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The universe has settled into an all too rare period of peace, which abruptly comes to an end when the cat like god, Lord Beerus, awakes from his long slumber. He is not at all pleased to discover that the planet has asked to be destroyed. His home world might be gone but Gorku, the super Saiyan, has survived...
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2013. 1 hr, 21 min, 39 sec (theatrical); 1 hr, 40 min, 43 sec (Directors cut). The film was directed by Masahiro Hosoda, from a Yûsuke Watanabe screenplay, which itself was an adaptation of the original manga created by Akira Toriyama.
It’s odd that ten years after the last time we spent time in this universe that the film should introduce a character never previously referred to, but at least the introduction of Lord Beerus better informs some of the show's background and gives reason for the destruction of Goku’s home world.
Of course, in order that the film can bring together all the old gang, Beerus travels in search of the Super Saiyan god, in order to offer battle. He first encounters Goku, who, of course, offers to fight him. Unable to find the Super Saiyan God he heads directly to Earth. In order to defeat him all the DBZ characters gather together. This allows the film to bring back a pantheon of fan favourites.
Ok, so we all know that the film will involve much fighting and powering up as well as bombarding the audience with a non-stop flow of visual gags, which are often very camp. The animation is a bit of a mixed bag. Given that the show ran for so long the character representations have been fixed and these have not been updated, this is mixed with some CGI and detailed backgrounds giving the impression of both the old and new existing in the same film. There is some good use of the camera, as it swoops across the battle scenes, making them a lot more dynamic than anything the anime show could produce.
Overall the film adds little to the DBZ cannon, but it has been a long ten year wait for some more DBZ, so it works as a good introduction for anyone who has not seen the show and a welcome return of old favourites for existing fans.
The film is presented on a two DVD set. The first contains the theatrical version, as well as a number of extras. The Voices of Dragon Ball Z: Unveiled (18 min, 36 sec) which introduces the American dub actors, while we watch them dub the film, often with a picture in picture which shows both the film and the actors at work. Behind the Scenes: Battle of Voice Actors (9 min, 31 sec) is similar to the previous extras, except in the case we can watch the whole climatic fight scene as well as simultaneously the actors dubbing their characters.
The disc also contains the US Trailer (1 min, 52 sec) and the textless closing song (3 min, 25 sec). On the second DVD disc we have the director’s cut of the film (1 hr, 40 min, 43 sec), which contains more of the same. There is nothing here which is really missing from the theatrical version.
The DVD has two audio tracks, the English 5.1 or the original Japanese 2.0, with subtitles. The picture is well detailed with good solid colours.
The film has its own charms, even for an audience who has never watched the show; its level of wacky exuberance should pleasantly pass the odd hour and a half.
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