Customer Reviews: Gamera The Brave [Blu-ray]
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on December 27, 2008
I saw GAMERA THE BRAVE with an open mind. From the get-go it appeared I was in for a kiddie film along the lines of Toho's uneven REBIRTH OF MOTHRA series-somewhat forgettable. However, seeing it... Gamera The Brave exheeded expectations. The thing it had against it was how can another Gamera film top Shusuke Kaneko's terrific 90's trilogy of films? Well, it doesn't top it and doesn't need to-you don't have to make comparisons-it's apples and oranges. GAMERA THE BRAVE is it's own little film, that happens yet again, in another timeline, another "Gamera Universe" as it were. The film opens with a terrific "retro" battle, in 1973, with Gamera and several Gyaos flying monsters-witnessed by among others, a young boy(All of the cast here are dressed appropriately in 1970's clothes and have 70's haircuts-a nice detail). Gamera, shown full grown in 1973, is re-imagined and much more of a gnarled-looking giant tortoise. This takes place all during the credits with some fantastic and unique music in the background soundtrack. A massive explosion and Gamera is gone-with the Gyaos. Flash forward to 2006 when a young boy-the son of the young boy we first see in 1973 but all grown up- finds a small egg on what's left of the island Gamera made his last stand on. The egg hatches into a small turtle which keeps on getting bigger. Meanwhile, the Japanese government announces it is disbanding the division of the military who dealt with giant monsters, since none have been seen since 1973. Elsewhere, ships begin disappearing the small Gamera-named "Toto"- grows ever more...and senses something is not right.

The film has terrific visual effects. Flawless, I'd even say wih regards to matting and working in digital CG work with old-school rubber suits and miniatures. There is also some great character development and, at the end of the film, it adds up to a coherent, memorable and "quiet" giant monster film that leaves you with a good feeling. It entertains adults as much as kids-a rarity. There's also some genuinely funny scenes including an in-joke to the 1960's films.

GAMERA THE BRAVE came out quietly in Japan, never took off at the box office and, failed leading many filmmakers to conclude once and for all, that the Kaiju Eiga genre is dead to audiences there.

It's a terrific film and worthy of any Kaiju-fan's collection of films.
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on December 20, 2008
If you are a fan of the recent Japanese run of Gamera movies, this rendition is a can't miss! They covered all the bases; there was character development, there were cute and cuddly baby turtles, there were giant monster fights with the correspondingly gratuitous eye-candy/collateral damage.
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on October 30, 2009
If you heard of the previous, and fantastic, Gamera Trilogy (Guardian of the Universe, Attack of Legion, and Revenge of Iris) from the 90s... it would appear that this movie actually re-boots the mythology *again* to make a new series. I would disagree with that, however. While it is definitely a different narrative world then the "Heisei" era movies... this one could actually be seen as a direct sequel to the original Showa-era films that ended in the 70s. (In fact, the opening scene takes place in the 70s before flashing forward to modern day)

While Gamera himself (herself?) looks more "cute" then his previous bad-ass incarnations, it works in context because he's essentially a kid. And along with the story, it ties very nicely into the old idea of Gamera being "The Guardian of Children", re-interpreted for a new era, and getting that title more organically then in the original series (which never really explained that part... he just was). And you still get the sense that he will eventually become the bad-ass-looking awesomeness that we fans know he is.

The story might seem a little heavy-handed at times... especially with dealing with all the child actors. You might get the sense that the filmmakers are trying to deliberately and blatantly pull at your heart-strings... such as tearful monologues, and a "relay race" scene that might seem a little much to some. But not to me. Frankly, I think it works... very well, I might add. I really enjoyed this movie, and am pleased to put it alongside my other Gamera DVDs. I hope they continue this series with the same quality story and effects, as I'd love to see this Gamera grow and evolve further.
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on January 28, 2013
*note this review is about the DVD itself not the film* The film itself is not one of my favorite Gamera films, but it is passable, and my kids enjoy it. However the BRD itself suffers from audio problems. At some points you can actually hear background audio from other portions of the film in the wrong place. I have attempted to contact MB/TS multiple times requesting a simple replacement with no response. Other fans have noted this defect making me think it may be on a good portion of the manufactured BRD's if not all. It's so sad that a company that brought us so many fine films in the past 10 years has fallen so far. (feel free to Google MB's issues with Toho and Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs Megalon, and tax issues in 2012) Just stick with the DVD if you already have it, no reason to upgrade to BRD since it is defective unless MB publicizes a campaign to replace the defective BRD's
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on February 26, 2014
This movie was an attempt to return Gamera to his old school roots as the Friend of Children, but IMHO it fails because it changes too much for no reason. It tries to be serious and all emotional without embracing the wacky concept of a flying turtle and giant monsters existing in the world. The entire idea is goofy and as much as I love the character, the tonal balance is all wrong. Dumb idea to change Gamera's roar from his iconic sound to a generic dino soundbite we've heard elsewhere a zillion times. Why? Also could not get past the Disney-esque eyes on this suit and the baby tusks. At least they could have used the Guardian of The Universe suit design as a starting point and worked from there. This Gamera looks like a live-action version of one of the cutesy-cute baby dinosaurs from The Land Before Time. On the good side, the bad guy monster Zedus looks pretty spiffy and the monster battles are decent.

