Movie #3 Japanese Release: "Chikyuu Marugoto Chokessen"
(Ultimate Deciding Battle for Earth)
English Release: "The Tree of Might" 3-98

Bulma, Oolong, and Kuririn take Gohan camping in the forest, and while there, a space probe crashes into the Earth and a fire erupts. Gohan and Kuririn put it out, but not before the forest is destroyed. They gather all seven Dragonballs and summon Sheng Long, who restores the forest to its former beauty. Gohan befriends a baby dragon, and life goes peacefully until a band of warriors led by a Saiya-jin named Tales arrive on Earth. Their probe has reported that it is the perfect planet to grow the Shinseiji, a tree that leeches all the energy from a planet and stores it in its fruit, which, when eaten, makes one incredibly powerful. It also leaves the host planet barren for hundreds of years, unable to support even a single flower.

Goku learns of the Shinseiji from Kaiou, and the fight begins as Goku, Tenshinhan, Chaozu, Piccolo, Yamucha, and Kuririn set out to destroy the tree before it saps all energy out of the Earth. Tales' minions are all eventually defeated, and Goku then takes on Tales alone, who has been superpowered by the fruit of the tree. After a long, draining battle, Goku finally defeats him with a Genkidama containing the last of the planet's energy. Tales and the tree are destroyed, and the planet returns to its healthy state.

Probably my favorite of the first three movies, although I wish it had been written to include more on Tales and his origins and motivations, rather than "filling time" with totally unnecessary and drawn-out scenes like the forest burning down, the Higher Dragon subplot, etc. They are just distractions to the main story and seem a little forced. Not that I didn't like these scenes, it's just that they're not important, and I would have liked to know more about Tales. Hey, the DBZ movies aren't long enough as it is, they could have had it all!

The Subtitled Version

Pioneer's second subtitled movie release (why is it the second if this is the third movie?? Oh well) is just as good as the first, except of course for the frustrating mono sound, as opposed to the rich stereo of the dub. Also, this movie did not come in a clamshell case like the first, which is unfortunate because I think the fans who shell out an extra five bucks deserve better than cardboard. The translation is good, and I actually like the English title much better than the rather ambiguous Japanese one. But one problem I have always had with the translating of this movie, and FUNimation makes this mistake too, is the misinterpretation of Tales' name, which is almost universal among fans as well. His name is not Tares, it is not Taurus, and it certainly isn't Turles. Don't forget that all Saiya-jin have names that refer to vegetables - in this case the name is a jumbled up reading of the English word lettuce (a la Videl - devil). It doesn't surprise me that FUNimation didn't figure this out, they are totally clueless as far as so many aspects of DB are concerned, the pun names especially, but I do find it strange that the fans don't seem to have realized it either. Oh well, on to the dubbed version.

The Dubbed Version - On Video and on TV

I saw the dubbed TV version (like everyone else) before the video, and I had expected that they would be virtually the same, except for maybe a few redubbed lines here and there, and the use of the original background music. I was surprised yet again.

They are actually quite a bit different from each other. For one thing, they have a completely different script, not a single line of dialogue is the same, in fact. It is a redub from the ground up. The voice acting and scripting on the TV version, while not as faithful to the original translation as the video, also seemed much better somehow.

Part of the reason for this was that there were a few voice changes for the video release, the most notable being Peter Kelamis' replacement of Ian Corlett as Goku. The TV version of this movie was actually Ian's final performance as Goku and Kame Sennin (snif), and one of the great things about having two completely different dubbed versions of the same movie is that it is possible to compare Ian Corlett and Peter Kelamis' performances side by side. In doing so, I noticed that Ian and Peter actually sound a lot alike, but I finally realized the problem with Peter's voice: he has a very thick Canadian accent, which sounds to my ears like the "surfer dude" type. Goku should NOT sound like this. If Peter could just speak with Ian's accent, I would have absolutely no problem with him.

There was also a new VA for Oolong for the video, whose original voice has either left DBZ permanently, or was unavailable for the redub. The actor that replaced him does an almost dead-on impersonation I must admit, but it sounds like he's trying a little too hard, the voice grates on my nerves even more than the original. The other voice change was Kame Sennin, voiced by Ian Corlett in the TV version, and who is now played by David Ward, who does Kaiou, Garlic Jr., Bahta, etc. That means this is the second actor (third if you count the original Dragon Ball dub) who has portrayed Kame Sennin. I think they all sound like overacting morons, personally, but apparently FUNimation can't seem to go to the trouble to hire an actual old man to do the voice. Nothing else to say about the dubbing except that in the Japanese version, both Goku and Tales have the same voice, which means that they probably should in the dub as well. Not much of a gripe about this though, since I really like Tales' English voice. He also does Nail, I believe.

I just wonder why they bothered making two completely separate dubs, when all they really needed to do was change a line or two. Then they wouldn't have to worry about all the voice changes, etc. Oh well. The up side is that they added plenty of lines containing "die," "kill," "hell," etc.

Aside from that, the video was of pretty much the same quality as movie #1, although we were spared those god-awful sound effects for the most part, I only counted two. Also, curiously enough, there were no subtitles for the opening and ending themes, even though they were present in the dubbed version of the first movie.

As for the dub shown on TV, the airing of this movie actually caused quite a bit of confusion among viewers, since FUNimation did absolutely nothing to signify that it was a special of any kind. No all-new opening, no differences in the opening used, not even the word "special" over the title. Any of those would have worked nicely, and at least one of them should have been used, since DBZ is a serialized show, and when you break off from the main chronology, you have to let people know what's going on. Besides, if it's a special, then it deserves to be a little different somehow. Make it an hour long, play a new theme song, I don't know, anything. Anyway, everybody thought FUNimation screwed up and was playing TV episodes from later in the series, and I hope they got a mountain of angry e-mail from confused viewers for it. (sigh) Just goes to show that these people don't know what the hell they're doing half the time.

The TV version also had another added treat: Censoring and completely unnecessary mistranslations. Yay! Here's a list of all of them:

One final point of interest is that the three episodes that make up this movie may contain the one and only instance of FUNimation actually adding footage rather than deleting it. This is a sixty minute plus feature, and had to be bloated just a bit to fit into three half-hour blocks. So there are a few added (recycled) shots of Kaiou, and the scene with Sheng Long is slightly extended as well. But the added footage only amounts to about two minutes at the most.

The Cartoon Network Airing

The first movie CN showed, and I was really wondering if they would air the Saban syndicated, butchered version, or the video release. Sadly, they showed the TV edit. I was disappointed, but it made sense, they obviously went that route because the broadcast version was already pre-edited for swearing, blood, etc. and just made their job easier. Also, the fact that it was just a touch longer than the video version (because of the added "stock" footage) probably had something to do with it as well.

I loved the promo of course, mainly because of the Don LaFontaine factor that I already mentioned in my reviews of the CN airings of movies 1 and 2, but that was about the only exciting thing. So, anyway, since I've already gone over the edits, there's not much more to say.