Gamera: Trilogy (Guardian of the Universe / Attack of the Legion / Revenge of Iris)
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Join Dr. Nagamine, Inspector Osako and the lovely Asagi Kusanagi as they attempt to unravel the mysterious and deadly monster attacks of both the Gyaos and the Legion. With the help of the military, the survival of the human race depends on them. And the fate of the world depends on a gargantuan, aeronautic and flamably breathed reptile - Gamera, the guardian of the universe! This limited edition box set includes all 3 feature films from the Heisei Gamera trilogy, all beautifully remastered in stunning high definition. Also included is a wealth of Bonus Features!
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995) Color 103 mins Not Rated
That giant fire-breathing turtle you loved as a kid is back with a vengeance in GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE. The all-new science fiction spectacular has been hailed by critic and fans alike as one of the best monster movies ever! Under the guidance of acclaimed director Shusuke Kaneko (Necronomicon) and screenwriter Kazunori Itô (Ghost In the Shell), the lean, green fighting machine has been reborn with a whole new set of tricks under his 200-foot shell. Gamera is ready for the new century with stunning state-of-the-art computer animation and dazzling special effects. The super turtle combats both a misguided military and a hideous race of man-eating flying reptiles. Aiding Gamera in his fight are a courageous naval officer, an intrepid ornithologist and a beautiful young psychic. Don t miss the most incredible slam-bang, knock-down monster slug-fest ever filmed as Gamera turtle-waxes the evil Gyaos through downtown Tokyo in GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE!
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996) Color 114 mins Not Rated
From the same crew who brought us the effect-juiced Gamera: Guardian of the Universe now comes an even more CGI-enhanced adventure for our tortugan hero. A freak meteor shower near Sapporo, Japan brings with it more than just a killer light how. Electrical problems, over-grown plant life and a whole slew of rather irritable critters also drop in to threaten the human race. Local science instructor Midori Honami (Miki Mizuno) is called to assist the brave Colonel Watarase (Toshiyuki Nagashima) in the military s oft-confused attempts to save mankind. They must find a way to successfully combine efforts with their reptilian protector, or both will face ultimate destruction from the Earth s bugged-out invaders. Join the battle as Gamera and his bipedal pals work to repel the Attack of Legion!
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999) 108 minutes / Color / Not Rated
Still reeling after the hard-fought battle to repel Legion, Japan is now reminded of a deadly foe from the past. The Gyaos have returned, and this time the ornery man-eating birds have not only increased their numbers, but also added a menacing new member, Iris, to their destructive little club. Raised by a young girl whose parents Gamera accidentally squished, the flying blood-sucking squid monster Iris takes her learned hatred and goes out on the warpath. Dr. Nagamine and Inspector Osaka are reunited to help Gamera in his relentless quest to protect and save the human race. Can Gamera ground the Gyaos? Can the turtle tie up the terrible tentacles? Do the hapless humans and the rowdy reptile have what it takes to thwart the revenge of Iris?
This Limited Edition Box Set Includes All 3 Feature Films, All Beautifully Re-Mastered in Stunning High Definition!
BONUS MATERIALS: (HIGH-DEFINITION VIDEO AND AUDIO SPECIFICATIONS DO NOT APPLY TO THE BONUS MATERIALS
Gamera 1: Gamera Behind the Scenes, Camera Test and Special Effects
Gamera 2: Uncut version of the The Salvo Scene, Behind the Scenes of the Kasum
After decades of derision as a childish Godzilla-wannabe, Japan's monster turtle Gamera roared back in the 1990s with a trio of well-crafted and exciting features that reclaimed the franchise from its threadbare '60s roots; all three films, directed by soft-core specialist turned sci-fi/horror auteur Shusuke Kaneko (Death Note), are featured in this two-disc set, along with a wealth of extras. Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995), which relaunched the Gamera series, and its sequel, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996), are bundled on the first disc; the former reboots Gamera as an ancient savior of mankind, bioengineered to protect the planet from the pterodactyl-like Gyaos, an old foe from 1967's Gamera vs. Gyaos, while the latter pits him against a race of alien insects with plans for world domination. The trilogy closed with 1999's Revenge of Iris, where the title creature is spurred to defeat Gamera through a psychic link with a young girl whose parents were killed during the turtle's fights with Gyaos. All three films are remarkably sober affairs, on par with the creative scope of Toho's millennial Godzilla features in terms of dramatic storytelling and special effects, though the limitations of the miniature work and monster suits are often highlighted by the Blu-ray detail. The creature-on-creature action is plentiful and, on occasion, violent, and Kaneko's serious and respectful approach does much to relieve fans' concerns about a repeat of the original films' juvenile tone.
Mill Creek previously released Guardian and Legion in a bare-bones double-disc format, as well as a single-disc issue of Iris with several behind-the-scenes extras. The Blu-ray Trilogy set features extras from all three films, though for inexplicable reasons, they have been haphazardly loaded onto the Iris disc as one three-hour standard definition supplement (with chapter breaks). The extras, which include deleted scenes from Iris, location footage from Legion, and camera tests from Guardian, are interesting, but their presentation is cumbersome and, occasionally, incorrectly titled (Behind the Scenes from Guardian is actually the camera test, and so on), which might prove frustrating for viewers. However, the set's relatively low price might help smooth over any ill feelings. --Paul Gaita
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The films have 2 Japanese audio tracks and one English track each as well as English Subtitles for the Japanese language version. The subtitles are not intended for the English language version. If you play it that way the dialog and the Subtitles will not match. The reason I am giving it 2 stars is that the transfer to Blu-Ray has some problems. The film freezes and skips at several points, but the audio continues properly. I have had defective discs in the past and you can see the time counter stop or skip. That is not the problem here. The discs continue playing and the time counter continues properly, as does the audio. The disc is not defective, the transfer to the disc was flawed. It only happens a few times and doesn't affect the film, but it is annoying, and I find it unacceptable.
