Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dragonball Z Movie 4: Lord Slug

This is one of the good DBZ movies; it often gets underrated. A lot of this is because it suffers from being between the nostalgic Tree of Might and the much-hyped Kooler's Revenge, as well as being JUST before the Super Saiyan Era.

While the previous movie had a Saiyan villain and the next one has a Freeza Race villain, this one gives us a Namekian villain to round things out. Not just any Namekian, either... a SUPER Namekian. The dub also features tons of licensed music from Disturbed and various other metal bands. It's worth a watch.



All is quiet and peaceful on Earth...but this is a DBZ movie, so we know it won't last long.

The movie begins with Piccolo hovering in front of a waterfall. It's like nothing has happened since the previous movie ended!

Gohan shows up with Icarus, and they proceed to annoy Piccolo. Why does Icarus have red balls on his head? Is Gohan turning him into some kind of clown?

Editor's Note: In the Japanese version, Icarus is called Haiya Dragon.

 They proceed to dance about and shake their butts while weird Middle-Eastern music plays and Piccolo grumbles. These Gohan Musical Interludes are great.

 Most notably, Gohan whistles at a high pitch that hurts Piccolo's ears.

...a LOT. It's like an anti-Namekian sound pitch. THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER.

 Gohan is looking a little pale here...

Piccolo finally snaps and threatens to go postal, so our heroes beat a hasty retreat.

Meanwhile, Bulma shows tasteful sideboob as she discusses how some sort of meteor is on a collision course with Earth and could wipe out the human race.

Her father, super-genius that he is, just made the discovery...and the collision is imminent.

That's right, Bulma. You could have spent the past few years makin' it with a smorgasbord of hot guys. Instead you spent them all with... ::holds back vomit:: ...Yamcha.

...and then THE COLLISION HAPPENS. MY GOD.

But wait! That was just a computer simulation of what will happen later this afternoon, says the news reporter before running for his life.

.....

...funny thing is, seeing the planet explode had no effect on me even though for a moment I thought it was really happening, because my brain immediately went "eh, dragonballs will wish the planet back". This is what happens when you totally trivialize all consequences in your story-universe.

Kuririn watches the news and FLIPS OUT. This is how I feel when I watch GOP debates.

Of course, he quickly tracks Gokou down so that they can attempt to divert the meteor. Being Gods of Earth must be a full-time job.

Our heroes arrive at the scene and UNLEASH HELL. Their blasts have no effect on the meteor, however, as it appears to be reinforced with some sort of energy barrier.

It then hurls Gokou and Kuririn around with a gravitational pull of some sort that makes very little sense, effectively taking them out of action for the next twenty minutes of movie time so that other things can happen before Gokou saves the day.

 It stops short of colliding with Earth, instead parking on a city. Turns out it's a spaceship of some sort. A... Death Moon, if you will. Like a Death Star, except... a Death Moon.

 Aboard the ship is your standard Goon Squad, led by the very Thanos-like Lord Slug.

He chows down on handfuls of Vicodin while giving out orders to terraform the Earth. Didn't we just do this plot one movie ago?

This goon squad is very Dragon Quest ish. There are four of them and they all look distinct.

This big demon goon makes the mistake of saying that Lord Slug isn't getting any younger, so Lord Slug one-shots him. The Goon Squad is already down to three guys and the fighting hasn't even started yet!

Lord Slug's army emerges from the ship to inform the people of Earth that their new ruler is Lord Slug. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the people of Earth...

 ...are incredibly stupid, and react to their alien visitors with apathy and general nothing.

 When they hear the name Lord Slug, they LAUGH UPROARIOUSLY. Yes, point out that the villain has a stupid name, movie!

The heavily-armed invaders from space respond to being laughed at by...

 ...OPENING FIRE ON EVERYBODY. This should be a horrifying moment, but it's comedy GOLD instead.

Gohan shows up to take on Lord Slug's army, and easily runs through a bunch of them.

 These minions are quite weak, possibly equal to garden-variety humans if you take away their weaponry.

 Even Chi-Chi gets into the battle, taking out two of them with a flying kick. This is the greatest moment in the movie.

More Chi-Chi! That's awesome.

More minions then take her down due to the numbers game as they say in wrestling, and Gohan flies her to safety. As for where Gokou and Kuririn are during all of this...they're still knocked out somewhere from the gravitational forcefield or something.

