DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY – A Worthy Addition to the Franchise.

Hey there Salty fans. Kernel Claire here. I’ll be the first to admit that I know nothing about Dragon Ball Z/ Dragon Ball Super. I only learned this evening that they are different things. I’ve never watched an episode, and I know nothing about the franchise. But reading through Kernel John’s review has definitely piqued my interest! The franchise definitely has a cult following – apparently the demand for this film was so high that tickets were sold out FIVE MONTHS prior to the films release! With a fan base that large and determined, I definitely need to see what I’m missing here! Enjoy Kernel John’s super (Saiyan) review!

DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY will be out on DVD and streaming services near you very soon. At a runtime of 100mins, it’s the franchise’s longest film to date. (The second longest, if you include the Extended Version of DRAGON BALL Z: RESURRECTION F, which lasts 130mins). It’s rated PG.

Broly Vs Vegeta
Broly Vs Vegeta

BY JOHN McPARLAND

SYNOPSIS:

DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY is the first movie in the Dragon Ball Super franchise.  It takes place shortly after the conclusion of the DBS saga and primarily follows Goku and Vegata’s struggle against a new Saiyan called BROLY.  Never one to truly reform his ways, Frieza enlists the aid of Broly to destroy Earth’s heroes and finally get revenge on his greatest foes.  Goku and Vegeta head to the Arctic to meet the villains as they arrive on Earth.  Under Frieza’s direction, Broly attacks and is initially soundly beaten by Vegeta, however every defeat simply increases Broly’s rage, making him stronger and faster than before. 

Our heroes manage to just stay ahead of Broly’s might as they continue to increase their power levels through the various Super Saiyan stages all the way to Super Saiyan Blue, until in one final blast of literally dimension-shattering energy, Broly transforms into his ultimate Super Saiyan Berserker form.  Exhausted and out classed, what more will it take for Earth’s heroes to finally defeat this incredibly powerful foe and save their planet?

Gogeta
Gogeta

ANIMATION:

The animation in DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY is amazing.  A vast improvement over the style used in the original two franchises of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Super makes full use of today’s technology to bring the production level of this film to over 9000!  While the animation of the character interaction scenes is fairly standard, the fight scenes are beyond brilliant to behold.  Energy blasts look truly electric in nature. Fire and water flicker and flow in ways that you would swear real life footage from David Attenborough himself.  Toei Animation did a marvellous job in bringing the joy and nostalgia of DB and DBZ back from the past with a gorgeously modern flare.

Goku
Goku

PRODUCTION:

Originally a Japanese production, the English dub of DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY is flawless.  All the main voice actors of the combined franchise’s twenty-odd years return to leave their familiar mark on this film.  They’re old-hands at voicing these characters and their professionalism and experience shine through.

The movie’s soundtrack is engaging and in keeping with the theme and pace of whichever scene is currently playing out.  Light and fluffy sometimes, while dark and desperate at others, the measure of the music helped further solidify the visuals.

The Legendary Super Saiyan Broly
The Legendary Super Saiyan Broly

STORY:

Unfortunately, it’s DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY’s story that lets the film down.  The movie opens with 40 odd minutes of backstory. Everything happens except for a rehashing of what has occurred in the Dragon Ball franchise universe previously.  This tale had been told before throughout the franchise, but never in such detail.  This recount presented an alternate history to the one fans were already used to. It rewrote the origin of some characters and presented Broly as a brand new, never before seen villain. (Despite his appearance in three previous Dragon Ball Z movies).

The film then launches into an epic, hour-long fight scene that continuously escalates in intensity.  Granted, we are all here for the massive battle, but the film just seems to go from a very long and protracted zero to an in your face one hundred with only the slightest pause.  This contrast is compounded by the fact that Broly is given very little motivation or direction for his decisions.  We just spent a long time getting to know him before he rages out and starts pummelling all and sundry, without ever really learning why he is fighting.  Everyone around Broly has their own secret objectives and goals for this battle and are more than happy to use Broly as a pawn in their schemes. I just wish I could get behind Broly’s impulses for doing what he does.

VERDICT:

The Dragon Ball franchise is great at fleshing out its characters and their overall drivers, be they hero or villain.  DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY left me wondering why exactly its titular character was punching his problems away. It left me a little disappointed.  Broly’s Berserker form turns his hair and aura green. He only reaches this state due to his ever-increasing rage and lack of complex thought processes. It paints the character as more of an Incredible Hulk than a meaningful villain.  And not in an enjoyable beat-the-crap-out-of-Thor al a THOR: RAGNAROK way. Or a humorous “I don’t want to be here” AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR way. More of a “My secret is that I’m always angry” THE AVENGERS way.  This outright dismissal of meaningful interaction and causality with the character’s complex history bothered me in THE AVENGERS and it bothers me here too.

BABY BROLY
BABY BROLY

CONCLUSION:

A one-dimensional villain is a small blip in an otherwise wonderful film.  It’s great to see the Dragon Ball universe on the silver screen once again, and DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY is a worthy addition to the franchise.  Long-time fans will love the classic humour and in-jokes, as well as the climactic battle between their favourite fighters. Newcomers will be equally as impressed with the raw, in your face beauty that is the Dragon Ball anime.

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE:

YOUR CRITIC:

A lifelong lover of the silver screen, Kernel John strives to engage and entertain his audience through the shameless use of humour in his reviews, even when it probably isn’t warranted. When not musing for Salty, you can often find John bouncing between his extreme states of either puppy watching down by the beach, or reflecting on the deepest mysteries of the Universe.

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.