Blu-ray Review: One Piece – Film Z
22/05/2015 Leave a comment
We once again set-sail for another adventure in the new world with Luffy and the Straw Hat Crew; but what type of mischief do we get up to in this latest movie instalment known as One Piece: Film Z – and more importantly is this Blu-ray release from Manga Entertainment UK any good? Find out in our Review.
Destroy All Pirates! Said to be comparable to the Ancient Weapons of old, the Marines’ trump card, the “Dyna Stones,” have suddenly been stolen by a group of renegade vigilantes. The terrifyingly powerful man responsible, former Marine Admiral “Z,” now stands in the path of Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirates. Can the Straw Hats defeat “Z” and his crew, or will the New World meet its end at the hands of this mad man?
When One Piece: Film Z was initially released back in 2012 it was received with mixed views; with some loving it and others loathing it, or at least that was the impression made over social-media-channels at the time. However upon watching this cinematic One Piece film its safe to say that this is one of the better One Piece films, and in more ways than one.
It all starts off with a destructive battle between the Neo Marines, who is led by ex-marine instructor Zephyr – the antagonist of this movie, and the Marines in a bid to take control of the contents on fir islands; an explosive device known as the Dyna Stones. The objective of Zephyr, who now goes by the name of Z, is to use the Dyna Stones in an attempt to destroy the entire planet – or in his mind – reset the world. As you’d imagine, with so much on the line this battle between the Neo Marines and the Marines is pretty intense; so much so that it acts as a nice prelude of things to come – explosive action, comical banter and a pretty progressive storyline – although ironically the first 10 minutes of the film would also make for a great ‘anime’ promo of One Piece: Pirate Warriors – especially with the amount of characters on-screen at once.
With the battle over, and the island destroyed, Zephyr finds himself being rescued by the Straw Hat pirates on the thousand sunny; and when he realises who they are he goes on all out rampage to destroy them – much to the annoyance of the straw hat crew. At first it seems like Zephyr is out-numbered but when his crew-mates arrive, known as Bin and Ainzu, and demonstrate their devil fruit powers the tables are soon turned and the real-reason for the Straw Hats appearance in the film arrives. It’s an ironic turn of events where the only reason the Straw Hats arrive in the film is because of a chance encounter with Zephyr; otherwise they would not been involved with the plot of the film. What’s even more interesting is that the straw hat crew don’t actually care about Zephyr’s plans; they just want revenge for attacking – and destroying – their ship.
Because of these multiple goals, be it the revenge of the straw hats or the marines wanting to stop Zephyr from destroying the world, the story moves along in various ways; but the focus of stopping Zephyr is the same. What I found most entertaining about One Piece: Film Z is the way it kept its natural balance between fights, comedy and serious dialogue – an aspect which other films seem to miss or fail within the first 20 minutes. For example after the short battle between Zephyr and the Straw Hats everyone regroups and plans their next move – but elsewhere Zephyr is already destroying his second island with the marines attempting to stop him. It sounds dubious to say but the pacing of the film is natural; with elements never out-staying their welcome; that is until the final climatic fight which – in some aspects – never seems to end; but it does so in explosive fashion.
The final fight, which sees each crew of the straw hats up against a resembling character of their skills, is a long-winded and action-packed fight – which can be disappointing in itself; but worse still is that at times it feels like you’ve caught a fight halfway through as opposed to a beginning. I guess this was the directors intention; but I could’nt help feel like I had missed out on something – although its still just as entertaining to watch. Yet again the final fight is where all of the pieces of the story fit together and it actually leads to a rather satisfactory, but emotional, ending – which in my eyes is unusual for a film such as this. It’s a complete story, with explosive fist-fights and a unique ending; but its definitely one that will keep you coming back for another watch.
There are no extra features included with this release; which is a real shame.
Running Time: 1:47:48
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English & Japanese), LPCM 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Grey/White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
One Piece: Film Z follows the Straw Hat crew as they attempt to extract revenge on Zephyr and his crew of Neo Marines for damaging the thousand sunny and putting several of their crew mates under a ‘de-aging’ spell; however in the background the Marines want to stop Zephyr as he is planning to reset the world by destroying it. Its an unusual state of affairs as the straw hat crew, specifically Luffy, are no-way interested in protecting the world – they just want revenge and return everyone to normal.
In retrospect it’s a revenge-story for the straw hat crew and, in the background, an attempt to stop a bad guy from destroying the world – although truth be told Zephyr isn’t a bad guy; he is just fed-up of the current world – which is why this character is so fascinating to watch and explore. Its not just the story, and the character Zephyr, that’s interesting – as there are plenty of visual flairs going round that bring the explosive battles to life, especially those at the start and end of the film; in addition to the comical banter between several characters; namely Brook, Chopper, Nami and Sanji. In my eyes this is one of the more entertaining One Piece films that is sure to please from start to finish – which is not something that’s always achieved.
In regards to this Blu-ray from Manga Entertainment UK then I do have some mixed opinions about it; for starters its great to see that DTS-HD Audio options, for both English and Japanese audio tracks, have been added in addition to the ‘as expected’ LPCM 2.0 Audio options, but its disappointing that, just like with One Piece: Movie 8, there are no extra features. Of course there are not many bonus features to be had with a movie such as this; but I half-expected a trailer for the film – be it the English or Japanese version of it. It’s also worth noting that subtitles are in the grey-white colour, as opposed to the FUNimation or Sentai Filmwork style, but they are easily readable throughout the film – even during the darker scenes at the star and towards the end of the film.
Overall One Piece: Film Z is a mixed product; in my eyes the film is great and is presented in top quality – but the lack of any additional bonus features does make it a rather disappointing purchase. Basically it’s the film on a disc; nothing more, nothing less – although it is a great film and will make a nice addition to your ‘ever-growing’ One Piece collection.
One Piece: Film Z will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 25th May 2015.