Thursday, September 4, 2014

Running Commentary - Dragonball Z: Battle of the Gods

Okay, I picked up the Japanese release of this movie back in May and thought this would be a good candidate for a Running Commentary. Despite its many flaws, I am a fan of Dragonball Z and I'm excited about this movie and the prospect for more movies.  I should point out one thing here. Apparently this movie, which is the first of a new series from what I've heard, takes place in the ten year gap between the defeat of Majin Buu and when Goku faced Uub at the World Martial Arts competition. That said, it's time to push play...

The movie opens with impressive CGI animation of outer space. Hopefully this is a sign of some quality animation for the rest of the film. So Supreme Kai is having a psychic conversation with King Kai as Goku is training on his mini-planet. They don't want Goku to overhear their conversation about some new disturbance in the force or kai or whatever the fuck spiritual thing they have, but Goku hears of the name Lord Bills... God I hope that's just bad translation... and he wants an explanation. 

So Goku gets in King Kai's car and they drive that one road around that tiny planet over and over while King Kai explains to him about how Lord Bills is the God of Destruction that extinguishes life. Seriously, what the hell is up with King Kai's car? Why does King Kai have a classic car... where did that blue roach bastard even get the car, how did he get it to his planet? Did he drive it the 10,000 miles down Snake Way? And why even have a car when your planet it so small that all it has is a simple house, a few trees and a road?

Supreme Kai is worried about how many worlds will perish because of Lord Bills the God of Destruction, like Shiva but with a horrible dumb-shit name. And Goku wants to fight Lord Bills. He's just gotten cocky hasn't he? He's defeated space tyrants, killer androids and a mystical pink demon with a shlong on its head... so logically the next step is to fight gods. King Kai calls him stupid and the Lord Bills is the most powerful being in the universe... something that Goku cannot allow... why? I don't know, he's an idiot.

So some weird trans-sexual character, kind of looks like a Sailor Moon villain, tells Lord Bills to wake up. Apparently Lord Bill's alarm clocks are bombs that periodically go off until he gets out of bed. Sure, why not? So the Lord of Destruction goofily gets out of bed half asleep and we finally get a good look at this fear invoking foe... he looks like a big, purple, shaved Eqyptian cat. I'm not even kidding. What the fuck Dragonball Z?

Granted, Lord Bills carries on a tradition of DBZ creating massively powerful villains that look ridiculously harmless. Like remember Majin Buu's first form as a fat retard with boxing gloves? Or Janemba's initial form as a giant yellow fat baby thing? Even Freeza's final form didn't look that scary to me... just a pale salamander thing with the voice of a transvestite.

Speaking of Freeza, Lord Bills is shocked to find out from Whis, the Sailor Moon villain, that the confused gender conquerer had been defeated. Lord Bills finds out it was Goku that beat Freeza by becoming a Super Saiyan, which makes him think that a dream he had was actually a premonition... that he would battle a Super Saiyan God. Now I'm wondering if there is a God Form of Super Saiyan between Super Saiyan 3 and Super Saiyan 4.

So everyone's celebrating Bulma's birthday. She's pissed that both Goku and Vegeta are off training instead of at her party. I would be pissed too, especially with Goku. They've only known each other since he was 4! Apparently there is a bingo tournament at the party where you can win a plane or a castle, but no porno movies... sad Master Roshi.

Goku finds out from King Kai that Lord Bills is coming to the tiny planet. Kai tells Goku to hide in the house just before he arrives. Apparently the reason King Kai's planet is so tiny is because Lord Bills blew up most of it after losing a game of hide and seek. Yikes... hate to see how he would react at playing Mario Party. Goku and Lord Bills meet, but nobody knows anything about a Super Saiyan God. Lord Bills wants to go to Earth to ask the other saiyans, but Goku wants to spar to see how powerful purple Mr. Bigglesworth is. Lord Bills questions if Goku is extremely confident or just an idiot. Since confidence and naïveté go hand in hand, I'm pretty sure he's both.

Lord Bills tells Goku to come at him at full power. Goku first goes Super Saiyan, then into Super Saiyan 2, then finally into the long haired eyebrow-less Super Saiyan 3 form. Lord Bills kicks his ass! Goku doesn't even land a punch and in his frustration blows a hole straight through King Kai's planet! Then Lord Bills basically taps Goku and knocks his ass out! With that, Lord Bills and Whis depart for Earth, forcing King Kai to frantically telepathically warn Vegeta that he is coming to find him. After telling him of Goku's easy defeat, Kai warns Vegeta not to be an asshole to Lord Bills or the Earth may be destroyed. Vegeta not be an asshole? We're doomed.

