Starring (voices): Chris Ayres, Sean Schemmel, Kyle Hebert, Monica Rial, Jeremy Schwartz, Ian Sinclair, Jason Douglas
Not Rated (Probable PG for Action Violence)
I remember seeing a few bits of "Dragonball Z" on TV growing up and thinking that it was extremely stupid. So why did I spend more money than usual to see a movie spin-off of the show in a theater? I'm not sure, really. A chance to dish out some bile? Or perhaps to see if, now that I've seen good anime like "Inuyasha" or anything by Hayao Miyazaki, it wasn't as bad as I remember (that is the reason why I subjected myself to seeing "The Royal Tenenbaums" for a second time). If nothing else, it could have given me another entry for my Bottom 10 list this year.
So what's the verdict? Look at the rating and take a guess.
"Dragonball Z: Resurrection 'F'" is for fans only. Anyone who hasn't grown to love the characters while watching the show will find little of any interest here. Granted, "Inuyasha: Affections Touching Across Time" wasn't the most friendly to non-fans of the show, but it at least gave a perfunctory set-up. That doesn't happen here, where there is no set-up or character development.
Megalomaniac Frieza (Ayres) has just been resurrected by his second-in-command, Sorbet (Schwartz). Item number one on his agenda is getting revenge on Goku (Schemmel), the Earthling-warrior who destroyed him. Despite Sorbet's attempts to convince him that there are far more opportunities for expanding his empire if he leaves him alone, Frieza won't be dissuaded. So after he trains himself (for the first time, I might add), he heads to the planet of the humans. Unfortunately, his nemesis is off planet in a training session. So he amuses himself by destroying a city and having his minions attack Goku's friends. Then Goku and his brother/partner/rival/something Gohan (Hebert) shows up, and then the real fight begins.
That's essentially it for the plot. I assume the appeal for fans is the same for "The Avengers:" seeing all your favorite heroes team up in one movie for a massive smackdown. Unfortunately, the action scenes are so basic (in choreography and method) that there's almost zero tension. Flying through the trees and shooting balls of light at each other would be tough for even James Cameron to make exciting, and director Tadayoshi Yamamuro is definitely no James Cameron.
The fight between Goku and Frieza, which takes up the latter half of the film, is equally lifeless. One of the reasons why the show sucked is that their moves were so repetitive and so basic. I don't know about you, but watching two guys with obvious steroid problems become living fireworks and shooting balls of light at each other isn't especially cinematic. Especially if the scream like they're heavily constipated and trying to take a shit. Even worse, shots are poorly framed and the choreography is painfully basic.
As for the voice acting...well, it's no better. Every voice actor is terrible; they sound obnoxious and annoying and speak dialogue that is trite and stupid. I'll freely admit that good dialogue in "Inuyasha" is pretty rare, but at least the actors are talented enough to speak them with conviction and appeal.
"Dragonball Z: Resurrection 'F'" is just as lame as the TV show. But what is really sad is that it was well-marketed and got a lot of fans. Everyone else saw it for what it was: a piece of crap. Unlike the best anime, it doesn't stimulate the mind or touch the heart. It's just senseless, mind-rotting noise that cost the genre a lot of fans. The best the film can come up with is a few mildly amusing jokes, most of which would be considered lame for an afternoon sitcom.
If you were like me and had a bias from anime from this show, please, don't give up on it. Movies like "Grave of the Fireflies" and "Spirited Away" entertain in ways no traditional film, animated or otherwise, ever could. And if you're a "Dragonball Z" fan, see the movies I listed too to see how low you've set the bar.