Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might is the third film released for the Dragon Ball Z franchise. The film was released in Japan on July 7, 1990, between episodes 54 and 55. FUNimation Entertainment, the U.S. rights holder for Dragon Ball Z, has released the film several times in several different formats.
The film starts with Kurinin, Bulma, Oolong, and Gohan on a camping trip out in the forest. During the night, something crash lands onto the Earth near their camp and starts a forest fire. Kurinin and Gohan use their blasts to put out the fire, and Gohan also rescues a small dragon called Higher Dragon. The friends are joined by Tien and Chiaotzu, and they gather all the Dragon Balls to summon Shen Long. They ask Shen Long to restore the forest to its original state, and he grants the wish.
When Gohan returns home from his camping trip, Higher Dragon follows him home. However, Chi Chi doesn't like dragons and wants the Higher Dragon to return to the forest. Goku and Gohan go behind Chi Chi's back and keep the dragon in a nearby cave. Meanwhile, a Saiyan named Turles and his henchmen plant a seed, and it quickly takes root and spreads itself throughout the planet.
A short while later, Goku's friends all arrive to spend time at his home. Higher Dragon senses something is wrong, and wanders over to the house to find Gohan. Chi Chi is furious to discover that Goku and Gohan went behind her back. Just then, King Kai contacts Goku to inform him about the seed of the Tree of Might being planted on the Earth, and how it will absorb all life from the planet and turn it into a desert. Goku, Yamcha, Kurinin, Tien, and Chiaotzu all go to try to destroy the tree, but they are unsuccessful. Gohan ends up getting a ride to the tree from Higher Dragon, and even Piccolo joins in on the action. Can Goku and his friends destroy the Tree of Might, or is the Earth doomed to become a barren wasteland?
The film itself runs for 60 minutes. The pacing isn't as slow as a regular Dragon Ball Z episode, and it also isn't as slow as the last movie, The World's Strongest. I was also very relieved to see that there was not a musical number from Gohan in this film.
The Tree of Might is not considered to be a "canon" film, due to a couple of continuity errors. First, the film is clearly set after the Saiyan Saga, but every character who had died and had not been reincarnated with the Dragon Balls yet is alive in this film. Also, there is never a real explanation as to who Turles is.
If you're a fan of Dragon Ball Z and want to own every series and film in the franchise, then this film is worth adding to your collection. However, if you’re a more casual Dragon Ball Z viewer, then this film really isn't necessary to watch or own.
In order to write this review, I checked out a copy of the videocassette through the King County Library System.