It has been years since a major studio dared to touch Dragon Ball, but that hasn’t kept fans from giving the franchise a go. Dragonball Evolution failed to impress audiences, and fans have come together to release their own short films based on Akira Toriyama’s series. And, if you have not seen Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men, then you need to do so now.
If you are a big Dragon Ball junkie, you will have likely heard of the film. The movie, which went live in 2015, was created by Black Smoke Films. Yohan Faure directed the 20+ minute short film, and it is loosely based on the 'History of Trunks' anime special from way back when.
When the film begins, fans will notice how eery the movie is. It picks up with a somber narrative. The audio is put over clips of Cell’s reigns as he has drained much of the world. When Trunks is shown, he is found on an isolated farm watching wild horses run, and his mother asks Trunks to do a delivery for her.
No dialogue is used in this fan-film, but its action sequences make up for the loss. Despite its indie status, the fan-film did not skimp out on its visual effects. When Cell is shown in the film, he appears as a quick shadow which haunts the Z-Fighters, but audiences do not get a good look at him at first. It is only when Cell destroys the Hyberbolic Time Chamber does he appear in full, and Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men makes the villain appear as horrifying as he truly is.
The latter part of the film dedicates itself to an all-out battle between Cell and Trunks. Black Smoke Films brings to life a fight which will feel familiar to audiences if they have seen superhero films. The battle follows in the steps of those seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Trunk’s glowing hair brings the Super Saiyan transformation to new heights.
With Hollywood looking to diversify its franchises, Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope proves a full-scale adaptation of the series is possible. This gritty adaptation may not embrace the humor of Toriyama’s series, but its heart is still the same. The fan-film balances the precarious line of being both universal and authentic. So, if Disney chooses to make a live-action Dragon Ball film in the future, it really needs to call this production team up.
What do you think about this live-action Dragon Ball film? Hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to let me know and talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!