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1990s Gamera Trilogy on DVD (1 Viewer)

ArmandV

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Armand Vaquer
ADV Films is now releasing the 1990s Gamera trilogy on DVD. Each film was directed by Shusuke Kaneko and the special effects were directed by Shinji Higuchi. These films have "raised the bar" for Japanese kaiju films. You have a choice of Japanese language with or without English subtitles or English-dubbed. All are in widescreen.

Gamera, The Guardian of the Universe (1995) is the triumphant return of the giant turtle by Daiei. Widescreen but not in 5.1 surround. Has some great extras (Gamera promotion events, opening day ceremonies, interview with Higuchi, trailers, etc.).

Gamera 2: Invasion of Legion (1996) is in widescreen and in 5.1 surround. Great extras including the opening day ceremonies, interview with Higuchi, trailers, Gamera promotion events, etc.

Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys (1999) is due to be
released in June.
 

Jim Peavy

Supporting Actor
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Hey, Armand. I tried to get something going in the software section for the 2nd Gamera release, but nobody was interested. We talked a little bit about the release of Guardian of the Universe, but nobody was having any of Legion. These are some of my most coveted releases, which makes me wince at some of the deficiencies.

Although I was disappointed with it's lack of 16:9 enhancement and 5.1 sound (neither of which my system is capable of, though), Gamera: GotU looked quite a bit better to me than Gamera II. Which is strange considering II is anamorphic and 5.1.

The Gamera II transfer looks extremely soft to me and there is a serious lack of "true" blacks. I've heard that ADV used the japanese box set transfers for II and III. If this is what the japanese DVDs looked like, then I know why ADV used their existing VHS Gamera: GotU master for the first DVD (!).

That having been said, the extras are great. The fact that they've ported the interviews and stuff from the japanese box set with subtitles is terrific.

Don't know if you know it or not, but in the japanese box set, the films were subtitled but not the extras. Again, it's strange that ADV would take the time and effort to do such an A+ job on the extras and allow the films themselves to suffer. This also makes me believe that, perhaps, ADV's hands were tied in the mastering dept. They had to take what Daiei would give them. I don't know for sure, though.

This prolly' belongs more in the "software" section, so if the mods want to move it...
 

ArmandV

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Armand Vaquer
This prolly' belongs more in the "software" section, so if the mods want to move it...
Well Jim, if one wants to just talk of the "technical aspects" of the releases, maybe. But I started this just to talk of the movies themselves.

I did not buy the Japanese box set, so I have no way of comparing the two. Still, these are still great DVDs to have if one is a kaiju fan. I asked Toho's Los Angeles general manager and Sony Entertainment to take a good look at how these were released in hopes that they would do the same treatment for Godzilla when they finally come to terms on the release of Godzilla x Megaguirus and GMK.

Personally, I am satisfied about Gamera 2 and I don't see it "suffering." Maybe I am just easy to please.;)
 

Jim Peavy

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Definitely agree with you there. Gamera III is arguably the best kaiju film ever made.

Also would love to see Toho give Godzilla x Megaguirus and GMK a legit R1 release. I've managed to see GMK (terrific!), but Megaguirus has eluded me. Who knows with Toho, though.

Hope Toho gives Kaneko another shot at a Godzilla film!

Edit: Oh, check out this site (if you haven't already):

http://www.godzillapalace.com/battra92/
 

ArmandV

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Armand Vaquer
Also would love to see Toho give Godzilla x Megaguirus and GMK a legit R1 release. I've managed to see GMK (terrific!), but Megaguirus has eluded me. Who knows with Toho, though.
Megaguirus is a fun film. It is a lot better than Godzilla 2000.
 

Stephen Orr

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I have the region 3 versions of GMK and Megaguirus, and think that both are outstanding Godzilla pictures. I just wish GMK would have had the English subtitles with the Japanese soundtrack, rather than the Chinese...
 

Jim Peavy

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That's what I've heard, though I think G 2000 has it's moments. I actually think the final battle is quite spectacular. The R1 disc is very nice, too.

Do either of you guys think the Heisi G films are looking a little worse-for-wear these days? For me, they're not state of the art anymore, yet they're not old enough to have taken on a patina of nostalgia or history. I'd be interested in what you think.
 

Jason Whyte

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I'm going to move this to Software, since this is mostly a discussion of the DVD releases as well as the movies, and may get more attention & response over there.

Jason
 

Dan Rudolph

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Aren't subtitle tracks completely independent of audio? How can a set of subtitles only be offerred with 1 audio track?
 

ArmandV

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Armand Vaquer
Do either of you guys think the Heisi G films are looking a little worse-for-wear these days? For me, they're not state of the art anymore, yet they're not old enough to have taken on a patina of nostalgia or history. I'd be interested in what you think.
Note: The "Heisei" series of Godzilla films are the ones from "Return of Godzilla" (1984) to "Godzilla vs. Destoroyah" (1995) although many consider "Godzilla vs. Biollante" (1989) to be the start.