I have the Heisei trilogy from the late 90's and all of the Showa series film (except recycled footage-heavy Gamera the Supermonster). The older Gamera films are so awesome because they're so wacked-out & surreal. They embrace the absurdity of the concept and run with it and are fun as all get out because of it. The 90's trilogy from director Shusuke Kaneko redefined the genre as a whole and gave the world a Gamera that was not only fun but also cool as hell and, by the third film, was an genuine badass. GAMERA THE BRAVE plops something as absurd as a giant flying turtle & a sea dragon into a real world setting but, unlike the Kaneko series, this attempt just doesn't work. Maybe if they had chosen a better suit design and left his roar alone I could have gotten into it a lot more. As it stands, it's just OK. I'd rather pop in Gamera VS Jiger any day over this film. Sorry, Charlie.
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on March 2, 2011
Growing up a sickly kid I spent alot of time in bed watching movies,my faves were the big monsters and of those Gamera was my absolute faverate this movie is different in that it start you off at the beginning egg and all, but you should shelf your ideas of what Gamera was in all those movies and accept this on it's own merrits.
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on January 14, 2013
I usually am not a big fan of monster movies, but this one is an exception. "Gamera the brave" offers a better, more complex story than most monster movies, the camera-work is also excellent and the cinemascope-format is well used. For me the star of this movie however is not Gamera, but Ryô Tomioka who plays the boy Toru. He does a wonderful job and it's sad he never made another movie after this one. I love this movie.

From the technical aspects the Blu-ray is not an upgrade in every way: while the picture quality is excellent and is a pleasure even on big screens, the technicians were more than sloppy with the sound. At least my Blu-Ray - marked as featuring Stereo-sound as well as DTS-HD-MA 5.1 in Japanese and English - offers only Stereo, even on the 5.1 track. My playerr recognises the 5.1-Mix, but the surround channels carry no sound. This is very regrettable since the previously released DVD offers a true 5.1-mix.
I am quite sure the Blu-Ray was supposed to offer this as well, but somebody goofed.
Regretably Tokyo Shock does not offer a contact on their website. I strongly hope that there will be a corrected version of the Blu-Ray available soon.
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on April 24, 2009
Firstly, I know a lot of people talk really highly of the 90s Gamera movies, but I have only seen the first one. I have seen most of the Showa entries.

Now, with all that said, this was a very solid Gamera movie. While I'm partial to Godzilla, I really enjoyed this. The child's story is a nice throwback to the older Showa movies were children were at the center of the story. The effects were brilliant and Zedus was an impressive adversary. The climax was great. The children relaying the stone was powerful, though, admittedly, I predicted it. The shot early on where the knife nearly falls on Toto reminded me a little of Guiron, and I think that might have been another shout-out. The movie opened with the aged Gamera fighting Gyaos, which is appropriate, since, next to Gamera, the Gyoas have been in the most films and are the second most popular kaiju of the series. Personally, I would have liked to see Vilas or Zigra make another appearance.

So, the movie's got a lot of retro-charm and some crazy-good special effects, but there's a down side.

Firstly, who the crap is Zedus? The movie doesn't do very much explaining there. The red stone also goes the whole movie without a proper explanation. "Toto came with this red stone," to which I might add, ""

But the child is very believable. The hospitalized little girl reminds me a little of the girl in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe.

So, the downs aren't major. Perhaps I'm just missing something. Wouldn't be the first time. It's a great movie. I proudly own it.
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on February 17, 2012
What a cute movie. Normally I let my husband and kids do the Godzilla stuff, but this time I had to sit and watch this. Very cute story about a childs love. Awesome movie for everyone in the whole family.
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on May 31, 2010
Great movie I have watched it 5 million times now although if I NEVER hear the name Toto again it will be too soon. If only the new Godzilla movies had these effects!! More like these please!!

Honestly I like the first 45 minutes better than the monster fights in the last half

Update: Ok I have now watched this every weekend since I got it. It has now exceeded Terminator, A Christmas Story , Funny Farm and Iron Man 2 for the most viewed films I have. A true classic!

Also the soundtrack to this is AWE SUM-None better music to a Japanese monster flick since Mothra

PLEASE put this director on the next Godzilla film...I beg of you
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