Reviewby Allen Divers, Feb 6th 2002
Dragonball Z - Cooler's Revenge
Movie 5 DVD
It is a peaceful time on Earth after the fierce battle with Frieza on the planet Namek. Things are slowly returning to normal for Goku and the gang as they head out on a camping trip. Little do they realize that a plan for revenge will soon attempt to devour them.
Frieza's brother, Cooler, is out to kill the Saiyan that destroyed his brother and not even Piccolo can stand in his way. Goku is down, and its up to Gohan to save his father, because only Goku can stop the evil Cooler!
Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge is the fifth feature length release under the Dragon Ball Z name. This is FUNimation's second movie release. In Japan, this 47-minute feature was released as "The Extraodinary Mightiest vs. Mightiest". With a standardized movie plot, Cooler's Revenge is strictly an excuse to have the characters run around and fight the baddies for 40 minutes instead of the standard run of the 30 minute TV shows. FUNimation is showing more experience with their DVD authoring and voice acting, but continue to abuse what they see as a successful formula.
The first thing that grabs you about this release is the cover: Cooler in his full battle form. While it is a pretty dramatic shot, the impact of this plot point is totally ruined because the viewer knows what to expect. The cover is also pretty standard for the TV releases, so doesn't do much to play this up as a feature length movie. The back also reflects the typical TV setup with a couple of screen shots from the film, and a quick synopsis killing any potential surprises inside.
This movie came out around the time of the Namek/Frieza Saga, so artwork is on par with the Television series at that time. Having a slightly better budget than the TV show, the animation seems cleaner and the character designs show more detail. The designs reflect those used in the latter half of the show's run. The transfer to DVD is good, showing standard scratches and nicks from the source material. Nothing stands out as bothersome, so points to FUNimation for good video authoring.
In the audio department, the viewer is treated to 4 potential soundtracks. There are 2 English tracks, 1 5.1 Surround and the other standard stereo mix. The other 2 tracks are the Spanish dub and the original Japanese dub both in mono. The last 2 being in mono is in stark contrast to the 2 stereo English tracks. Its understandable if stereo tracks weren't available, but really feels like a wasted effort.
The English tracks contain original music. The standard incidental music from the TV dub is present along with more hard rock tunes following the standard set by the History of Trunks release. For the most part, the hard rock tunes feel out of place here, in comparison to the standard incidental music. It's almost as if they are trying to force the feel of the Matrix on this. Mostly the music falls flat because the songs have words. If they were more instrumental in nature, they might work better. Often the music has to be turned down to hear the dialogue, then goes back up in volume once the dialogue is completed. This produces a strange effect as the viewer tries to lower and raise the volume on the TV to catch all the details.
The script itself shows up as another typical mish-mash of junk from the minds of the scriptwriters. Once again, the dialog is twisted with no rhyme or reason from the original Japanese script. The writers also show their true fears for silence by adding unnecessary dialog. DBZ has never been a very subtle show, so the audience doesn't need their hands to be held while working through the plot. Kudos to the regular voices though, as they wade their way through the script. The viewer can hear some actual acting at many of the dramatic high points. Unfortunately, the music kills the mood by trying to force a completely different feel.
The original Japanese soundtrack is backed up with a decent set of English subtitles. While some would question word selection, for the most part the subtitles stay very true to what is actually being said. The same exists for the Spanish dub which sticks close to the original Japanese dub. It's amusing to hear Spanish versions of the opening and closing songs, instead of completely rewritten songs. The Spanish version also uses the original Japanese incidental music which is the standard fair from the Japanese TV soundtrack.
Overall, Cooler's Revenge is a pretty mediocre release. The story itself is rather weak, using the standard villain of the week feature with no real impact on the lives of the heroes. Aside from the Spanish soundtrack and the 4 previews, there are no extras to speak of. The hard rock soundtrack of the English dub feels flat and simply a cheap marketing ploy to be able to sell cd's as well. There are a lot of improvements in overall authoring experience and a certain amount of maturity on the part of the regular VAs. For the DBZ fans, this is a decent release to pick up because it shows that characters doing what they do best, just don't expect any major plot twists in this one.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : C
+ Inclusion of Original dub saves this release
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