like me) could even remotely enjoy, and even that is a stretch. My opinion on which of the 3 is the worst fluctuates, but most of the time I would respond that Lord Slug is in fact the worst of the whole bunch. This is obviously not counting the time traveling Bardock special, because that was a TV special and NOT a movie. Bottom line: don't watch this movie unless you are a HUGE DBZ fan and simply have to complete all the movies, just to say that you did!
After watching 4 Dragon Ball Z movies each better than the last, to my relief, they've finally stopped improving. I was getting worried at one point that I would have to start rating them like 8 or 9 eventually. :P
This is the first Dragon Ball Z movie that I watched in Japanese... and it turns out this is one of the few anime where the sub does not seem like much of an improvement upon the dub, if at all (assuming the dub in this one is of similar quality to those in other Dragon Ball Z movies). I mean, did they find a bunch
of kids to voice this thing?! Because that's what it sounds like, especially Goku's voice.
I think they actually attempted to produce something that's slightly more clever than most Dragon Ball Z movies. Unfortunately, the result isn't pretty. A couple of things happened during the battles that didn't entirely make sense. In addition I'm starting to get a bit tired of the ease at which the Eternal Dragon is summoned, the characters can do it so easily that I'm half expecting them to start collect the dragon balls and summon the Eternal Dragon just to fix a hole in their sock next time round. In case you don't know, once you collect all the dragon balls, you can summon the Eteneral Dragon which grants you a wish, after which the dragon balls all disappears ready to be collected again. Not only does it seem like something that belong more in a game than in a proper storyline, it's also a really bad plot devise that's basically like the cheesey short cut to everything - instead of going through the painstaking process of developing the story, you can just use the Eternal Dragon to get it to where you want it to be and voila, dilemma solved!
But Despite all the flaws, it's still one of the better Dragon Ball Z movies I've seen.
Lord Slug is the fourth film of the Dragon Ball Z film series - and it comes with a plot and villain that are just as generic as the last film - thankfully with the caveat that it's at least a more interesting and exciting film then Tree of Might, but that's not saying much when the result is still quite a bit more forgettable and middling then I'd like to see in a Dragon Ball film, or any film for that matter.
One thing that sets Lord Slug apart is it's set-up that could only really work in a film setting - a doomsday setting
that pushes the Earth (again) to the very brink through the use of a 'terrafreeze' device after a huge planet-sized object barely misses the planet. The scenes leading up to these plot devices are pretty dramatic, showing the world on the edge of destruction - I just fee that as the world begins to freeze over, we could've just gotten a few minutes of the world reacting to the slow cold creeping around the globe. The art direction for the frozen world looks pretty great, and it looks very different to a lot of other DBZ films, at least in about half the scenes.
Lord Slug himself, however, is a bit of a disappointment. His original premise of being an old, ancient being made me pretty excited to see how he was going to be a major adversary to Goku and crew, but almost instantly is this idea dropped and we get a normal, run of the mill villain who comes off as a budget King Piccolo from the original Dragon Ball. At the very least, we get some cool abilities on display from Lord Slug, but even these feel just like cheap imitations of Piccolo and other Namekians we've seen through the series.
Sadly, you know something is wrong with the film when the side-fights are more interesting then the one against the titular opponent himself. Almost nothing stands out for the actual brawl against Lord Slug; it never falls into boring territory, but outside of his initial, calculated beat-down of Goku and Goku's sudden pre-Super Saiyan power-up, there isn't really much memorable about it until the final stages. On a completely different note, however, this movie is actually pretty funny - Lord Slug has a lot of stupid, yet great one-liners, and Krillan's reaction to the world ending is nothing short of hysterical.
For the love of god, though, why doesn't Krillan get ANY love in these films? When he's not being a babysitter, it seems he's almost instantly removed from the fight. Otherwise, one of my favourite parts of this film is the other Z-Fighters trying to deal with Lord Slug's efforts when Goku is MIA. Gohan going full Musou-style on Lord Slug's goons is pretty spectacular to watch, and there is nothing in this film more satisfying then Piccolo's initial fight against one of Lord Slug's commanders. The build-up to and the side-fights themselves are probably the highest points of the film - it's a shame, because with a similar tone and a little less villan's going down in one shot, this could've ranked with the best.
Lord Slug is a perfectly average and forgettable entry in the Dragon Ball Z film series. Like many of them, it has it's moments, but it feels nothing short of a massive amount of missed potential. I wouldn't go so far to say it's a bad film, but it's very much the kind that you'll watch it once and never think about it again, which is some ways, is a much worse thing to say about a film then calling it bad in the end, anyway.
Ignore all these other reviews! I'm here to let you know that this movie is good! Obviously it has it's issues, but this is the first Dragon Ball Z movie to be enjoyable to watch. The first three movies simmer around mediocrity. It's not canon so feel no obligation to watch it. However, if you want some more fun Dragon Ball Z action, this is a worthwhile experience.
Let's just address this up front. Is Lord Slug a Piccolo rip off? YES! He is a Namekian. He commands an army (like Piccolo did when he originally took on Earth). He hunts the Dragon Balls to get
eternal youth. Slug's moveset is even the exact same. He even uses the "turn into a giant" move Piccolo used. Everything about him is a complete, utter, and unhidden rip off. But you know what, I'm not mad about it. It works. The story was good for Piccolo and it's good here. It's not original, but it's not boring to watch by any means. For a rip off, it does a serviceable job of making it entertaining.
To address another thing. Lord Slug did not go back to Namek to get the Dragon Balls because they used the Dragon Balls to exile him. I know this is minor, but reading other reviews bugged me. This is why. Moving on.
The animation and sound is on par with the anime at the time. The fight scenes are animated well. I love when fights actually have a bit of back and worth and are not entirely one sided. Not to mention Piccolo and Gohan get a bit of time to show off their moves. They are not the best fight scenes, but they stand above a lot of the one sided borefests that monopolize Dragon Ball Z. Sound features your regular Dragon Ball Z tunes. Nothing out of place. Voice acting is solid too for the dub.
Forget the haters. Yes the movie is unoriginal. It's not canon though. Just take it for what it is and I am sure you will enjoy it as well.