When Gamera came back in the late 90s, these were the films more immediately available on the US home video circuit. Mill Creek released these movies to home video a few years back and they were promptly ignored. The question I ask is why? Not because I know the answer, but because I want you to hate these movies too.
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe
Guardian of the Universe was the big 1995 reintroduction to this series. Godzilla had already staged a minor comeback leading up to his 1998 American revamp. So, why can’t the little turtle copycat follow suit? Now being distributed by TOHO, the films took a different turn in the House that Godzilla built.
Our turtle monster friend is established as being friendly to humans right out of the gate. When the new Gyaos emerges, our turtle monster friend is quick to dispatch the foe. The people dance and cheer, as 90s Asian audiences are quick to remember their Kaiju friend from a generation ago.
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion
Attack of Legion is a film that slightly treads back into having a message. In this outing, Gamera fights an alien insect hive mind that attacks as Legion. The typical towns get destroyed, but there is an added weight on collateral damage. What’s even stranger is that Gamera seemingly acts like he’s being used by Earth for some sort of defense system.
The film ends with people wondering if Gamera will turn on them. But, that question is never answered, as we have to keep the momentum running into Gamera 3. That’s right, kids. Nations other than the United States have film industries dedicated to milking every last dime out of a franchise.
Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris
By the time that Revenge of Iris arrived, the air was out of the tires. Arriving in Japan nearly a year after Godzilla (1998), this movie felt like an answer to the American bastardized monster movies. Playing darker and meaner than ever before, Gamera 1999 or Revenge of Iris or whatever was meant to be a serious look at Kaiju movies. Naturally, it fell flat outside of the Asian film markets.
The new turtle monster defends the Earth, but also destroys things at will. Gyaos is back and is mutating into new forms. The old bodies are found dying and rotting all around. But, Turtle Godzilla flies at things with the reckless abandon of Henry Cavill in a Snyder movie. Lives are forever changed and children learn there are no heroes on a half shell.
Arrow has wrapped up The Gamera Collection with a stunning final Blu-ray. The last discs include the 90s movies and they’re loaded with same kind of special features from before. The A/V Quality gets an added kick in the pants due to being a far more recent release. While not my favorite films by any stretch of the imagination, I’d recommend getting the Gamera Collection anyways.