Lord Slug emerges from the ship and takes Gohan's hat-dragonball. He knows about the dragonballs, and wants the rest of them.

Bulma spills the beans (and the Dragon Radar), so Lord Slug sends his minions out to ball-hunt. He also reads Bulma's mind to get more information. You'd think that'd be useless because all he'd see would be her thinking about boys.

The minions proceed to steal dragonballs from all sorts of places that make them look like horrible people. For instance, a bird nest where a bird was trying to warm her eggs.

So...is this the kind of stuff the good guys have to do when they gather dragonballs, and that's why we don't see them do it? Why the double standard, DBZ!?

Lord Slug assembles the Dragonballs and proceeds to summon the dragon.

...wait, are Gokou and Kuririn STILL knocked out? What the actual fuck? That HAD to take at least a couple hours!

In any case, Lord Slug wishes for eternal youth (NOT immortality) to regain his younger looks and power. Then he unleashes his terraforming device on Earth to transform it into a frozen wasteland, which he will remake as his new kingdom.

His three remaining goons look on as Earth freezes over, destroying ecosystems worldwide. ...HOW IS GOKOU STILL UNCONSCIOUS

We see plants and animals collapsing from the frigid temperatures. Essentially this same thing JUST happened in the previous movie...

 Gokou stirs to life. "What did I miss?" he says as his voice echoes across the empty wasteland of Earth.

Looks like he required a Senzu Bean from Yajirobe.

 Meanwhile, Chi Chi and Bulma are trying to stay warm with the subzero temperatures. They've got the space heater going and everything.

Ya know, it's been scientifically proven that the best way for two people to stay warm in freezing temperatures is to get naked together. You know, full skin-on-skin.

I'm...just saiyan.

Meanwhile, Gohan and Oolong flee from Lord Slug's riot brigades in the dystopian cityscape.

Here in the New Age, EVERY DAY is a struggle to survive!

Gohan lets the minions pile up, then unleashes a beam that wipes them out. So...that problem is solved.

Meanwhile, Piccolo takes on one of Lord Slug's bigger goons.

These goons really do look like refugees from Dragon Quest, especially this one.

 Gohan attacks Lord Slug and doesn't fare too well. Slug goes to finish him off and Piccolo blocks the attack, and now they're both out of commission. This is all...very familiar.

 Oh, by the way, Gokou and Kuririn have recovered from their coma and arrived at the battlefield.

Kuririn never really meets any bad fate in this movie, but he doesn't contribute either. He mostly hovers around looking horrified.

Time for the main event, as Lord Slug gears up to fight Gokou.

The battle is joined, and Slug is pretty formidable. He isn't as strong as Freeza, but he isn't too far off.

Slug (who really reminds me of Thanos, yo) whips out one of my favorite DBZ staples: The take-punch-to-the-head-and-no-sell-it-while-grinning move.

He then proceeds to beat Gokou down all across... Iguana Street. This is the first major DBZ battle to ever transpire in a city environment, and it's actually pretty cool to see visually. Very dark and dystopian.

After getting beaten down enough, Gokou loses his cool and goes...Super Saiyan?

Well, not exactly. He has the aura, but not the hair. He's like SSJ0.9 or something.

Fun Fact: This movie actually came out BEFORE Gokou ever went Super Saiyan in the show, so technically this could have been the earliest chronological instance of SSJ.

Fun Fact II: The DBZ manga hadn't reached Gokou going SSJ yet, so the creators of this movie didn't actually know for sure what SSJ was supposed to look like and had to go by what they were told. I'm guessing Toriyama hadn't settled on gold hair yet, but had figured out the other attributes (hair standing up, gold aura).

In summation... this is pretty much SSJ, yet...not.

 I actually like this look a lot. The history of this show would be very different if SSJ looked like this, without the gold hair... would the show be as iconic? Maybe not.

Meanwhile, Lord Slug takes off his armor to reveal his Namekian-ness to a shocked Gokou.

 Just to really drive home the point that he's a Namekian, the shot jumps between Slug and Piccolo's faces. Repeatedly. Like six times. Even the most dim-witted of audiences get it by now, movie.

 Now we get a somewhat-unnecessary second phase to the battle, as Gokou's SSJ form wears off. ...yes, wears off. Lord Slug then grows into a giant form and receives a big power boost. I think the fight should have ended with SSJ0.9 Gokou defeating Lord Slug once and for all in his regular form.

