Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone (1989)
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I did like Goku's new persona though, rather cocky. It was a nice change. As for original characters I didn't find anything interesting (except that Nicky and Ginger pulled swords from their limbs!) They were all stupid and with very annoying voices. Give the bad guys voices that suit for once! Also why would three strong warriors (Sancho, Nicky and Ginger)follow the leadership of Garlic Jr, he wasn't smart, strong, or even witty! It just seemed to me that the characters in this film (all characters) were running around like headless chickens. Yet it was the 1st dbz film so obviously this was a training ground for all the rest.
I must say I expected this movie to ponder on but I was wrong as it was only on for 45 minutes so it is very short and sweet and I thought that this was a spot on running time for this film.
This film I think is suitable for people of all ages as children enjoy watching the show and older people also really enjoy to see the great action sequences.
Adams Rating - 8/10
The major downfall of this film is the scripts for the voice actors. Everything they say seems rushed to make sure it fills in with the mouth movements of the characters. The voices are also fairly emotionless, "Just another day on the job" kinda deal.
The fighting sequences are what you can expect from Dragon Ball, fast paced and entertaining, but ultimately end anti-climactic and rather quickly. The ending of this fight also doesn't fit very well with the show's timline, the example I can think of off the top of my head being the fact that Gohan's burst of power that pushes Garlic Jr. into the Dead Zone is never mentioned during the Vegeta Saga of the show where none of the shows characters appear to know how strong Gohan really is.
The film does have some good points though, the main one being that it is entertaining enough to watch for 40 minutes or so without getting bored.
For only being the first Dragon Ball Z movie. It lives up to being an enjoyable flick. Contains the same opening as the long running TV series. While the the whole thing felt like a two parter episode than a movie. Of course anything shorter than an hour always seems that way. It was the same with the first 3 Dragon Ball Movies. Ignoring that, this feature film is worth watching. I imagine the Kami/Piccolo fans to enjoy this because the play a part in it.
Available to own on DVD as well as the other 12 full length features.
With all that being said, I still enjoyed it, but wouldn't quite recommend it. The scenes where Gohan gets drunk is some of the funniest stuff the series has ever done! I love the idea of taking Emperor Pilaf's voice and giving it to a serious villain. I don't know if I ever realized that Ox King is Gohan's grandfather before. There's so many characters it's hard to keep up with how they're related! The animation is good too. ***
The Dead Zone, being strictly a martial arts film and not essentially a DBZ movie in feel or tone, isn't necessarily a great feature in its own right, but it comes the closest in visual or tone to being a feature at all. The visuals and animation are a lot smoother, with the actual fight sequences emphasized over, say, the Saiyans powering up and shooting holes through each other. The setting is also appropriate enough and doesn't feel constrictive, and is actually quite appealing to watch. In fact, out of the first six movies (the only ones I've actually seen, heheh...), this may be the most appealing on a visual level (contested possibly by "The World's Strongest," and maybe "The Tree of Might").
Of course, it isn't quite as epic as the rest (after all, Broly eventually shows up and wipes out a galaxy), and fans looking strictly for SS Vegeta or SS2 Goku will be disappointed. The villains are forgettable (and would've been forgotten, if Garlic Jr. hadn't gotten his own saga on the TV show), even if they are a bit surprising (after all, he still had the Dead Zone). The musical score is taken from the juvenile, seldom-heard "Dragon Ball" cartoons, making it feel less like a real DBZ movie and more of a throwback to the original Dragon Ball cartoon.
Highlights: Gohan powering up for possibly the first time ever and F^6&*^ING PWNING THAT M&*%ER F&^$^R! Also, the ending reveals a blatant rip-off of "The Phantom Zone," with Garlic Jr. pounding on his prison from inside a shard of glass.
Final ruling: The first and last real martial arts movie in the DBZ series. If you want some "realistic" fight sequences, along with the history of Garlic Jr. and Gohan, at least give it a screening.
GRADE: 2.5 out of 5
This is my own opinion, i respect yours. First off, I grew up with this crap in my childhood and yes i loved it. Going back and watching most of it now, I dislike half of it. I only love this. I do not mind the Sayin and Namik sagas as they are fun to watch and they have goo plot lines. The other DBZ films are medicorish and that's where i love this one most because the story was new, the characters were new and everything. When we got the Android/Cell and Buu Sagas and even DBGT, it felt like a replay, where everything was just been played like a broken record all over again. I also loved the Garli Jr. Saga.
Now back to the film....
I think the characters are very original and they are developed quickly. The story doesn't waste time into presenting into what it want to presents and show and the action mentioned above is freakin awesome. I also love Garlic Jr. Great character. The visual effects for a 1989 animation was good. If you love combat films this definitely one for the books in my collection. I own the original version in English and I got an Italian version when I was little :P.
As far as DBZ stuff goes (episodes and films) avoid most of it, but this should have Ur attention straight away :D.