Well this movie just shows to me that after the apex of anything comes the inevitable fall…
Yet another new threat emerges to threaten Goku’s peaceful life, this time in the form of an ancient menace from outer space! Can Goku beat this new evil?????
I suppose this is as good a time as any to bring up the continuity of the movies, and how none of them fit into the continuity of the show. All of them seem to cherry pick elements of the series to make independent stories. This movie in particular would appear to be a direct sequel to Tree of Might as Piccolo is shown at the water fall he flew to at the end of the previous movie, and Gohan is still hanging around with his dragon buddy Icarus.
For the most part the movies II-IV take place in between the Saiyan saga, after the Namek saga, and before the introduction of Frieza. Which makes sorting out even the alternate continuity of the movies a bit of a nightmare, as there are direct sequels between certain films but most of the movies don’t and can’t link up with one another.
As i said earlier after a series reaches its peak there’s always going to be the slow descent (not that there may not be other peaks on the way down though), but here with Lord Slug the descent isn’t slow; it’s a sudden massive drop in quality compared to the previous outing. The story, the fighting, and the atmosphere are inferior here when compared to Tree of Might.
Lord Slug is ten minutes shorter than Tree of Might which means that the story starts a lot quicker (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however in this case it robs the events of a great deal of dramatic impact), and has very little room to breath and develop naturally. While the movie doesn’t have Goku being introduced soaking in a hot barrel, the idea bin seems to be running a bit dry as once again a threat comes from outer space, and once again the Dragon Balls are used early on to grant eternal youth/life to the big bad. After three movies this set up is beginning to grow quite stale.
A stale story wouldn’t be a problem if the fights were as spectacular as they are in The World’s Strongest and Tree of Might but they aren’t, not remotely. Instead of the well choreographed and well animated bouts of the previous movies, Lord Slug instead opts for the show’s slower paced fights. With an emphasis on special abilities and giant earth shattering hits, and frankly they’re as extremely boring to watch here as they are there. As It’s not fun to watch Goku one hit his opponents, only to be completely beaten up within 45 seconds of fighting Lord Slug himself (i timed it yes).
The big event of him turning into a Super Saiyan is also a total let down, as he’s only transformed for less than two minutes and it amounts to absolutely nothing. As he resorts to using the Kaioken and spirit bomb to beat Lord Slug just like he’s done three times before at this point.
It really seems that Lord Slug was pumped out in a hurry, as the art and animation quality is extremely lacking when compared to Tree of Might. The poor art and sound design also helps degrade the hopeless atmosphere that the movie wants to achieve, and that the previous film did so brilliantly. Speaking of the sound, the Funimation dub eschews any original music and instead opts to use early 2000’s nu metal tunes. It’s not a total turn off for me, as it reminds me of my teenage years (in a good way) and adds a bit of life into the fights that the original Japanese score doesn’t. However i can totally understand if it irritates other viewers.
Lastly, the perfect way to ruin mood and tension is to have King Kai show up and spout off pointless, unnecessary, expositional dialog over the action scenes like he does in the series. Which unsurprisingly is exactly what he does here.
I doubt Lord Slug tops very many people’s lists of best Dragon Ball movies, and there’s a bunch of good reasons why that’s the case. The story is stale, the fights are boring, and the atmosphere is completely lacking when compared to its direct predecessor.
If your curious you can give it a go, as it isn’t a bad movie it’s just a mediocre experience over all.
OUT OF FIVE