Containing two movies that are related, this Dragon Ball Z movie collection is also one of the more entertaining ones.
What They Say:
Saving the universe can be tiring business! So after their big battle with Frieza on Namek, Goku, Gohan, Krillin, and Oolong decide to take a little camping trip for some rest and relaxation back on Earth. But their peaceful weekend is soon interrupted by a menacing force. Frieza has a brother: Cooler! And with his powerful Armored Squadron, he has come to Earth seeking revenge.
Cooler will not rest until the man who destroyed his brother is vanquished, even if that means blowing up the entire planet! Goku was able to tap into his hidden powers and transform into a Super Saiyan once before. The question is, now that the Earth is threatened by Frieza's older (and stronger) brother, can he do it again?
The Return of Cooler
New Namek is besieged by an enormous evil entity - the Big Gete Star - a "living planet" of metal that sustains itself by devouring entire worlds. Fearing for the existence of his people, Dende, the new guardian of Earth, turns to Goku and his friends for help.
The Z-Fighters spring into action in an effort to save the new Namekian home world from this invading menace, but their fight won't be easy! The Big Gete Star has an army of powerful Cyclopean Guards at its disposal, and what's more, at the heart of this metal giant lurks an old enemy... Cooler!
What We Say:
For this viewing, I listened to the English Dub with original Japanese music, which is offered in 5.1 surround. There are also options for the English Dub with US music, also in 5.1, and the original Japanese track, which is only offered in mono. This mix is pretty nice, and I liked that Funimation gave us the option between the Japanese and US music. The dialogue is clear with no dropout, the sound effects are nice, and there is some pretty nice directionality during the fight scenes. And since this is <i>Dragon Ball Z</i>, there are plenty of those.
Both titles are shown in their original 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and have been digitally remastered in high definition. This transfer is pretty clean, with no real technical problems, but with “Cooler’s Revenge” being from 1991 and “Return of Cooler” from 1992, they are still both titles that show their age. Flaws in the originals have been cleaned up and the colors redone, but they still are not as clean as newer titles. That said, they look about as good as any DBZ title, so fans of the series should not notice any difference.
This is a really nice set. The main case is a full color, sturdy DVD Tin with a clear plastic insert to hold the discs. Both discs are held on the right side, with room for a non-existent booklet or insert on the left. The front has a picture of Meta-Cooler with monochromatic shots of Goku and Vegita behind him. The back has an image of Super Seiyan Goku, with screen shots, summaries, and technical details listed. On the interior, able to be seen through the plastic, is a close-up of Meta-Cooler squaring off against Goku. Overall, it looks really nice and is well put together.
The menus for this release are pretty basic. Each have a still image of Goku set against a black background. The DVD options are underneath in yellow, making them easy to see and follow. Options for Play, Scene Selection, and Setup are available. Pretty basic, but functional.
Aside from some trailers, there were no extras on this set.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This collection contains two movies that are related, story-wise: Cooler’s Revenge and The Return of Cooler. These are fairly similar to other DBZ movies in terms of content; however, I found these two to be a bit more interesting than previous fares. That said, prior knowledge of the series is fairly important, so newer fans might be better starting elsewhere.
Both movies feature the same antagonist: Freiza’s brother, Cooler. In Cooler’s Revenge, Cooler comes to Earth to hunt the Seiyan who killed his brother. He catches Goku unaware and takes him down with one of his more powerful shots. Krillin manages to hide Goku from Cooler and his underlings while Gohan travels to Korin Tower to get senzu beans in order to restore Goku to fighting strength. However, even at full strength, Goku struggles against Cooler, forcing his hand into powering up to the Super Seiyan level he accomplished in his fight with Frieza.
The Return of Cooler features, interestingly enough, the return of Cooler. Since his defeat at the hands of a Super Seiyan Goku, Cooler has been finding new methods to gain strength. His first target with his new powers is the planet of New Namek. Goku and his friends arrive to help Piccolo defeat Cooler once again, but find that with his new metal skin, Meta-Cooler is much too strong, even for Super Seiyan Goku. Even the late arrival of Vegita is not enough to turn the tide. Goku and Vegita are forced to do the best they can keeping Cooler at bay while Piccolo and Gohan journey to find the way they can defeat Cooler.
While I have not generally been a fan of the DBZ movies, these kept my interest a bit better, especially for Cooler’s Revenge. With its tie to the Frieza story arc, the lack of any real character development or even plot is taken care of. Even with that connection, though, these movies do tend to spend a bit more time with those aspects. Cooler’s Revenge lets things build to a proper crescendo before letting Goku loose, and while The Return of Cooler gets into the fighting quite a bit more quickly, with Cooler’s Revenge coming before it, much of the buildup is taken care of.
That said, because of the ties to the Frieza story arc from the TV series, it is important to see the series first. While that is the case for each of the movies so far, due to their dependence on knowledge of the characters and their powers, since the story here is dependent on previous knowledge, it is now doubly important.
Dragon Ball Z has never been high on my list of likes, and the movies less so, but the two movies in this set were fairly enjoyable. While some of this is because their link to the Frieza story from the TV series laying much of the groundwork, I also found these to be a bit better paced, especially for Cooler’s Revenge. However, knowledge of the Frieza storyline is important to fully understand the motivations in these movies, so only those who have seen the TV series previously should apply. Recommended.
Japanese 1.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System