Japan's classic monster movie is back again! Not only does he carry a two-hundred foot house on his back, but he also has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Gamera - a giant, flying, fire-breathing turle, friend t... more »o children everywhere, and protector of Earth - is now available in a collectible hard shell.« less
"It was only recently, to be honest, that I first learned who Gamera even was. Godzilla? Sure, I grew up on the guy... I've got the lunchbox, have taped the Godzilla's Rockin' New Year's Eve special many times and even saw the Andrew Lloyd Weber adaptation on Broadway during its woefully short run in 1994.
But now there's a NEW guardian of the universe? Why didn't anyone tell me?? Finally, someone did. Specifically, it was a co-worker from the main office of the Tokyo-based manufacturing company (it shall remain nameless) for which I have worked for the last 8 years. He was relocated to New York and has become a rather good friend.
Hunushi is a fantastic resource for all things Japanese. One of those is monster movies ("kaiju" as the genre is called in Japan), and I am also a big fan. Knowing this, Hunushi recommended to me the first Gamera film when it was released in English in 1997. Since then, I have been hooked and wanting more.
Why do I like this Gamera series so much? The special effects are AWESOME, and the dubbing is simply masterful. Forget everything that you thought you knew about dubbed dialogue, as that knowledge is now useless and outdated. The story lines are engaging, the characters are well developed. These are great movies, period.
When I heard that a box set of all three movies (Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris) was available, I jumped on it.
I thought I knew why I was buying this box set, but I had no idea at the time that its most entertaining feature was an as-yet-unknown-to-me DVD extra. Within the extras of the second film, Gamera 2, the English-language director has created an entirely new and hilarious version of that film dubbed almost entirely with "red neck" character voices.
This is an absolute stitch, but in no way did it offend my delicate "kaiju" sensibilities. Gamera remains completely untouched in this tongue-in-cheek version of the film. Only the human contingent, scurrying below, is made to look anything less than admirable. The bottom line is this: I have never laughed harder in my life (by the way, there is also a fantastic DVD extra on the 3rd disc but I'll let you discover that one on your own).
I hope you enjoy these films as much as I have. Thankfully, it looks like Japan's best kept "kaiju" secret has just been let out of the box!"
I like the NEW Big Guy!
Robert E. Rodden II | Peoria, IL. United States | 12/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm amazed by the story lines and special effects in these newer come-back movies of Gamera. The box set was purchased with Christmas money, and I'm glad I did so. Gamera began as low-budget giant monster movies in competition with Godzilla in about 1965. Some of the early films are pretty cheezy, though fun to watch. Kids especially seem to relate to the big turtle. My daughter likes him as much as Godzilla.
The new Gamera pictures carry on the idea that Gamera is here to protect earth, but the story lines are very mature compared to the original films, and the special effects are, at times, amazing. Every bit on a parr with the newer, new millenium Godzilla films of the past five years. The first film in the pack, "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe", was release in 1995, and the others followed about every two years. The origin of Gamera is reinvented here, and explained in a way that is a nice marriage of fantasy and science-fiction. In the first film, Gamara's heroic mythology is backed up by an ancient tablet that predicts a giant creature will rise to combat an horrific darkness. All evidence points to some sort of flesh eating creatures that nearly ate man to extinction in the time when Atlantis was still above water.
The second film, "Attack of Legion", is even better, with an even creepier creature and It's swarming spawn called "Legion" (from the Bible, no less) threatening earth's extiction yet again. The special effects are better in this film, and that's saying a lot, since the first movie was very well done.
I haven't watched the third movie, "Revenge of Iris" yet, but even if it turns out to be disappointing compared to the first two, it was still money worth spending.
All three pictures are presented in anamorphic widescreen, with language options of the original Japanese with English subtitles, or in dubbed English. The soundtracks are in Dolby digital 5.1. I really enjoyed watching the second film in the original Japanese, thus getting to hear the true emotions of the actors. There are a lot of nice extras included on the disks, so take some time to explore."
Gamera gets an upgrade
William D. Bolden | Huntsville, AL United States | 12/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Oldschool Gamera is definitely classic kaiju, it just tends to have some of the worst aspects of kaiju built into its roots: annoying little kids, illogical stories, bad set designs, and plots that seem just a skeleton to justify monster fights. Good kaiju, on the other hand, tends to have characters that the viewer can indentify with, a sense of being overwhelmed by the size of the battles, a desperation for survival, allegory to real world problems, and monsters that, though they may be large and scary, are somehow sympathetic at the same time.
That is what I like about this new trilogy. It takes one of the more ludicrous monsters, a large turtle that walks on its hind legs, eats fire and uses atomic jets to propel itself, and gives it as a good of a treatment as I have ever seen a kaiju receive.
The first one has an excellent story, and a great old school "King Kong" kind of feel to it. The second one, which seems to either be the favorite or the most hated depending on who you ask, takes the story a step up (in my opinion) and adds a level of desperation that somehow was lacking in the first one. The fight scenes and effects are improved, though the sense of adventure and human interaction is weakened and the almost add-on moral from the very end seems out of place. The last one is probably the best, and I feel it is such because the story line brings the monster-to-hero so epitomized in the original Gamera idea full circle.
The effects are excellent by kaiju standards (which are still lacking by what some people would want, but I loved them) and the storylines are still a little illogical. The new explanation for the origins is kind of better as far as making sense of the oddity that is Gamera, but not 100% satisfactory. The dubbing and the subbing are both excellent, and I love the fact that I can get wide-screened, well transferred dvds as opposed to the low quality ones with bad dubbing that are normally part of the genre. The features are not the best in the world, but were a nice addition (since I got the movies for the movies, the extras are just some additional icing)."
Gamera's back and Kickin' Butt!
Seamus Mhoire | Koloa, HI USA | 09/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It had been a really long time since I had seen a Gamera movie. Couldn't even tell you what the title of the last one I saw was.
This collection is awesome. Much better than the older versions. Of course technology has advanced, but I thought the story lines were pretty good and the newer Gamera is much more "viscous" looking.
All-in-all a great buy. What a way for me to introduce Gamera to my children! Loved it, would recommend it to anyone.
Go turtle power!"
WOW the DVDs are great but Gamera 3 is best
Mabuse | Huerth, Germany | 08/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, just finished watching Gamera 3 and this is the best Kaiju or monster movie, I've seen up to now. Good story, very good fights, intelligent - if you can call such a movie intelligent and absolutely entertaining. DVD quality is good to very good and it is fun to watch the movies. I recommend to start at Guardian of the Universe, The Legion and last Gamera 3 and you got the highlight. This is a trilogy of movies and I put them just the way they were issued. Gamera 3 is one of the best if not the best Kaiju movie I've seen and it beats the latest 'G' movies which are also very good but G3 is the best one I watched. Original Japanese sound track with subtitles included, translation OK. Also interesting in G3 to watch the typical bullying in Japanese schools, pretty honest, pretty real.
Good stuff, my 100% recommendation, if you are into monster movies and like the Japanese style.
Not 5 stars, because of the relatively weak 'Legion' movie. 1 and 3 are great, 2 is weak.