Review: Dragon Ball Z – Battle of Gods
04/11/2014 Leave a comment
With Manga Entertainment UK opting to release Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods in three different variations (DVD, Blu-ray and Collectors Edition) we’ve decided to do our review slightly differently and provide a closer look at what to expect from each release as well as our thoughts on the film itself.
Following the events of the Dragon Ball Z television series, after the defeat of Majin Buu, a new power awakens and threatens humanity. Beerus, an ancient and powerful God of Destruction, searches for Goku after hearing rumors of the Saiyan warrior who defeated Frieza. Realizing the threat Beerus poses to their home planet, the Z-fighters must find a way to stop him before it’s too late. Only Goku, humanity’s last hope, can ascend to the level of a legendary Super Saiyan God and stop Beerus from destroying Earth, and possibly the entire universe!
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is the first stand-a-lone Dragon Ball Z film in over a decade and for someone who has loved the franchise since its first English broadcast it comes with mixed impressions; but more on that later. The storyline of this film takes place after Episode 288 of the original (uncut) Dragon Ball Z TV series and sees the god of destruction, known as Beerus, awake early from his annual slumber to try and track down the infamous Super Sayian God; a legendary super sayian who he prophesised would appear at this exact timeframe.
Since Beerus has been asleep for the past 39 years his assistant, who goes by the name of Whis, informs him that Frieza was defeated by a sayian named Goku and upon seeing Goku’s face Beerus realises that Goku was the super sayian god he prophesised about during his dream. As a result of this new-found discovery both Whis and Beerus venture out in search of this super sayian god.
Its not long before Beerus and Whis find Goku and ask him about the Super Sayian God prophecy, but of course Goku has no idea about it and instead demonstrates his current Super Sayian power to Beerus in a fight; much to the annoyance of King Kai who is scared of his planet being destroyed once again. The fight in itself is pretty cool, as we get to see all three forms of Super Sayian just like we did during the Majin Buu saga, but just as the fight starts to get good it is abruptly ended due to the share incalculable strength of Beerus. With Goku down and out Beerus sets his sights on the next closest sayains, which are all gathered on earth in celebration of Bulma’s birthday party. This is where the film starts to go downhill; especially for the next twenty to thirty minutes at least.
Basically Bulma is having a birthday party and every ‘living’ character from the Dragon Ball Z franchise has gathered to celebrate it; meanwhile in the background Emperor Pilaf and his gang, who are now children due to an undisclosed adventure, find themselves looking for the Dragon Balls inside Capsule Corp. After thirty minutes of pointless birthday banter, as well as Beerus and Whis filling themselves up on earth food, Buu manages to annoy Beerus by eating all of the pudding and as a result he starts attacking everyone within the facility of capsule corp. With everyone powerless to defeat Beerus Goku once again steps-in for one final showdown; that is before he summons Shenron to ask about obtaining Super Sayian God form. It’s explained that Super Sayian god form is achieved when five sayians combine their powers into a single person and as a result a new challenge presents itself.
As it stands only four sayians are currently on earth and ‘amusingly’ Bulma mentions about Vegeta’s brother Tarble; a character who has ‘never’ appeared within Dragon Ball other than the Japanese exclusive Shonen Jump anniversary episode. With Tarble out of the question Videl admits that she is pregnant with Gohan’s child (Pan) and so they use an unborn baby, and four other sayians, to turn Goku into a Super Sayian god – and now this is where the film starts to get really interesting.
From here it’s a detailed fast-paced explosive fist fight between Beerus and Goku, with the occasional trash-track in between; basically this is the fight you’ve been waiting for and from start to finish it’s a fight of epic proportions, it’s just a shame that the rest of the film couldn’t have been this intense.
If you opted to watch the ‘extended’ version of the film then you will be treated to a ‘history of goku’ backstory before the main film begins, a segment which sees Goku’s entire history in defeating past enemies, and meeting new friends, played out on screen. If you are a fan of Dragon Ball then this will most likely be a snooze-fest, as you may have seen it countless times before, however it is a relatively simple and clever way of bringing newcomers, or those who haven’t seen the series in a while, up-to-speed on past events. Other scenes in the extended edition have been ‘extended’ although without having both versions of the film playing side-by-side it can be difficult to say what has (or has not) been included.
