“Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’” is a movie for the “Dragon Ball” fans that have been around since the beginning, and it’s not for many else. If you can’t read this review’s story synopsis without scratching your head, “Resurrection ‘F’” isn’t for you yet. This isn’t a bad thing, though; internet culture has made “DBZ” cool again with easy access to old episodes, and the 2013 “DBZ” film “Battle of Gods” was a fantastic dose of fanservice with excellent writing and an interesting new villain that blurred the line between neutral and evil.
“Resurrection ‘F’” mostly dispenses with morally complex villainy in favor of an old fan favorite, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of drama or progression as much as it does just showing off old characters doing their thing. It feels more like a family reunion than a proper story. But again, that’s okay; the writing is fantastic, and some of the characters get some really cool moments.
It’s been several years since galactic tyrant Freeza was defeated at the hands of the Z Fighters. After the events of “Battle of Gods,” Freeza’s army assembles the Dragon Balls to wish for their commander’s return. With Freeza resurrected and hell-bent on vengeance, it’s up to Son Goku, Vegeta, and the rest of Earth’s warriors to protect the planet from Freeza’s wrath.
While the film expects you to be caught up in terms of “Dragon Ball” lore before the film, it doesn’t have much in the way of drama or story. It’s a simple plot: Freeza is revived, Freeza goes to Earth, the Z Fighters fight Freeza, and that’s about it.
Of course, there are many opportunities for the fighters to show off their stuff, and much of the movie feels more like an excuse to bring back old characters and have them do the thing they were famous for in the manga or TV show. It’s also an excuse for Goku and Freeza to achieve new forms; both of which will undoubtedly sell plenty of action figures and merchandise.
It doesn’t feel heartless or cynical, however. The dialogue is written and translated with immense care. The animation is gorgeous, combining hand-drawn animation with CG that blends in with the two-dimensional style, proving that hand-drawn animation still has a place in today’s film world. And unexpectedly, some of the characters show some excellent hidden depth, leading to a pretty smart message behind all the fights.
If you’re not into “Dragon Ball,” “Resurrection ‘F’” is not going to change your mind. But even if you slightly like the series, you’d be doing yourself a serious disservice by not checking it out.