Goku comes to and smiles because he's so happy such a strong opponent exists. I get it now, it's the head trauma! Years and years of fighting various enemies has given Goku enough head trauma to give him severe brain damage! But wait, the senzu beans would have fixed that. I guess he really is just an idiot.

We jump back to Bulma's party, where Vegeta is trembling in fear. Lord Bills arrives and we are treated to a flashback of when they first met, back when Vegeta was the cutest little egotistical asshole kid in the whole universe. It's not much of a flashback. Lord Bills was using Vegeta's dad like a footstool. Anyways, Bulma shows up and invites both of them to hang out at her party. We get a bunch of funny still shots of Lord Bills and Whis having fun at the party while Vegeta about has an aneurysm. Lord Bills is a great break-dancer by the way.

Holy crap, Emperor Pilaf is in this movie! He, along with his sidekicks Shu and Mai, are scrounging around Bulma's place in search of the Dragonballs. Apparently the last time they made a wish to Shenron the Dragon, Pilaf wished them to be young so now all three of them are kids. This time, Pilaf wants to be rich because he's sick of being poor. They happen upon the bingo prizes and discover first place wins you all 7 Dragonballs so you can make a wish! They're caught by Goten and Trunks. Upon seeing Goten, who looks just like his dad as a kid, they freak out at remembering little Goku turning into the giant ape. They run screaming from the building. Little Trunks has the hots for Mai. He invites her to the party, without knowing she stole the 4 star Dragonball and plans to hold it ransom for a million bucks. Mai, Pilaf and Shu all stay for the free food and bingo prizes. This subplot is weird.

Oh good. Now Goku is obsessed with becoming a Super Saiyan God. You know, this shit doesn't happen with Superman. He's either powerful enough, or he gets his friends to help him kick someone's ass. He isn't destroying planet surfaces trying to become a Super Kryptonian or something.

So the whole party subplot gets weird when the prizes are brought out for bingo and Yamcha realizes the 4 star ball is missing. Pilaf and Shu think they're caught, but Mai tries to take Trunks hostage for the ransom. Everyone thinks it's a joke, so Gohan dresses as the Great Saiyaman and eggs her on to fire her gun at his face, thinking's it's just a toy. He deflects all of the bullets, then scolds her for having a real gun. However, Videl, Gohan's wife, was hit in the leg by one of the ricocheting bullets, but Dende heals her and in doing so realizes she is with child, which she whispers to him to keep a secret. Okay, what the fuck happened to the plot!? Lord Bills fighting Goku? Destroying stuff?

One of the bullets also hit Lord Bills in the forehead. He said it itches and is annoyed. He is about to destroy the planet over this when Vegeta hops on stage and begins dancing and singing about how they should play bingo and that bingo is fun. Either that or there is a gas leak somewhere in my house.

So while everyone else plays bingo, Lord Bills wants some of fat Buu's pudding, but pink fatty won't share. This pisses off purple kitty man and he starts going all Earth destroyey. He kicks fat Buu into the next county (yay!) and then starts beating the crap out of the other Z-Warriors as they charge him to try to stop him from, you know, destroying stuff. He beats up Gohan, Buu and Vegeta while Whis eats sushi. But now Goten and Trunks fuse to become Gotenks, but just end up getting spanked... literally. You know, instead of this violence, someone could just get cat guy some damn pudding! 

On a side note, I just want to point out that in this part of the series, if you aren't a Saiyan... you suck. I miss the days when Piccolo mattered or when Tien was a formidable opponent (okay, you have to go back to Dragonball for that, but still). Saiyans are all pretty much the same with the same powers. Remember all the cool shit Piccolo could do?  Yeah, now he is relegated to being a relic of the franchise alongside Yamcha and Android 18. I always thought that was lame. I also want to point out another thing. Krillin is kicked around a lot and treated like a joke, but realize that he is the most powerful human on Earth. He doesn't have the flashy power levels of the various aliens he fights alongside, but if it was an all human fight, Krillin kicks everyone's ass! I'm not saying he shouldn't be comic relief, just that everyone forgets what he is capable of.

