30 years ago, manga artist Akira
Toriyama created a fantasy universe full of gods and demigods and beings that
could destroy whole worlds … an Earth where both humans, talking animals and
dinosaurs co-existed … planets with their very own wish-granting dragons … and
a flaming-haired wide-eyed hero who flew on a nimbus cloud.
then, the Dragon Ball / Dragon Ball Z franchise has encompassed
over 500 TV episodes, three TV specials, 42 graphic novels, plus numerous
soundtracks, video games and toys. Now
comes the eighteenth animated feature: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods.
the feline “god of destruction,” is hungry.
Not only for food, but for combat.
He has learned that a Super Saiyan has defeated Frieza, thought to be
the most powerful mortal in the galaxy. With
his ego threatened, Beerus will seek out the Saiyan, humiliate him in battle, and
if he has to destroy Earth to get his way, so be it.
Saiyan, of course, is our hero Goku. As
a Super Saiyan, he has the power to obliterate a planet. He can increase his power to Super Saiyan
level 3. Yet, that is insufficient. To fight a god, Goku has to become one
himself, which he does–but how long can he sustain the power, and is it enough
to conquer the cosmic cat?
been seventeen years since the last animated Dragon Ball film, the story occurring after the conclusion of the
Majin Buu saga. Longtime fans will
welcome the reunion of Goku’s family and friends, who have gathered to celebrate
the birthday of Bulma Briefs. However, first-time
viewers may wonder: Who are all these
weird people and talking animals? How
can a spaceship pop out of a patio?
There’s even a dinosaur tromping around the countryside.
doesn’t matter. The movie provides
enough exposition without bogging down the plot. If one wants to learn more about this crazy
universe, the American distributor, Funimation, has a solution: Buy the videos.
the Japanese continue to make traditional hand-drawn animation, digitized in
color and partially- enhanced with CG. With
Battle of Gods, it’s a seamless
blend, and entertains as any CG-animated film.
In the climactic battle, the camera follows the two combatants, with
landscapes and buildings whizzing by in shifting perspective. The effect is amazing.
Japanese moviegoers continue to support
hand-drawn animation. When the film was
released there in 2013, it earned the equivalent of $29,947,013 in U.S.
dollars. Notably, it was also the first-ever Japanese
film to play in IMAX theaters.
Funimation has brought Battle of Gods
to America to show on the big screen (though, apparently, not in IMAX) at some
800 theaters—but only for two days in some areas, four days in others: August 5, 6, 7 and 9, skipping Friday the 8th. Check your local listings.
Note: The movie is unrated, though it appears to be
in PG-13 territory. For fans of the series – I highly recommend it.