In many respects I agree with you that the Heisei films aren't holding up too well. I think a lot of it is the reaction by Toho and fans to Gamera 3's effects. Toho seems to be trying to make their effects a lot more realistic-looking than before. Although there were many top-notch effects shots done by Koichi Kawakita, there were also a few clunkers. The overall look of the films from Godzilla 2000 to present are a lot better with better camera angles to give the illusion of great size. Far too many of the Heisei films had camera angles that did not even try to give the illusion of great size. Also, Godzilla's size was bumped up to 80-to-100 meters during the Heisei series and that harmed the detailing of the miniatures to have their scale adjusted accordingly. Godzilla is back to around 55-to-60 meters in the current series and accordingly, the miniatures have better detailing to be in keeping with that scale.

Gamera 3 really did "raise the bar" on Japanese special effects.
 

Andy Kent

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Oct 25, 2000
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That having been said, the extras are great. The fact that they've ported the interviews and stuff from the japanese box set with subtitles is terrific.
Thaaaank you. It was worth doing! ;p And yeah, I enjoyed them, though on different levels. Did anybody else catch the Magic: The Gathering joke in G3?

Andy Kent
ADV Films
did those subtitles
 

ChrisJefferys

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I have the region 3 versions of GMK and Megaguirus, and think that both are outstanding Godzilla pictures. I just wish GMK would have had the English subtitles with the Japanese soundtrack, rather than the Chinese...
I think that you have things a bit mixed up. The R3 HK DVD of Godzilla 2000 has English subs that only work with the Chinese dubbed soundtracks (probably a Toho requirement that thankfully was not repeated with later releases) but the Universe R3 HK disc of GMK has English subs that work with any of the audio tracks. The only downside is the Japanese track is 2.0 not 5.1 like the Japanese R2 disc (but that one has no English subs).

At any rate, as much as I want the Gamera films on DVD, I've been holding off buying the ADV discs due to the various problems mentioned above and am still considering the R2 box set.
 

Jim Peavy

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Andy Kent,
I'd be interested if you could give us a short rundown on ADV's decision to use their non-anamorphic/non-5.1 VHS master for the Gamera:GotU DVD (I'm assuming it was ADV's VHS master) and go with anamorphic and 5.1 for the Legion and Irys DVDs (I'm assuming this was the pre-existing Daiei transfer for the R2 DVDs). Any lowdown would be appreciated! :)

Thanks for the kaiju stuff you guys are putting out! R1 would be a kaiju wasteland indeed without ADV. I understand One Hundred Monsters is in the works--too cool! A really wild movie.

Keep 'em coming!!
 

Jim Peavy

Supporting Actor
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Aug 12, 2002
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I know what ya' mean, but I'm not convinced the R2 box set is any better. I have a suspicion ADV merely ported their VHS master to DVD for their GotU release because they felt it was better than the materials Daiei gave them, despite it not being anamorphic or 5.1. If so, I agree with them: ADV's GotU DVD does look better than their Legion. All this is just a theory though.

ADV has subbed all the extras from the R2 box, however. This, plus the fact that each DVD can be had for $11.99 online (and as I said above, the R2 discs might not look any better), makes these discs a no-brainer for any self-respecting R1 kaiju fan.

IMO, of course.
 

Jeff Wilson

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Jun 17, 2001
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Gamera aside, ADV hasn't always gone for the best elements in their kaiju releases. Their three disc set of Daimajin, while very attractively priced, uses mediocre non-anamorphic VHS transfers (like Gamera: GOTU), as opposed to the R2 box set, which features beautiful anamorphic prints.
 

Andy Kent

Agent
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Oct 25, 2000
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Oh! Right, it isn't. (Sorry, I lose track...) OTOH it's not even in G3; I was thinking of a scene in G2. Need more sleep...

Can't say much about masters - not my department.

Do people like the One Hundred Monsters films? I've seen Spook Warfare, which was hilarious in a made-of-solid-cheese way...

Andy
 

Stephen Orr

Screenwriter
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I've been watching Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, and wow. The death and destruction in this movie is incredible. Makes Godzilla look politically correct!
 

Sean Campbell

Second Unit
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Dec 6, 2002
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I think that you have things a bit mixed up. The R3 HK DVD of Godzilla 2000 has English subs that only work with the Chinese dubbed soundtracks
I found a way around this. While the disc is in your player go to your DVD menu ( not the menu on the disc, the DVD machine settings menu ). Set default audio language to Japanese and default subtitles to English. Then restart the film - if it works the same as it does for me you should get the Japanese audio with English subs.
 

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