Dragon Ball Z Battle Of Gods Uncut Edition
Studio: Funimation / Toei Animation
Publisher: Madman / 20th Century Fox
Release Date: 26/09/2014
Price: $34.95 (AU) – Available Here / $24.99 (U.S) – Available Here
Dragon Ball Z Battle of Gods raised quite a stir when it was first announced. It then went on to do very well across theatres worldwide, bringing new life to the Dragon Ball franchise and seemingly spawning a new wave of films. Battle of Gods has now been released to an international audience on both Blu-ray and DVD in this extended uncut edition which features 20 minutes of additional footage alongside some bonus extras. Does Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods on Blu-ray deserve a spot in your Dragon Ball collection? Read on to find out.
There are some spoilers present below so skip to the next section if you haven’t seen the film and want to go in blind. The story of Battle of Gods centers around the God of Destruction Beerus who keeps balance amongst the universe by destroying a few planets every 50 years or so. This time he wakes up early due to having a premonition about fighting a Super Saiyan God and this leads him to Bulma’s 38th birthday party on Earth where he tries to seek out his opponent. All your favourite characters from the series are back here from Goku to Hercule, and there are also a couple of new characters to get the story going.
Lord Beerus is an interesting villain. While not ‘evil’ he has the responsibility of keeping balance in the Universe by destroying life, a task he seems all too comfortable with in times of rage but also has no problem dismissing at others. It’s always nice to see an antagonist with an unpredictable nature and different motives, even if he’s end goal of destroying the world is about as cliche as you can get. It was also nice seeing a villain on another level of power and seeing how the Z warriors react to this. His informer Whis displays great wisdom and power even if he hides this for most of the film and is mostly seen imposing himself trying his hand at comedy or sampling Earth’s many delicacies. Food obsession is a big part of Beerus’ and Whis’ characters and it does play a bit thin over the course of the film which is one of the only negatives to be found in the story.
The movie contains a great mix of new lore, comedy and of course, the fights Dragon Ball Z is known for. It’s always welcoming to see new non-contradicting material being added to any universe and it is no different here. Battle of Gods has a big focus on comedy, with plenty of one liners to more thought out sketches such as when Goku has to act formal for Lord Beerus. Emperor Pilaf and his gang are also back from the original Dragon Ball, bringing back their ‘we suck at being villains’ comedy along with them and they are on screen just enough before becoming irritating. Nearly everyone of these jokes hits home, as was the case and at a live screening event I attended several months ago where everyone was joining in on the laughs.
The comedy does outweigh the action somewhat in a roughly 30/70 split, but the action here is all epic. From the first fight on King Kai’s planet with Beerus destroying an overconfident Super Saiyan 3 Goku, to the fight at the party with everyone taking on Beerus and Vegeta getting in some hard hits, and of course the grand finale between Super Saiyan God Goku and Beerus. Fights are just as you remember them from the series, full of high speed movement and heavy blows sending opponents rocketing to the ground with craters being created and rocks smashing into pieces. It’s still awesome seeing someone get mad, powering up their aura and dashing in for a rush attack or energy blast. All the fights are spirited and backed by great animation and powerful sound.
The uncut edition adds over 20 minutes to the original film, mostly in insignificant ways such as additional cuts or extra lines of dialogue. However it does add a few great scenes that expand on story details, give character reactions or are just added for comedy. One funny example involves Vegeta being chastised by everyone at the party for not doing anything evil for a while, even receiving a round of applause from the group much to his dismay. If you’re going to watch the film you might as well watch the uncut version.
For those that have read any of my Blu-ray Dragon Ball Z Season reviews, you will know I often divulge about visual issues that arise thanks to the remastering process such as cropping. Luckily with Battle of Gods none of this is needed as the whole movie has been created from the ground up for widescreen and HD and it looks pretty good. Colours are bright, lines are sharp and attack effects look stunning. There are also some memorable special effects, such as God Goku’s Aura and Beerus’ Super Nova. On a slightly more negative note, there is still a problem retained from the original series with characters losing facial details when shown at a distance and it’s a shame the move to HD didn’t fix this.