Lord Slug 2.0 is very, very big.

What follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse, as Gokou tries to hide from Slug's relentless assault.

My God.

 This whole last part is redundant, especially because the SSJ transformation is inexplicably now a non-factor. Though we DO get several awesome shots...

It's your standard "Gokou Vs. Giant" battle, though Giant Slug also has the Namekian attribute of being able to extend his limbs to attack.

 We get a few beats from the Gokou/Vegeta fight, as Lord Slug catches our hero and attempts to crush him. This is...much creepier though.

But wait! Piccolo has a brilliant idea: Ask Gohan to whistle that song that gave him such a huge headache earlier.

As a Namekian, Lord Slug should be vulnerable to it. Piccolo removes his own ears just to make sure he can't hear it. Wouldn't it have sufficed to just plug his ears? Well, at least he can regrow himself.

Gohan whistles, and...

...Lord Slug is temporarily incapacitated.

This leads to Piccolo intervening and sending some sort of huge dose of energy to Gokou. How? What? This doesn't happen anywhere else in the series. It's pretty cool-looking, at least.

Gokou now pops up and uses Kaioh-Ken... times ONE HUNDRED. This is actually a bigger boost than his earlier SSJ0.9, and allows him to...

 ...body-crash right through Lord Slug, impaling him. Wow.

Only problem is, he's a Namekian, so he can regenerate.

We get a Gokou/Vegeta battle shot, as Gokou channels Spirit Bomb energy to atomize Lord Slug in one go.

FLY, SPIRIT BOMB!

It's the usual Spirit Bomb Death Shot, only upside-down. Lord Slug will not be missed.

Like the previous movie, killing the bad guy has the side-effect of magically lifting the problem plaguing Earth. In this case, the heavy layer of oppressive, freezing fog. What? How?

...eh, just roll with it.

Gokou takes a moment to gaze upon the suddenly-warm landscape. This movie was a bit too similar to the previous movie in a lot of ways, but then again these DBZ movies tend to be very formulaic.

As our heroes celebrate, a Namekian hand shoots out of the rubble! IS LORD SLUG STILL ALIVE? DAMMIT! I THOUGHT WE HAD HIM!

Nope, it's just Piccolo.

The final shot is of Master Roshi, who slept through the whole thing. Including the subzero temperatures. Yeah.

There's a lot of nonsense involved, but I still give this movie high marks. Good stuff here for the most part, and the entirety of "Stupify" by Disturbed plays during the Gokou/Slug fight in the dub version. Bad-ass.





7 comments:

  1. Why does Lord Slug want the planet to be terraformed anyway? It's not like Namek is frozen.

    Wow, that magazine is expensive.

    Definitely one of the better movies.

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    Replies
    1. Lord Slug probably needs to cool off because he's running hot from popping so much vicodin.

      Delete
  2. "t's like an anti-Namekian sound pitch. THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER."
    It is? I looked through and the movie didn't seem to reference it again, unless you omitted it from this post. Does it come into play in another movie?
    Dammit, I have to keep reminding myself "Kuririn" is "Krillin". But why still Piccolo? Why did some characters have a dub name change and some didn't? Heck, why "Goku" from "Gokou"? Is there a point? Man, it's so confusing...

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    Replies
    1. Not sure how I made this mistake, but yeah, I did omit it. There's a scene later where Piccolo -rips off his own ears- and tells Gohan to whistle again. The resulting high-pitched sound incapacitates Lord Slug long enough for Gokou to do whatever he was doing (charging the Spirit Bomb, I think). Not sure how I completely missed including that scene in the post. Maybe some of my screenshots got overwritten by accident when I was watching it.

      But yeah, Nameks are weak to whistling, and they use it against Lord Slug towards the end.

      Delete
  3. Really cool that with normal kid stuff they set up the ending. *Reads to the end* but what about the whistle...ohh I see, you mentioned it in the comments. Whew, glad someone else asked about this.

    So many people of rare races get killed in this series because they're trying to establish superiority over the earth. It's depressing. Bad for biodiversity but true to how life is.

    So it's really similar to the last movie but also really cool. Got it. It's great to see proto-SSJ for sure, and something original and movie-made like the energy transfer.

    We're flattering ourselves by pretending earth would recover this quickly from things! But it's a nice fantasy.

    Roshi's magazine IS way too expensive.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Space vicodin for all your troubles.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete