Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men – Review

Let me just start by saying HOLY F#@%ING $#!T.

Now, it wouldn’t be fair to let you get past this point without knowing how huge a DBZ fan I am. Even as I’ve breached my forties, my years spent growing up in Japan still heavily shape the types of entertainment I consume today. I can still remember eagerly waiting for new episodes to air on Wednesday nights. That being said, the following opinions will still pass through a critical, informed lens.

I’m not going to say a whole lot about the film. It’s less than thirty minutes long and you should be doing more watching and less reading. But here are a few thoughts:

Adapting such an outrageous animated depiction has almost insurmountable challenges. At least that’s how Hollywood’s made it look. But what the filmmakers from Black Smoke Films – Yohan Faure & Vianney Griffon – have done in making Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men is take absolute absurdity and turn it into thoughtful, captivating drama. To resurrect an oldie: If you looked up “Over the top” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Dragon Ball Z. But nothing about this is over the top. The struggle is palpable and the live-action characterizations are really wonderful.

There is almost no in-scene dialogue. You’re walked through the story by what turns out to be a surprisingly appropriate narrator. Yes, without some context you might be a little lost, but even if all you take away from the film is a good guy fought a bad guy, you’d still be just fine. The overall story is rather condensed. It’s only a little longer than one of the original show’s episodes – minus commercials – but it tells much much more. What makes this work is the excellent use of the narrator. Voice over of an entire film is a slippery slope. More often than not it’s a lazy bypass of meaningful interactions. But not here.

Though I’m not sure what the budget was, small or low both certainly describe it. Granted, there is clearly some funding based on the quality of the visual effects, but the smart camera work and strong acting keep your eyes on what’s important and not on nit-picking visuals. Combine that with multiple locations – real and digital – and there is more than enough to watch as the story unfolds.

The area that could stand for a little improvement is the secondary audio. All the upfront sounds work, but background and off-screen noise feel a little “shopped” in. But based on what they accomplished overall with what must have been Monopoly money, it’s an almost invisible concern.

The take away from this indie fan-flick and others like it (have you seen Power/Rangers Unauthorized? click and watch) is that Hollywood should be scared. More and more “Fan Films” are being made that look and feel like quality studio productions. There are a number of places (see SYFY and other cable made features) where every aspect of the production: acting, directing, writing, producing, etc., are complete garbage. Not just garbage, I mean NO ONE on the film is even trying to make something worth watching. Cheese is fine. Low budget is fine. But with all the good that’s getting made I have less and less patience for the bad.

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Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men – Review Reviewed byMichael Pellegrini on . The Good:
  • Everything
  • Let's just leave it at that so you can watch it again!
  • Really, go watch it again!
Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men is a work of love by people who care as much about doing the name justice as they do making a good film. There's no wasted moments or unnecessary filler. Just 28 minutes of amazing Dragon Ball Z goodness. Now go watch it again! Rating: 4.6

In Closing

Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men is a work of love by people who care as much about doing the name justice as they do making a good film. There's no wasted moments or unnecessary filler. Just 28 minutes of amazing Dragon Ball Z goodness. Now go watch it again!
Adaptation 100%
Storytelling 100%
Acting 90%
Sights 90%
Sounds 80%
92% Fantastic!
The Good:
  • Everything
  • Let's just leave it at that so you can watch it again!
  • Really, go watch it again!

User Rating:

100%
(1 votes)
Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men is a work of love by people who care as much about doing the name justice as they do making a good film. There's no wasted moments or unnecessary filler. Just 28 minutes of amazing Dragon Ball Z goodness. Now go watch it again!
Adaptation
Storytelling
Acting
Sights
Sounds
Fantastic!
The Good:
  • Everything
  • Let's just leave it at that so you can watch it again!
  • Really, go watch it again!

User Rating:

5/5
(1 votes)

About The Author

Michael Pellegrini

Michael is a classic example of a child trapped in an adult's body - and I use the word "adult" very, very loosely. With interests ranging from comic books and movies to theater and fine art, Mike has followed humble journalistic beginnings that have led to interviews, reviews, news write-ups and opinion - though it's ever changing - pieces covering those same interests. All of that brings us here, to a site where a community of like-minded geeks can inform the rest of the world on the topics we adore. And on the personal side of things, Michael squeezes time for his lovely wife and house full of dogs between all the comic reading and video game playing.

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