Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug is the fourth film released for Dragon Ball Z. The film was directed by Mitsuo Hashimoto, and was released to Japanese theaters on March 19, 1991. FUNimation has released the film on home video in North America several times; as of this writing, the most recent DVD release of the film is as part of the Dragon Ball Z Collection One movie box set.
The film opens with a planet headed on a collision course with Earth. Goku and Kuririn make an attempt to blow the planet off its course; in the process, the pair fall to the ground, and the planet lands on Earth. It turns out the planet is actually a spaceship that is carrying Lord Slug and his henchmen, and Lord Slug wants to take over the Earth.
Bulma, Gohan, and Chi Chi witness the landing, and Gohan starts to take on Lord Slug's henchmen. Lord Slug discovers the Dragon Ball on Gohan's hat, and through Bulma, he learns about the other Dragon Balls and her Dragon Radar. Lord Slug takes Bulma's Dragon Radar, and he sends his henchmen to find the other balls. After obtaining all seven Dragon Balls, Lord Slug summons Shen Long and wishes for eternal youth. The rest of the film follows how the Z Fighters try to defeat Lord Slug and his henchmen.
After watching this film, I think it must belong in an "alternate timeline" for the Dragon Ball Z anime series, since it was originally shown in the middle of the Freiza Saga. About the only way this film could fit into the anime series continuity is if it takes place in between the Frieza Saga and and the Garlic, Jr. Saga.
Lord Slug is a well-paced film for the story that it's telling. However, I have to admit that the "big surprise" that comes out during the film really isn't that big of a surprise; the hints that are dropped before the revelation are just too obvious. However, it's not bad for a story that takes place in the Dragon Ball Z universe. Animation-wise, it's about the same quality as the animation utilized in the anime series.
I saw this film on the DVD that is included as part of the Dragon Ball Z Collection One movie box set. It's claimed on the box that the film was digitally remastered. The video quality was decent; however, the Japanese audio I listened to while I watched this disc didn't sound remastered. Since the Japanese audio is in mono, this would probably explain why the audio quality didn't sound as good as it could have been.
I would recommend acquiring this film to add your DVD collection if you're a die-hard Dragon Ball Z fan.
I wrote this review after receiving a copy of the Dragon Ball Z Collection One movie box set as a gift.