8.08.2014

Gamera Legacy Collection – For the serious giant monster movie collector

This review is from: Gamera Legacy Collection (DVD)
A few weeks prior to its April 29th street date, I was browsing around on Amazon and learned that the release of this new Gamera box set was right around the proverbial corner. I was excited by this news and pleased to see that Mill Creek was responsible for this set. Those folks have given hardcore Japanese giant robot show fans like myself excellent collections of old tokusatsu (special effects) programs like SUPER ROBOT RED BARON, IRON KING, and best of all, ULTRAMAN.

Having first seen them as rentals, for many years I had wanted to have in my library the post-Showa Era Gamera films that were made between 1995 and 1999. Prior to their inclusion in this GAMERA LEGACY COLLECTION, those films had been previously released in a super affordable GAMERA TRILOGY blu-ray box set, also produced by Mill Creek. I, however, don't own a blu-ray player, and I wasn't ready to scoot out to get one just so that I could finally have the aforementioned films.

As it often does, though, the heavenly virtue that is patience paid off and I now have all three of the 1990s Gamera films in DVD format. But I also have a whole lot more, and all for a really great price. In addition to those films, Mill Creek's GAMERA LEGACY COLLECTION gives me all eight of the Showa era Gamera films made between 1965 and 1980. As a kid growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, I had only seen four of those.

When they were released roughly a decade ago, I bought the Alpha Video releases of GAMERA THE INVINCIBLE, ATTACK OF THE MONSTERS, DESTROY ALL PLANETS and WAR OF THE MONSTERS, which completed my small collection of the four versions I once saw on TV as a kid. And, since I already owned those, I was very pleased to learn that Mill Creek was releasing all of the Gamera films in the original Japanese with subtitles -- since the pangs of youthful nostalgia had already been satiated by the Alpha Video releases.

Also, I think I'm becoming something of a purist when it comes to foreign films. This first only applied to American remakes of foreign titles, but it lends itself now to old movies that I first saw as dubs. Thus, the DVD issues that I find myself liking most are those that, like some of the recent Godzilla issues, feature two discs that provide the original Japanese and also English dub of a film. This way, whether I'm feeling snooty or nostalgic, I have a version that will feed either need.

I'm also quite aware, too, that the visual masters for the American English dubs aren't always available for licensing. Taking into consideration that maybe not all of the eleven films included in this collection have even been dubbed into English, I applaud Mill Creek for just releasing them in their unadulterated form; I've always wanted to see all of the Gamera films and now I have them in their pure form for a price that I would have happily paid just for three of them.

Yes, Mill Creek has done it again, daikaiju fans, by releasing yet another great collection that will please the hardcore fans of Gamera who also happen to be...literate. The picture quality on the earlier gems in this collection is the very best I've ever seen, considering now what is very noticeably lost in the DVD transfers of the old Americanized versions. It's almost like seeing these movies for the first time. The sound quality and the subtitles are also top-notch, contrary to any reviews here that may whine otherwise.

Another nice job, Mill Creek. Keep up the good work!

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