This collection of the first two Dragon Ball Z movies brings classic Dragon Ball action and little else.
What They Say
Contains two classic Dragon Ball Z movies!
The Dead Zone - Gohan has been kidnapped! To make matters worse, the evil Garlic Jr. is gathering the Dragonballs to wish for immortality. Only then will Garlic Jr. be able to take over the Earth in order to gain revenge for the death of his father. Goku rushes to save Gohan, but arrives at the fortress just as Garlic Jr. summons the Eternal Dragon! Krillin and Piccolo try to help Goku, but their combined powers are no match for Garlic Jr., who creates a "Dead Zone" to suck the heroes into oblivion! Suddenly, Goku begins to show his hidden power, but will it be enough?!
The World's Strongest - The sinister Dr. Wheelo has been freed from his icy tomb! With his dedicated and devious assistant Dr. Kochin, these mad scientists are plotting to unleash their fearsome biotechnology and take over the world! Of course there's one hitch in the plan.. Dr. Wheelo exists only as a brain in a jar! The evil doctor must seek out a body on Earth that is as strong as his mind is amazing! Dr. Kochin and his android henchmen kidnap Piccolo and Master Roshi to determine who is the most powerful fighter on Earth! Goku, Gohan and Krillin rush into action to save their friends, but Dr. Wheelo's minions are more than a match for them in battle. It looks grim when Piccolo falls under the disembodied villain's control, and Wheelo's next target for mental domination? Goku! Will our heroes keep their wits about them long enough to be victorious or will they lose their minds?
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 Dragon Ball Z, 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 “Dead Zone” being from 1989 and “The World’s Strongest” from 1990, 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 Goku in a fighting pose with monochromatic shots of Garlic Jr. and Dr. Kochin behind him. The back has another image of Goku in action, with screen shots, summaries, and technical details listed. On the interior, able to be seen through the plastic, is and image of the Eternal Dragon, Shenron. 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, with Extras also available on “Dead Zone.” Pretty basic, but functional.
Not a whole lot here. “Dead Zone” has a few trailers, and a full feature commentary with Chris Cason (ADR Director) and Chuck /Huber (voice of Garlic Jr.). There are no extras at all on “The World’s Strongest.”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This collection brings together the first two Dragon Ball Z movies: “Dead Zone” and “The World’s Strongest.” Both movies feature plots and action typical of the Dragon Ball universe, which makes them ideal for DBZ fans. However, there is also nothing present that would entice any new fans, either.
“Dead Zone” features the return of Garlic Jr. and his quest for the Dragon Balls. Garlic Jr. desires the Dragon Balls so that he can wish for immortality and take revenge for his father’s defeat. In his efforts, he defeats Piccolo and kidnaps Gohan to acquire the Dragon Balls they were guarding. This angers Goku, who chases Garlic Jr. and his minions down. By then, however, Garlic Jr. has made his wish, and so defeating him becomes very difficult. Even when Krillin appears and Piccolo returns, Garlic Jr. will not go down too easily.
“The World’s Strongest” opens with Gohan and Oolong searching for the Dragon Balls, but coming up short when they are gathered by Dr. Kochin, who wishes for the return of his master, Dr. Wheelo, who had been trapped in an avalanche fifty years earlier. At the time of the accident, the two doctors had been working on a group of bio-warriors designed to be the strongest fighters in the world. As such, they kidnap Master Roshi to pit against them. However, when Roshi is defeated, Bulma reveals that in the fifty years since, Goku has now become the world’s strongest. When Goku arrives to rescue Bulma and Roshi, the doctors reveal that Wheelo lost his body in the accident, and his brain now lives in a machine. His new plan is to find the strongest fighter and take over his body. With the smartest mind and the strongest body, nobody would be able to stop him.
Both movies are pretty typical for Dragon Ball Z. An evil person acquires the Dragon Balls, makes a wish that makes him all powerful, and then Goku shows up and ultimately kicks his ass, with help from his motley gang of friends. Both are fairly light on plot development as there is not a whole lot of time for either, but instead get right to the action. And of course, Goku and the rest manage to defeat any minions with little problem, but find that they have to put any issues aside and team up to defeat Garlic Jr. and Dr. Wheelo.
Though not canon, these appear to fall somewhere early-ish in the DBZ storyline, as Gohan is still fairly young, Piccolo is still openly antagonistic, and Goku does not have his Super Seiyan abilities. However, despite being early storylines, these movies would not be good introductions to the series, as prior knowledge of the characters and powers are somewhat necessary to fully understand the actions taking place.
These two movies are pretty typical of Dragon Ball Z. As such, fans of the franchise will probably find these entertaining. However, these movies will do nothing to convince non-fans to take the plunge, and people interested in checking DBZ out would be well advised to start with the TV series to get the back stories before jumping into these. Thumbs in the middle.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language (Original Music), Englis 5.1 Language (US Music), English Subtitles, Commentary Track
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System