Dragon Ball Super: Broly
I remember the first time I attempted to go Super Saiyan. It was glorious. I could feel my Ki rising and massive amounts of energy surging through my body. I thought about the things in the world that mattered most to me. My PlayStation. My Pokemon’ cards. And, yes even my family.
Then I passed out.
But, when I woke up man was I pumped. I could do anything! Like go and watch the next episode of Dragon Ball Z on Cartoon Network’s Toonami.
If you’re a true Dragon Ball fan you knew what you were in for. Following the events of “Dragon Ball Super’s” Tournament of Power Saga a fully resurrected Frieza along with his rebuilding empire look to gather Earth’s dragon balls to make a mysterious wish. Along the journey from deep space to Earth, a couple of members of the “Frieza Force” stumble across a deserted planet and pick up what is thought to be new recruits to Frieza’s militia. Goku and Vegeta catch wind of Frieza’s intentions and travel with Whis and Bulma to the Ice Continent on the other side of the globe to thwart Frieza’s plan. Like always our heroes are just a bit late and are met face to face with Frieza’s army and the 2 new additions picked up along the way which are revealed to be exiled Ex-Saiyan warriors Paragas and his son Broly; out for revenge and packing another-worldly hidden and unlocked power.
What ensues is the single greatest on-screen battle in Dragon Ball history. It is the best choreographed and animated battle ever. Its scored amazingly well and has incredible pacing and weight. There’s great balance between the action we see and the comedy that is sprinkled along the way. Vegeta was a riot the whole film. He’s so flabbergasted by Goku’s naivety he can’t contain his frustration and its comic gold. We find out some grand beauty tricks that are shared by both Bulma and hilariously Frieza. That was a nice touch from the manga and show’s creator Akira Toriyama. We don’t believe in villains without good reason. And how honest could you be in your villainy but to seek one of the universes greatest power just to grow a few centimeters. That’s the beauty of Dragon Ball. This is a Sci-fi Adventure comedy rooted in martial arts action.
Everything was a mystery leading up to this movie’s debut. Broly has been in our minds for years since his first on screen feature in “Dragon Ball Z: Broly- The Legendary Super Saiyan” in 1993. This production was non-canon and not directly existing in the continuity of the Japanese manga and mega popular TV series.
Akira Toriyama also serves as writer of the screenplay and brings a unique take not only on Broly’s origin but also magnifying the story details to Goku and Vegeta journey across the stars. We see the final days of Planet Vegeta in an exciting and vibrant way. And it wouldn’t be a Dragon Ball movie without a powerful new transformation that is achieved begrudgingly by Vegeta agreeing to perform the Fusion Dance technique with Goku to become Gogeta.
Visually this movie succeeds on every level. Being able to do things on screen without the limitations of a TV series budget is everything we could ask for.
However, where this movie succeeds visually it fails to deliver narratively. The plot is simple. We’re talking about revenge. I’m not sure if the disconnect is culturally where the English dubbed film misses the mark in relating to its original Japanese origin. I’m more so on the side that with the screenplay, Akira is somewhat limited at dealing with proper story composition. There is so much exposition through the film it becomes over bearing where it stunts natural conversation and character development. I do believe that is a cultural taste as many other Anime titles structure story the same way. But in critiquing this American film debut and as a writer myself I look for my characters to be able to convey exposition through action. We needed more “Show me” and less “Tell me.”
This outing serves as momentum however that will propel the potential of the series to exciting new heights. This is the 3rd film in this new universe. The preceding films; “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods” and “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection “F” have elevated the shows content, action, and story arch’s. It would be a welcome sight to see the next film have a more collaborative effort with western filmmaking styles to create a cohesive script with the continued superb animated visual production. Dragon Ball Super: Broly is great and only in theaters for a limited time. Catch it immediately and let me know what you thought!
KOLBYTOLDME RATING- 8/10
Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Writers: Akira Toriyama
Starring: Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat, Chris Ayres
Run Time: 100 mins