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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon Review

The Dragon Ball Z films have their ups and downs. In the end, even sometimes with virtually no plot, (take a look at Bojack Unbound) they still manage to deliver some of the most epic fights to grace a television screen. Wrath of the Dragon is the final DBZ film, I have been very interested in it for awhile. First of all, it's the final film in the franchise, so I wanted to see how much closure it would have, to see how everything that took place before would have a hand in it. Indeed, this film brought a lot of the good elements from the series, it's definitely one of the better ones, right up there with Cooler's Revenge and the Legendary Super Saiyan.

The story begins with a boy carrying a sword attempting to stop a large beast. He fails, and is killed by being stomped on. Back on earth, after a stopping mugging Gohan saves a supposed old man holding a music box from committing suicide. He explains to Gohan that they have to open it by summoning the Eternal Dragon, Shenron. Gohan, Goku, Trunks, and Goten eventually find the seven Dragon Balls. Shenron is summoned, and the box is opened. A figure, a guy with the sword similar to the boy from earlier appears from within the box. The old man is revealed to be an alien from another planet, and releasing the guy with the sword, Tapion, has brought back an ancient evil, a giant monster named Hirudegarn. Even the Z fighters may not be able to stop this one from destroying the universe.....

As the final film in this series, you would expect more of the same. But nope, this film was different, and I mean different. There's a lot of 'earthly' scenes. What I mean is that it feels more down-to-earth than the rest of them. Thankfully, there is no silliness that plagues some of the other films, (Super Android 13, Bojack Unbound) it remains a serious entry. While it does take a bit for the real action to get going, the story remains engaging throughout. That's thanks to the characters, both the old and new ones. Tapion was a great addition, definitely the best written character in the film, or of the majority of the films for that matter. He presents a likable manner, similar to that of Future Trunks. Definitely the best part of the film. (The DBZ version of Link, he even has an Ocarina!) Hoi wasn't bad. Yeah, he's a lame villain and a Babidi wannabe, but his backstory was interesting. His death is pretty pathetic and anti-climatic though, which brings up the main threat in this film.

Hirudegarn is the big (literally) 'final boss.' I don't know about you, but I welcomed a giant 'powerful' monster. His backstory was great, and had a very imposing appearance. I think he could have used a bit more character, he just appeared to be a walking event. His destruction scenes were fantastic, it would make a Godzilla film proud. He has some unique powers, even a strange form of teleportation. Definitely a great 'final boss.' And it's different, since we pretty much never see the Z fighters take on  a 'big' menace such as Hirudegarn. As for the other characters, both Goku and Gohan are as great as ever. I was disappointed at how little Vegeta appeared, only coming in for about two minutes more or less. I was also shocked that Piccolo didn't show up. Since this was the final DBZ film, you'd think they would bring everyone in.

The soundtrack is also different from the rest. It has an 'epic' feel to it. Some really great themes, perfect for a final showdown, or a final movie. One of my favorite things about this film  is how it links to a part in the series. Tapion giving Trunks his sword was just great, I love how they use the films to explain different backstories, good stuff. It was also nice seeing Gotenks from the manga again. However, the best scene is when Goku went Super Saiyan 3 and unleashed what's probably the coolest attack in all of Dragon Ball Z at Hirudegarn. It's good stuff, it's what Dragon Ball Z is all about.

Overall, Wrath of the Dragon is a great final entry in the Dragon Ball Z film series. Virtually no comic relief, a great new hero and villain, good fight in the city, and an 'epic' soundtrack makes this film rank with the greats such as Cooler's Revenge and The Legendary Super Saiyan.


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