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Gamera Complete DVD Collection
Limited Edition Box Set
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Box Front
Includes: Gamera:  Guardian of the Universe (Version 2), Gamera 2:  Attack of Legion (Limited Edition), and Gamera 3:  Revenge of Iris
DVD Box Set Released By: ADV Films
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Packaging: 3 discs in keepcases, in a box
MSRP: $39.98
UPC #: 702727049125
Catalog #: DGM/100
Status: Out of print


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Review: This limited edition box set includes the complete Heisei Gamera trilogy.  Each film is on its own disc and packaged in a keepcase.  Following are brief synopses of the included films.  For your convenience, the “Final Analysis” of each disc is also included.

Gamera:  Guardian of the Universe (Version 2): An atoll in the South Pacific turns out to be the hibernating guardian of Atlantis, Gamera.  Awakened by the reappearance of his ancient enemies, Gyaos, Gamera heads to Japan for a series of great battles with the flesh-eating flying reptiles.  There, he also runs afoul of the military, but gains psychic support from a teenage girl.  Excellent comeback vehicle for the titanic terrapin!  Final Analysis: ADV’s previous Gamera:  GOTU disc has been tweaked for re-release.  In addition to the improved English audio, the method for translating Japanese text has been changed.  On the original disc, large video graphics with English text were overlaid on the Japanese credits and place names, and the film was given an English title card.  Now, the Japanese title screen has been reinstated, and the credits and other text are translated via subtitles.  This method is less obtrusive and more natural-looking.  While these improvements are appreciated, it’s too bad ADV didn’t fix the main deficiency of the previous disc by providing a new anamorphic transfer.  Final Grade:  B+

Gamera 2:  Attack of Legion (Limited Edition): A meteorite crash marks the arrival of a swarm of insect-like aliens on Earth.  The creatures’ reproductive cycle leads to devastated cities, and the appearance of a giant adversary that neither Gamera nor the Japanese military alone can defeat.  Gamera is tested as never before in this triumphant sequel.  Final Analysis: The only significant difference between this “limited” G2 disc and the previous version is the expanded “Lake Texarkana Gamera.”  Overall good presentation of the movie and a solid batch of supplements make this disc a winner.  Highly recommended for all kaiju fans.  Final Grade:  A-

Gamera 3:  Revenge of Iris: A teenage girl who hates Gamera finds her instrument of revenge when a local shrine turns out to be the resting place of an ancient monster.  A tentacled creature hatches and grows.  The girl raises it with one goal:  To kill Gamera, who already has a shell of a problem with increasing numbers of Gyaos.  This somber masterpiece is a near-perfect fusion of human drama and monster action, with incredible FX.  Final Analysis: Gamera 3 may be the greatest modern kaiju film.  It looks and sounds great on this DVD.  Every kaiju fan will want to complete their Gamera collection with this fine disc.  Thanks again, ADV!  Final Grade:  A

Please refer to the individual reviews for detailed specs and features of each disc. There are a few differences in the DVDs included here and the ones previously released.  On Gamera:  GOTU, the English audio track (but not the Japanese) has been upgraded from 2.0 stereo to 5.1 surround.  The translations of credits and place names are displayed differently as well.  On G2, the humorous “Lake Texarkana Gamera” feature has been expanded from a few scenes to a feature-length alternate audio track.  G3 remains unchanged.

The box itself is sturdy and pretty cool-looking.  It’s shiny and textured with “scutes,” like a turtle shell.  If there’s one problem with this set, it’s that ADV didn’t go further in improving the disc specs.  By moving some of the special features to one or more bonus discs (like
the region 2 set), the films themselves could have been given more “breathing room” on their respective discs.  Encoding the films at a higher bitrate would allow for improved audio and video performance.  Still, for when it was released, this is by no means a bad deal.  The upgraded discs and spiffy box make this the best way for U.S. fans to collect the Heisei Gamera films.  Highly recommended.  Grade:  A
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The Total Package!
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