The biggest disappointment with this release is that Manga Entertainment UK have opted to strip all of the bonus features from the Blu-ray release of the film and bundle it onto a separate DVD as part of the collectors edition, similar to how they treated Part 1 of Attack On Titan. What this means is that only the standard DVD release of the film, along with the Collectors Edition bundle, will contain any forms of bonus material.
While this is disappointing, especially if you wanted to pick-up the blu-ray, the bonus content itself is superb, as it provides a behind-the-scenes look into the voice cast and the dubbing process. These aren’t your typical ‘behind-the-scenes’ videos either as you actually get to see the actors in the booth doing their work first hand, whereas in other behind-the-scenes features its either audio commentary of a quick snippet of them in the booth.
In addition to this viewers are also treated to the ‘ US Home-Video-Release’ trailer of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods; which is the same one being shown on Manga UK’s Youtube Channel and a textless closing song video, which is quite interesting in itself.
The DVD release of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods contains both versions of the film, Theatrical and Extended Cut, on two DVD discs along with all bonus content. The first disc, entitled the Theatrical Disc, is where all of the bonus content will be located. As mentioned you’ll find two ‘Behind The Scenes’ featurettes, a trailer and textless closing song.
The stand-a-lone Blu-ray release of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods does not contain any bonus content; it just contains both versions of the film, Theatrical and Extended Cut, on a single disc.
The Collectors Edition contains the ‘stand-a-lone’ Blu-ray disc, which features no bonus content, bundled with the first DVD disc from the DVD release. This way viewers receive all bonus content, such as the two behind-the-scenes videos and the original US Trailer, in standard definition along with the movie in high definition. The Collectors Edition will also come bundled with some artcards and a carded sleeve for the blu-ray case.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 1:21:39 (Theatrical), 1:40:43 (Extended Cut)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448kbps (English) Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
Media: BD 50
Running Time: 1:25:08 (Theatrical), 1:45:00 (Extended)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English), LPCM 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Grey)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is a story that sees ‘the god of destruction’ arrive on earth in search of a super sayian god; he is not a bad guy, even though he did enter into a partnership with Frieza nearly 40 years ago, he is just someone looking to have some fun – which he gets plenty of in the form of local earth food. While the story, for me, was a bit of a joke the overall animation, fight-scenes and dubbing – both in Japanese and English – is of top quality.
There are disappointments to be had though; for starters if you were hoping to buy the stand-a-lone Blu-ray release then you will not get any additional bonus content, so you’ll have to spend more money and get the Collectors Edition – at which point the Bonus Content is only available in standard definition, just like it is in the DVD release. If you aren’t interested in bonus content then this won’t disappoint you, but the content itself is great and is worth watching – especially the ‘Behind The Scenes: Voice Actors’ segment.
That’s not the only disappointment either, the Japanese audio track, for all versions of the film, is in LPCM 2.0 where as in the original Japanese (and American) release of the film it was available in Dolby Digital 5.1 – so we are receiving a lesser quality Japanese audio track. Mind you we do receive a ‘superior’ English audio option as, for the Blu-ray at least, it is available in DTS-HD as opposed to Dolby TrueHD 5.1; it’s not much of an improvement but when hooked up to a surround sound kit it does provide a more cinematic experience than that of the American Blu-ray release of the film. The final disappoinment of the Blu-ray was that the subtitles for the Blu-ray version of the film are grey-white colour, similar to that of Psycho-Pass, Gargantia and Devil is a Part Timer, thus suggesting that yet again Manga UK are doing in-house blu-ray authoring as opposed to using masters created by Madman Entertainment or FUNimation.
Like I mentioned earlier i have mixed opinions; not just with the film but the entire way the film is being released within the UK. However whichever version you decide to go with you’ll be in for an interesting Dragon Ball Z experience that saves the best till the very end; which is what we all want in a good action flick – it’s just a shame that the Blu-ray release didn’t have to same attention to detail and care.
DVD Review Score:
Blu-ray Review Score:
Collectors Edition Review Score:
Dragon Ball Z – Battle of Gods will be available as on DVD, Blu-ray and Collectors Edition on the 10th November 2014 within the UK.