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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dragon Ball Super: Broly is based on the (dubbed) Japanese anime adventure series. Following the origins of fan-favorite character Broly, the movie also features protagonist Goku and regulars such as Vegeta and Bulma, as well as the evil Frieza. The story includes lots of violence; nearly a third of the movie consists of a super-long fight between Broly and Goku/Vegeta. In addition to the many scenes of hand-to-hand combat, there's also mass genocidal destruction, sparring, murder, and deadly weapon use. Language includes occasional insults like "bastard," "moron," "idiot," and "dumb ass," but there's no sex -- just hyper-muscled male characters (who are often shirtless) and curvy, cleavage-sporting female characters. Amid all the fighting, the importance of teamwork, self-control, and courage are explored.
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What's the story?
DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY is a feature-length movie that explores the character of Broly (voiced by Vic Mignogna), the powerful Saiyan warrior who has a devoted following among Dragon Ball fans. The story follows how the Saiyan king Vegeda exiled the powerful Broly as a baby, with Broly's father, Paragus (Dameon Clarke), following him to a far-off planet. But after the villainous ruler Frieza (Chris Ayres) wipes out all of the Saiyan home planet, the few Saiyans to survive include King Vegeda's young heir, Vegeda (Christopher Sabat), lead warrior Bardok's son Kakarot/Goku (Sean Schemmel), and the exiled Broly. Years later, while Goku and Vegeda live on and protect Earth, the resurrected Frieza searches for all of the dragon balls and discovers that Broly and Paragus have been found. Frieza convinces Paragus to use Broly's unparalleled power to fight Goku and Vegeda on Earth.
Is it any good?
This self-contained film is definitely geared toward existing franchise fans, who will cheer for the characters, appreciate the backstories and inside jokes, and fully understand the plot. Uninitiated viewers can still enjoy Dragon Ball Super: Broly, particularly if they're young and/or easily delighted by supersized battle sequences (the climactic battle is more than 30 minutes long!), but they won't "get" the movie like true fans will. Parents with kids who are unaware of the show may not see the appeal of the movie, but teens and young adults who've grown up watching the anime series will be keen to see Broly as the focus of the movie.
The plot is fairly thin because it's all a lead-up to the epic battle between Broly and Vegeta and Goku. Broly is brooding and misunderstood, having been brought up far from any civilization, whereas Vegeta and Goku present a classic odd-couple bromance. The big fight sequence is ridiculously long, but it's full of several transformations, and it levels up enough to please those used to these characters going into Super Saiyan beast mode. Considering it lasts so long, the battle is clearly what fans want to see. Bottom line? If the thought of one long animated battle sounds like fun, this is for you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Is it glorified? Is it necessary to the story? Does animated violence affect viewers differently than live-action violence?
Who do you think the movie's intended audience is? Do you need to be an existing fan of the Dragon Ball universe to enjoy it? Why or why not?
Who, if anyone, is a role model in the movie? What character strengths do they display?
Some fans have compared Broly to Boba Fett. Do you think that's an accurate comparison? Why do you think fans find Broly so appealing?
- In theaters: January 16, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: April 16, 2019
- Cast: Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat, Chris Ayres, Vic Mignogna
- Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
- Studio: Funimation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: prolonged frenetic sequences of action and violence, and for language
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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