So getting back to the movie, Bulma slaps Lord Bills for ruining her party. He smacks her back, sending her to the ground face first. Vegeta goes ballistic at seeing this. Vegeta really went soft at some point, didn't he? Holy crap, he's actually not just hitting Lord Bills, but kicking the crap out of him. Master Roshi declares that Vegeta has finally surpassed Goku. Wow, all he needed was seeing his woman get pimp slapped. After a massive energy blast, Lord Bills is predictably unphased. He knocks out Vegeta with a finger to the head. The Earth is screwed.

But then Goku returns! He tells Lord Bills he can become a Super Saiyan God if he will delay destroying the Earth. Purple cat agrees and Goku gets the Dragonballs. Ugh, I actually figured he would wish it. Granted, I'm surprised Goku or one of his opponents never wished to become more powerful. Or for a bigger wang.

So Shenron tells the story of how thousands of years ago, the good Saiyans created a Super Saiyan God to take out the bad Saiyans. So if 5 good-hearted Saiyans join hands, they can grant a sixth one the power of a Super Saiyan God. Goku takes in their power, but they realize he is not a god, just more powerful. They still need a sixth, but there is only Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Goten and Trunks. But wait, there's the fetus inside Videl! Everyone's happy to find out about the baby. So with the help of the mass of fetal cells that will one day become Pan, they summon the Saiyan energy to make Goku a god. A sparkly red-headed god. Seriously, besides the sparkly energy, red hair and red eyes, he looks the same. I kind of thought he would be wearing a tunic or something. Whatever... time for fighting!

Lord Bills says that if Goku has become a god, he won't destroy the Earth. Wow, thanks purple cat of death! Granted, their battle might just kill all life on Earth anyways, but bully to you cat god!  

So they fight all around the nearby big city but surprisingly do no collateral damage. That's right, two supremely powerful beings are able to fight in an urban environment without destroying the place and killing lots of innocent people! Take that Man of Steel!

So they fight through a forest, into a desert, into an ocean and underground, all while Goku expresses dissatisfaction with being a god as he couldn't reach that level alone. They both go full power, but soon Goku just stops being a god. He is at regular Super Saiyan level, yet still kicking ass. That doesn't really make any sense, but whatever... explosions! They fight into the stratosphere, where Goku probably destroys the ozone layer with a massive Kamehameha blast at purple kitty, who returns the favor with a blast of his own. Goku catches the blast, then realizes his god power is gone, but his fighting strength has grown from their sparring... or some crap like that. Kitty overpowers Goku with more energy until his god form temporarily returns long enough to vanquish the ball of destruction and save Earth.

Goku learns that there are eleven other universes, each with beings just as if not more powerful than Lord Bills. Even though he lost, Goku succeeds in that he learns that he doesn't have to be the strongest... or maybe he doesn't learn that. He still acts like he wants to fight everyone. Goku needs a fucking hobby, seriously.

So God Cat returns to Earth and apologizes to Bulma for slapping her and ruining her party. He and Whis vow to come back to her party next year. Then we see that all anyone really needed to do to defeat Lord Bills was feed him some wasabi. I know it's for comic effect, but wasabi isn't that hot. Then Goku insinuates that for Vegeta to get more powerful, all someone needs to do is slap Bulma... which is what I said. This pisses off both Vegeta and Bulma, the latter deciding to slap Goku... which leads me to wonder why the hell that would hurt Goku? Maybe he's just playing or pretending to spare her feelings, but after taking on opponents whose fists could level mountains, why would a girl slap even register on his pain meter? This movie is just weird.

Final Thoughts

I hope any future DBZ movies are better than this. Battle of the Gods wasn't horrible or even the worst movie of the franchise (Bio-Broly still gets that shit-stain of a rank). It just felt like a massive wink to the fans with the most miniscule storytelling involved. And I don't want to hear about how Dragonball Z always had bad storytelling because that's not true. The 13th DBZ movie, the one with Topian and Goku going the dragon punch, that was awesome. It had a great story, good character involvement and cool fight sequences. I'm not putting it on the pedestal of Neon Genesis Evangelion or Cowboy Bebop, but it was decent. This movie was mostly for laughs. Vegeta singing... silly antics of the God of Destruction... Emperor Pilaf in general... it was just silly. While it was nice to see new DBZ again, I hope the next movie (due in 2015) will be better.

I do have to question one thing, however. I had heard that since this new movie involved Toriyama and Dragonball GT didn't, that this is now the new continuity. Does that mean GT will be erased? That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but it does make me wonder.

Until next time... Stay Strange

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