This version is from Mill Creek Entertainment. This is the first Blu-Ray I've purchase which was from Mill Creek but I have had problems with some Mill Creek DVDs in the past.
I would give this set a Perfect Score, but I have to be honest and take a point away as this is enjoyable by All, but will ONLY be Loved by fans of Godzilla Films.
All 3 Films were made in the 90's so there is a noticeable improvement in quality over early Godzilla Films. This Trilogy is a modern HD Reboot of the 1960's Gamera Franchise.
The Following Review will be made in the effort not to Spoil the Joy of watching the movie.
The 1st film entitled Gamera: Guardian of the Universe Sets up the who, what, where, and why.
Gamera is a giant turtle. In the 1st film his Enemies are the Gyaos - Reptilian looking "birds" that were created by an Ancient Advanced Civilization (Like Atlantis) They were created to be both male and female, so they can reproduce and lay eggs as much as they like. However these "Birds" Developed a nasty habit of eating the members of this Ancient Civilization. Before they went extinct the Scientists Created Gamera. But it was too late for them, so they encapsulated Gamera to sleep until a future Civilization needed Him. The Gyaos ran out of food and Died off, but Some eggs survived over the ages hidden in the hills of remote Islands near Japan. Well In modern day the eggs decide to hatch and the birds start of around 15 meters but grow the more they eat (1 by the end of the movie grows to 100 meters). Around the same time an Island mass floats along the currents near japan. Gamera eventually emerges from within this mass and is 60 meters tall.
Typical humans at first believe Gamera is the Bigger Threat and try to kill him (Even though the Gyaos "birds" have shown that humans are on the menu, while All Gamera has done is fight the Gyaos, not harming humans except the unavoidable destruction of buildings etc that is a staple in Japanese monster movies.) By the end they realize Gamera is helping and let him do his thing.
A great subplot involves a daughter of one of the Scientists who discovered Gamera's "Island Capsule". The Scientist gives his daughter one of the dozens of "raptor claw" looking symbols made out of an unknown metal. She Wears it as a necklace and forms a "LIFE ENERGY" link with Gamera. If he gets a cut on the face for example, so does she etc. She can also communicate telepathically with Gamera. She Appears throughout all 3 films.
Everyone know Godzillas powers etc...so lets go over Gamera's. Unlike Gozilla's energy blasts, gamera can shoot giant fireballs from his mouth...Not just normal fireballs these suckers can blow up entire city blocks. He can also FLY by way of Jet like energy that blasts out of where his legs retract. He also shows the ability to absorb the energy of Nearby Fire and heal/power up.
The 2nd Film, entitled Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion involves Gamera Fighting off hundreds of Alien Insect like Soldiers dubbed the "Legion" They arrive on the scene when NASA informs Japan that a Cloud of meteors will land near and on Japan. The tipoff that these aren't just metoers is the fact that they are found to slow down before impact...Turns out the "Legion" are sent by Extraterrestrials hoping to Colonize the Earth. Gamera Works his mojo and fight all the legion small and Very Large and saves the day. In the Final battle Gamera has to absorb energy from around the earth and launches a devastating fire blast from his Stomach.
The 3rd Film, Entitled Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris take place 4 years after the 1st film and sees the return of the Gyaos from the 1st film. Only this time there's more of them, and they have a new member named IRIS, who was raised by a young girl whose parents were accidently killed by Gamera in the 1st film. The IRIS Creature is not a Gyaos. There is a subplot involving Japanese lore Where a Tortoise(turtle) is the Defender of the North and the Phoenix is the defender of the south and fights the enemies of the south. When the girl who raised it bonded with the phoenix creature (not a red bird rising from the ashes, this has tentacles that in the beginning Suck a human dry until they look like a mummy) it telepathically linked with her and Mimicked her hatred for Gamera, because Gamera had also killed its ancestors.
I hope this Review was Helpful in your buying choice.
The movies come up with a reasonable backstory for Gamera and his mortal enemies, the bird-like Gyaos. The ecological message is strong while not beating you over the head. The actors do a great job with the material they have.
In fact, I like Kaiju movies because they AREN'T hyper-realistic; there's less cringing on my part that way. The movies in this Gamera trilogy walk the fine line between campy effects and eye-popping CGI very well.
The destruction of the city of Sendai in the second film is especially noteworthy. It must be extra-emotional for Japanese viewers because they've actually had cities destroyed by atomic bombs.
The actors are good as well.
The third film in the series, Revenge of Iris, isn't as good as the other two, but it's still great for a kaiju movie. And the first 30 minutes of the third film are excellent. Watching people get burned to cinders as Gamera battles the Gyaos really brings it home that "real" monster attacks would be absolutely terrifying for ordinary citizens. I thought it was a great touch that Japan has an anti-monster council, and one of the main issues they were debating is "why the heck does Japan suffer so many monster attacks?" The only reason I think this movie suffers is because, frankly, the main villain monster isn't quite up to par. I know what they were going for, but it looks too plasticky.
So, let's review. You get three great Japanese monster movies, two of which are excellent, and one is the best kaiju movie I've ever seen. And you get all three for less than $9 in Blu-Ray format! Really, what are you waiting for?
One frustrating note -- I had to put the movies on "play" then use a pop-up menu to get the English captions; there is no way to access the set-up menu (that I can find) before you play the movies. So be aware of that.