A Long Time Coming
Thomas H. Ayers | Bowie, MD United States | 03/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having very fond childhood memories of this movie, I have been waiting a long time for this film to arrive on VHS or DVD. Retromedia has kindly provided the film on DVD, and I am most grateful. (Now, I hope that Retromedia will release Gamera vs. Gyaos on DVD!)1) Opinion of film: Several things stand out: a) a monster that reproduces via parasitic larvae--this movie was way ahead of its time--and shoots darts out of its head, which is really neat; b) I liked the fact that Gamera was a friend to children, and the children had exciting and (sort of) plausible adventures to save his life--as a kid, I was fascinated by the children taking a sub into Gamera to find out why it was sick and then saving it from the parasite; and c) I was also greatly amused by Gamera sticking telephone poles in its ears to protect them against loud noise. Although the film looks very different to these adult eyes, I still enjoyed watching it, and my children did, too. The more recent Gamera films from the 1990s are far superior in most every way, but this film was a special treat for me as a child, and I'm glad to own the DVD of it.2) Opinion of DVD: All of the DVD versions that I have seen of the old Gamera films look faded with poor color. Although you can tell the print is old, this one isn't as bad as some. This movie is pan-and-scan; I have never seen a completely widescreen version of this or any other old Gamera film, though the fight scenes suggest that they were filmed that way. (Gamera vs. Barugon is a good example, and I can't help but remember seeing fight scenes of that in widescreen--none of the VHS or DVD versions of that film are widescreen, though, so I can't confirm that.) Nevertheless, this version does mirror what I saw on TV as a child, so I won't complain. Although I would prefer a restored print in widescreen format, if available, with all of the bells and whistles of a modern release, I accept that this is a cult film with a relatively small following; I'll take what I can get. The price is a little high, but, because I've wanted to see this again for so long, I can't be too picky.3) Overall: As old monster movies go, this is neither a classic nor a dud, so I should rate it 3 stars. However, it is one of the better installments of the old Gamera series (Gamera vs. Barugon--aka "War of the Monsters"--being the best and most dramatic, in my opinion, and Gamera vs. Zigra or Gamera vs. Guiron being among the worst), and it has been my sentimental favorite for years (definitely a children's film compared to Gamera vs. Barugon!). Since it is one of the better ones from the old series, I'm giving it 4 stars. Adult fans of the old series will mostly be grateful for this, and, if my children are any indication, kids who like monster movies will probably enjoy it."
Finally Monster X on dvd!
Matt Frank | 02/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, the dvd is not good quality. But it isnt supposed to be. I think this is a cool look at these movies just as they appeared on TV in the 70's and 80's. After all the dvd is released by a company called RETROmedia right? So why would you look for widescreen and all kinds of modern features? If you enjoyed watching these movies back in the day on TV, you will probably like this disc. GAMERA VS MONSTER X is a rare treat, not seen on tv or an officially released video in years. MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET makes a cool bonus. Overall, an enjoyable journey into the past for me, but if all you care about is quality of the prints instead of the movies you should stay away."
Surprisingly fun Gamera flick, but Gappa...
Matt Frank | Tejas | 02/25/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Gamera flicks have rarely been known to be good movies, but Gamera vs. Jiger (or Monster X) isn't half bad...of course, it isn't half good, either, but it's entertaining enough for the kiddies, and has some rather creative elements, but, like all of the Showa Gamera R1 dvd's, the transfer is absolutely horrid, but the dubbing is only somewhat painful. Get it to complete your collection.
As for Gappa, aka "Monster From a Prehistoric Planet," it's a nifty extra treat for kaiju fans...if you enjoy absolutely awful dubbing and rather sub-par SPFX. The Gappa monsters themmselves are basically combinations of Godzilla and Rodan, but they're still pretty creative (especially their roars).
Overall, a decent disc, considering that it's the best that we're going to get here in the US."
Matt Frank | 11/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'll do each in different catagories.
GAMERA VS. MONSTER X
When a group of ignorent explorers accidentally unleash a demon powerful enough to destroy all life, Gamera must confront the beast and stop the end of the world. Jiger(aka Monster X) is a cool foe of Gamera's and can be safely said as one of Gamera's much tougher opponents. The dubbing is aweful, the acting is mediocre, and there are a few obvious fight mess ups unedited(when Gamera's head starts to lean offly far to the right in the second battle), but the movie has a solid outline and is very creative compared to some of the movies in the saga. Definately one of the better Showa Gamera films. OVERALL: A
MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET
The Japanese remake of "Goro", the film is about exxplorers who uncover a baby dinosaur and bring it back to Tokyo. The baby monster's parents wake up, realizing the baby is gone, and head for Japan in rage. This film is very droll and long. The two parent monsters are ok, but the baby Gappa is hidious and pathetic. Another Minya, if you will. The destruction parts are cool, though. OVERALL: D+
This DVD is fairly poor in quality. There are sadly no extras and the video is mediocre. Not much of a DVD. The audio is pretty good, unlike the video. OVERALL: C-
This is not the best DVD out there. If you are going to buy this, get it only for the Gamera film. OVERALL: C"