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[Review] Variety: 'Dragon Ball Super: Broly'

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Jan 19, 2019, 3:54:32 PM1/19/19

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Film Review: 'Dragon Ball Super: Broly'
The latest anime feature in the decades-old franchise is
strictly for diehard fans.

Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Voices: Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat, Vic Mignogna,
Christopher Ayres, Sonny Strait, Jason Douglas,
Ian Sinclair.

Release Date: Jan 16, 2019

Rated PG  1 hour 41 minutes

Late in "Dragon Ball Super: Broly," the 20th Japanese
anime feature in a 35-year-old franchise that also has
spawned scads of TV series, trading cards, video games,
mangas, and limited-edition collectibles, a supporting
character complains, "I don't understand a single thing
you've said the whole time."

If you're among the heretofore uninitiated drawn to this
new Dragon Ball extravaganza, which has been dubbed into
English and booked into 1,440 North American theaters,
you may often find yourself experiencing similar
frustration as you struggle to make sense of a patchwork
plot that seems derived from various strands of the
ongoing mythos, and is filled with apparently major
characters whose backstories are only fuzzily defined.

On the other hand, the impressive opening-day box office
- more than $7 million on Weds., Jan. 16 - for "Dragon
Ball Super: Broly" indicate that, if this is indeed
strictly a members-only attraction, well, anticipation
must have been strong among the initiated to compel that
kind of turnout on day one. Your mileage, of course, may

Scripted by series creator Akira Toriyama and direced by
Tatsuya Nagamine (a veteran of the "Dragon Ball Super"
TV show), this latest movie begins as the evil Frieza -
introduced here as an undisciplined adolescent who takes
over the family business of intergalactic tyranny -
destroys the planet Vegeta because its inhabitants,
known as Saiyans, might pose a future threat. Broly, a
Saiyan infant with super-warrior potential, gets away
before the big bang, and spends his formative years with
his father on a desolate planet called Vampa. During
this period, two other young Saiyan refugees - Goku,
hero of the "Dragon Ball" franchise, and Vegeta, a
prince from the destroyed planet - survive and thrive on
Earth, where they spend most of their time training to
become champions by kicking each other's butts with
frat-boy exuberance.

Goku and Broly wind up facing off in Antarctica, in a
numbingly repetitious smackdown (involving fierce
punches, vicious kicks, fiery power blasts and
cacophonous grunts) that takes up nearly a third of the
movie. During the early stages of this battle royale,
the retro look of the conspicuously under-animated
visuals - which have been deliberately stylized to mimic
the property's magna roots - has an undeniable nostalgic
appeal. But that's not nearly enough to keep things

It comes as a relief when the overmatched Goku joins
Vegeta in a "fusion dance" (no, really) that combines
the two of them into a single entity named Gogeta, so
that all the sound and fury actually can be brought to
a quietus.

Not surprisingly, no one of any real importance dies
during the course of "Dragon Ball Super: Broly," thereby
guaranteeing the franchise can continue apace. Indeed,
the final scenes are so obviously open-ended, and
fraught with promises of things to come, that the
filmmakers might as well have concluded with a title
card: "Stay tuned for our next exciting episode."


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