BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Gamera - The Heisei Era: Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, Gamera the Brave (1995 - 2006) - Blu-ray Review

Gamera - The Heisei Era - Blu-ray

Recharged! Rebooted! And reunited with the children of the world! Gamera, after a fifteen year hiatus returns thanks to the films which make up Gamera: The Heisei Era.  All FOUR films in this set from Arrow Video make for a hell of a good time with solid special effects and a grittier vibe through each of these solid adventures.

"All FOUR films in this set from Arrow Video make for a hell of a good time with solid special effects and a grittier vibe through each of these solid adventures"


Directed by Shusuke Kaneko and written by Kazunori Ito, the Heisei trilogy, making up Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, are still regarded as the very best kaiju films made and, with the inclusion of Gamera the Brave, a more family-friendly affair, Arrow Video’s treatment of Gamera comes full circle.Gamera - The Heisei Era - Blu-ray

When Gyaos makes the top of Tokyo Tower his home, it is up to Gamera to shoo him away.  But, once again, the mere presence of the gigantic flying turtle causes the military to mistake Gamera’s motives and an all out war is declared as two monsters go at it in the air and over the land.  This is the territory of Gamera: The Guardian of the Universe, a 1995 major motion picture event which arrived right in time to celebrate Gamera’s 30th anniversary.

With special effects from Shinji Higuchi, who would later direct Shin Godzilla, this guardian deity takes on his old prehistoric foe - first in Fukuoka, and then over the skies of Tokyo for some awe-inspiring aerial combat sequence.  All while two young women try to convince the world that Gamera is their only hope for survival. Fun and fierce, this smash success welcomed Gamera back with open arms and was quickly followed by two more stellar films in the series.Gamera - The Heisei Era - Blu-ray

In Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, Earth’s ecosystem comes under the attack of an insect lifeform from outer space that wants to colonize the planet for its own breeding grounds.  This time, though, Gamera doesn’t face down the monster alone and gets some help from Japan’s Self Defense Forces.  And in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, Gamera gets pissed when he has to take on a new creature, as well as Gyaos monsters.  This Gamera is weary, wise and hellbent on destroying much of what he previously cared about, it is not necessarily the tonal shift that it sound like, though, and creates a stunning conclusion that still leaves chills to its fanbase.

As a bonus, Gamera the Brave, directed by Ryuta Tasaki, is included.  This reboot sees Gamera - a new version from the previous incarnation - going on a family-friendly adventure as he matches wits and muscle with a rampaging monster named Zedus.  Full of great effects and the childlike wonder of the original series, Gamera the Brave might be for completists only, but it makes for a worthy entry in the Gamera series.

Arrow Video’s 4K handling of Gamera: The Heisei Era is not to be missed!

5/5 beers

 

Gamera - The Heisei Era - Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Arrow Films
Available on Blu-ray
- January 26, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1, 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:

Discs: Blu-ray Disc; four-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

After laying dormant for fifteen years, Gamera was rebooted for the big screen in a smash hit trilogy masterminded by director Shusuke Kaneko, writer Kazunori Ito and SFX director Shinji Higuchi.  Trading the campy kid-friendly surrealism of the earlier films for a darker, more realistic tone and jaw-dropping innovative special effects, the Heisei trilogy are still regarded today as three of the best if not the very best kaiju films ever made.  This unmissable trio is complimented by a bonus disc featuring Gamera the Brave, a heartwarming mix of family-friendly adventure and cutting-edge kaiju action that is the most recent Gamera film to date.

Video:

With High Definition (1080p) transfers of all four films on Blu-ray, including 4K restorations of the Heisei Trilogy by Kadokawa Pictures, the prints are immaculate and loaded with eye-popping visuals that are bound to give your screen a high impact workout.  Details are sharp.  Colors are never muted and the special effects are speckled with nice details throughout, leaving Mill Creek Entertainment’s handling of these films in the dust.

Audio:

Attached with each film is the original japanese and dubbed English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio.  There are also optional English subtitles for all films.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features for details.

Special Features:

Once again, Arrow Video loads each disc with amazing supplemental material.  Each disc also includes reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank.

DISC ONE – GAMERA THE GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE

  • Commentary by Matt Frank
  • Newly filmed introduction by August Ragone
  • A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 1, the first in an epic three-part documentary interviewing cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy
  • Interviews with director Shusuke Kaneko and SFX director Shinji Higuchi, filmed by Jörg Buttgereit in 2002
  • Extended interview with Shinji Higuchi, focusing on the trilogy’s special effects
  • Behind the scenes featurettes tracing the film’s production from announcement to release
  • Alternate English credits
  • Trailer and image galleries

DISC TWO – GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF LEGION

  • Commentary by Kyle Yount
  • Newly filmed introduction by August Ragone
  • A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 2, the next part of the documentary interviewing cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy
  • On-set footage from the shooting of the film’s main unit and special effects filming
  • Behind the scenes featurettes tracing the film’s production from announcement to release
  • Alternate English credits
  • “Lake Texarkana” comedic dub track
  • Trailer and image galleries

DISC THREE – GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS

  • Commentary by Steve Ryfle & Ed Godziszewski
  • Newly filmed introduction by August Ragone
  • A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 3, the final part of the documentary interviewing cast and crew of the Heisei Trilogy
  • Behind the scenes featurettes tracing the film’s production from announcement to release
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Awakening of Irys (Remix), a montage of behind-the-scenes footage and work-in-progress special effects footage
  • Alternate English credits
  • Trailer and image galleries

DISC FOUR – GAMERA THE BRAVE

  • Commentary by Keith Aiken & Bob Johnson
  • How to Make a Gamera Movie, a featurette hosted by director Ryuta Tasaki
  • Behind The Scenes of Gamera the Brave, an all-access on-set documentary
  • The Men That Made Gamera, a documentary looking back at the series from start to finish, featuring interviews with cast and crew
  • Opening Day Premiere, a featurette showing the cast and crew presenting the film at its first showing
  • Kaho’s Summer, an interview with the film’s young star
  • Special Effects Supercut, a montage of effects shots overseen by FX supervisor Hajime Matsumoto
  • Trailer and image galleries

 

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4.5/5 stars

 

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Gamera - The Heisei Era - Blu-ray

 

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