Director: Masahiro Hosoda
Runtime: 85 minutes
Cast: Sean Schemmel, Mike McFarland, Christopher R. Sabat, Sonny Strait, Laura Bailey, Jason Douglas, Ian Sinclair, et al…
Plot (taken from IMDb): The Z-Fighters must contend with Lord Beerus, the God of Destruction, but only a God can fight a God, and none of them are Gods. However with the creation of the Super Saiyan God, will the Z-Fighters be able to defeat Lord Beerus?
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods was the first film in the long-running franchise to be shown in cinemas. It was also the beginning of what would be something of a resurgence for Dragon Ball: the brand new series, Dragon Ball Super. Unlike most of the other 13 Dragon Ball movies, Akiray Toriyama was heavily involved, coming up with the story and character designs.
Toriyama’s presence is felt throughout this feel-good return to the world of Dragon Ball. Battle of Gods is a light-hearted, silly film, evoking the often chaotic and hilarious antics of the likes of the Ginyu Force and his earlier material. For those wanting to see some kick-ass fight scenes, Battle of the Gods has you covered, too, but don’t expect anything too flashy until the final third of the movie. Battle of Gods takes a little while to get going, but its premise of Bulma’s birthday party allows for longtime fans of the series to spend some quality time with the whole cast.
Seeing the likes of Goku, Vegeta and even Pilaf again is great fun. Battle of Gods is a nice get-together and catch up session for all who have missed Dragon Ball’s wacky cast of characters. Everyone’s there, too. Hercule, we’ve missed you, fella! Like all good get-togethers, someone turns up unannounced – here we are treated to five unwanted guests. Pilaf and his two cronies, and series’ newcomers, Beerus and Whis. This makes for some classic Dragon Ball conflict. Pilaf’s quest for riches is like something straight out of the old manga series – goofy and hilarious – whilst Beerus and Whis are both as mysterious as they are strong.
I mentioned earlier that Battle of Gods focuses more on Dragon Ball’s wacky sense of humour than its serious fights, and even Beerus and Whis are played for jokes pretty much throughout. We are teased about the existence of a Super Saiyan God, but whenever it seems like we’ll get to know more, we are treated to the likes of Trunks finding love with Pilaf’s sidekick, or Beerus threatening destruction of the Earth if he isn’t entertained (this leads to something quite extraordinary), or given some quality food. Battle of Gods is consistently funny and overall an exceedingly pleasant watch.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t any fighting to be seen. Indeed, the final third of the movie consists largely of each of the legendary Z Fighters going head-to-head against Beerus in order to stop him destroying the Earth. Of course, it all comes down to Goku and Vegeta (as it is writ). The ensuing fight is one of the flashiest, exciting pieces of visceral animation you will ever see. It’s fast, colourful and explosive. The animation in Battle of Gods is of the highest order throughout, but the blistering pace and bright colours truly pop in the fight scenes – it looks sensational on Blu-Ray, a true visual treat.
Unfortunately, in a series known for its big, overblown and over-long fight scenes, the fights in Battle of Gods don’t last very long. I loved what we got, but was left wishing for a little more action upon its credits. The rest of the film moved at a slower pace, but was funny throughout and particularly excellent for longtime fans of the series. Those new to the franchise might not enjoy Battle of Gods as much as those with an affinity for the series. There are a lot of in-jokes and the film really plays on nostalgia, but there should be enough for those who don’t know the series inside and out to enjoy the movie on its own merits.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is a light-hearted, often hilarious film that spends time with its large cast of colourful characters before introducing some of the best fight scenes in anime history. It may take a while to get to any action, but when it does, it will completely blow you away. For fans of the series however, the nostalgia trip is spectacular. Hearing all your favourite Funimation dub voices again, the music, the characters, everything. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is a great film from start to finish.
Die-hard Dragon Ball fans will have a blast with Battle of Gods, but it’s more than good enough for those new to the series to enjoy.