Battle of Gods introduces some new CGI like animation in some scenes, most notably in the fights where the world kind of looks 3D while the camera is spinning around trying to keep up with Goku and Beerus or a mountain is exploding. These effects are visually impressive and add to the experience, taking the fights to a level that perhaps couldn’t be achieved with traditional animation.
As a long time Dragon Ball Z fan my only complaint is that the movie uses the ‘new style’ look that begun with the opening and closing animations used in Dragon Ball Kai. It’s not that it looks bad and it does look good in it’s own right and is definitely cleaner, I just feel it doesn’t look as good as the old style that got much more consistent in the Buu saga. Characters still look like themselves, however appear more ‘shiny’ and ‘cartoony’ losing that hand drawn ‘rawness’. This is just a personal preference however and doesn’t take away from the fact that the film does look good in it’s own right and has been animated very well.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods Uncut can be watched in either the Japanese audio in 2.0 or in English in 5.1, with both tracks presented in Dolby TrueHD. The theatrical version has both tracks presented in 5.1 TrueHD. All the voices, sounds effects and music comes across loud and crystal clear here and makes good use of the new audio technology.
In terms of voice acting, nearly everyone here reprises their roles for the new film, with the only differences I noticed being Bulma who has her Kai voice actress (which is a very jarring change for me as her Dragon Ball voice actor suited her perfectly and has been doing the gig for a very long time) and her father Dr. Briefs. Some may argue Vegeta’s voice sounds a little off and yes he does sound slightly more ‘royal’ here but it still sounds like Vegeta. Props to Sean Schemmel who has basically become Goku at this point and kills it in this film. I’m no expert on the Japanese vocal track but it sounds the same from what I have heard in the past and I’m sure won’t offend viewers who are used to the Japanese language setting.
Battle of Gods gives us some awesome vocal tracks, such as a remix to Cha-La Head Cha-La by Flow and a new song titled Hero that have both received an English translation for the English dub. These are powerful, uplifting tracks and Goku and Beerus fighting to Hero is probably my favourite part of the movie just for the epicness. The accompanying score is also impressive, always fitting the atmosphere of the movie and adding more intensity and hopelessness to situations when it needs to.
Fans of extras won’t be dissapointed here, with two main features and a good deal of trailers for other anime, the original Battle of Gods U.S. trailer and also a text less opening and closing. The first main feature shows about half of the Goku vs. Beerus fight but features a pop up box of the voice actor who is speaking at the time with the whole fight done in real time. Seeing Sean Schemmel and Jason Douglas put there all into the performances is great and really gives you a better appreciation of their craft as they mimic their on screen animated characters basically becoming their on screen persona.
The second major feature is just under 20 minutes long and shows off random clips of the voice cast performing their lines alongside the movie as well as messing those lines up, telling jokes and just having fun. In case you were wondering, yes, Chris Sabat is shown voicing the Bingo song and it’s hilarious as you think it is. There are also some interesting scenes of Sabat introducing the actors to scenes and guiding them through it, giving the audience a welcome insight into how the voice actors get into the roles and how they struggle at times getting a line right. This perhaps doesn’t count as an extra, but the theatrical version of the film is also available on disc should you want a shorter experience.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is a welcome addition to the Dragon Ball Z series. The movie provides action, laughs and expands the Dragon Ball universe well while leaving room for future works to be created. The new characters of Beerus and Whis are intriguing, powerful and both have unique personalities while the rest of the cast haven’t changed at all making fans of the series feel right at home. While not a flawless release with a minor over-focus on comedy and a personal preference contradicting the visual style chosen for the film (not to say it isn’t still excellent in its own right), the 20 minutes of extra footage, high level audio including some memorable vocal songs and a good amount of extras means Battle of Gods earns its place amongst your Dragon Ball collection.
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