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Blu-ray Review: Gamera Trilogy



Fifteen years after the last on-screen appearance (and even longer since the last “proper” sequel), the Gamera franchise was rebooted in 1995. It was the first of three Gamera films in what is known as the Heisei series. The trilogy of films were directed by Shusuke Kaneko (whose work was so impressive he scored a gig helming the awesome Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack).

If, like me, you enjoyed Mill Creek Entertainment’s recent Gamera Ultimate Collection Volume 1 and Volume 2, you’ll be happy to know that Mill Creek also released the Heisei trilogy on Blu-ray back in 2011. The set is just as impressive, and the movies are even better.


Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)

Before the titular monster shows up, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe begins by introducing a trio of Gyaos. The bat-like monster has received quite a facelift since its first appearance in 1967’s Gamera vs. Gyaos. When the three “birds” (as their first referred) are trapped in a baseball stadium, the giant turtle Gamera (also upgraded) emerges from the ocean and causes even more panic for the citizens of Japan. Being the larger creature, Gamera ostensibly poses the bigger threat, but a later attack finds Gamera protecting mankind. When only one Gyaos remains, it grows to Gamera’s size, and the two duke out.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe has been praised by critics and fans alike for its darker tone. While that’s true that this ain’t your daddy’s Gamera, it’s not quite Christopher Nolan’s take on kaiju either. The film still has a pinch of schlock for the nostalgic. It utilizes many of the same special effects techniques as the original films – it just wouldn’t be Gamera without a guy in a rubber suit smashing miniature buildings – but they’re spruced up with newer technological advancements. Everything looks bigger, better and cooler. CGI is, thankfully, utilized sparingly and effectively. Guardian of the Universe remains as a successful reboot.


Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)

Gamera 2: Attack of Legion introduces a new adversary to the Gamera canon after a meteorite crashes into earth: an alien species of insect-like monsters, dubbed symbiotic Legions. (They’re reminiscent of the parasite creatures from Cloverfield.) There is also a huge queen Legion that emerges from a pod that lands in the middle of the city. Even with the aid of the Japanese military, Gamera has has hands full with one large monster and hundreds of smaller ones.

Although it was fast tracked after the success of the reboot, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion doesn’t feel rushed. In true sequel fashion, the scope is bigger, the destruction is more grandiose, the plot is more intense; it even gets biblical. There’s also a heavier reliance on CGI, which is admirable for its time, but it hasn’t aged all that well. The final showdown, in particular, feels cartoony; Gamera shows off a new power in the form of a plasma beam shot out of his chest. But it’s a small gripe, as the rest of the film delivers on everything kaiju fans want to see.


Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)

Although a few years have passed since the last attack, citizens of Japan continue to live in fear of giant monsters – and with good reason. The Gyaos have evolved into an advanced, mutated species, but they’re still no match for Gamera. What does pose a threat to our turtle friend, however, is yet another Gyaos relative: an ancient creature dubbed Iris. The flying, tentacled beast is equipped with sword-like arms and possesses the ability to fire a sonic beam. As the badass final battle proves, Iris is truly Gamera’s ultimate foe.

While Gamera 2 amped up the action, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris is more fantastical, more dramatic. It offers its fair share of action, but overall it’s a slow burner; there are long stretches filled with exposition from the human characters. With its talk of the occult, Gamera 3 also feels more like a traditional horror movie. Iris is almost entirely computer generated, and the film could nearly exist without Gamera at all. As such, Gamera 3 is somewhat disappointing if you’re looking for kaiju battles, but it remains an interesting film regardless. It also has an awesome ending.

The trilogy comes as a two-Blu-ray set; the first disc includes the first two installments, while the second disc houses the third movie and special features. There is nearly 3 hours of bonus material, including behind-the-scenes footage from all three, as well as deleted and extended scenes and more. Both the original Japanese versions and the English dubs are available for all three films. The high-definition presentations are crisp and clean.

I wish Kaneko’s Gamera series had continued (as the conclusion of Gamera 3 implies). Consistently impressive and entertaining, the trilogy still holds up well nearly 20 years later. As fun as the original Gamera series was, it always paled in comparison to Godzilla. As far as the Heisei eras go, however, Gamera proves quality pays over quantity. You can find this set insanely cheap, so monster movie fans have no excuse not to own the Gamera Trilogy. Even if you haven’t seen or dislike the original, there’s a good chance you’ll get a kick out of these movies.

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John Wick in Development for a Sequel and a Video Game



John Wick 4 was a complete blast and the ending pointed at the odd fact that John Wick might actually be… dead. I didn’t believe it for a second. Not John Wick. The dude is a tank. Lionsgate has already greenlit development for a John Wick 5.

That isn’t all the studio has in store though. It also appears that we will receive a big triple-A game based on the Baba Yaga.

“What is official is that, as you know, Ballerina is the first spinoff that comes out next year,” President of Lionsgate Joe Drake said, “We’re in development on three others, including and including television series, “The Continental”, will be airing soon. And so, we’re building out the world and when that fifth movie comes, will be organic — will be organically grown out of how we’re starting to tell those stories. But you can rely on a regular cadence of John Wick.”

In addition to those awesome projects, we also have The Continental TV spinoff coming and a whole new Ballerina film based on the assassins introduced in John Wick 3.

The synopsis for John Wick 4 went like this:

With the price on his head ever increasing, legendary hit man John Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin.

Are you guys excited about a John Wick 5 and a full-on, shoot-em-up video game based on Wick? Let us know in the comments section.

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Tim Burton Documentary Features Winona Ryder, Johnny Depp, and Other Regulars




Tim Burton will always be a part of horror for us. He has a page indexed here and we love it. From Beetlejuice to Ed Wood the director has broken the mold time and time again. A documentary focused on Burton is headed to Cannes this year and will feature all of the director’s co-conspirators in action.

The four-part documentary features Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Jenna Ortega, composer Danny Elfman, Christopher Walken, Danny DeVito, Mia Wasikowska, and Christoph Waltz. All of these awesome actors to talk about their time with Burton.

“Tim continues to build his aesthetic, the Burton-esque style, derived from a wealth of art, cinematic, and literary genres,” the release says “The documentary explores how Burton brings his vision to life through his own joyous idiosyncrasy and his ability to meld the ominous and the frightful with a sense of whimsy. Tim’s films are just the tip of the iceberg.”

The documentary will take us through Burton’s life and many adored films.

Are you excited to see Burton’s documentary? Let us know in the comments section.

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‘The Last of Us’ Fans Have a Really Long Wait Till Second Season




The Last of Us was a big hit with fans. It brought in both fans of the game as well as new fans entirely. It managed to give gut punches in the feels and still managed to create a terrifying experience. That’s great and all but the long wait for fans isn’t going to be an easy one.

While the writers strike wages on and the powers that be drag their heels to give the writers the wages that they should be getting paid, it is not an easy ride for fans.

The Last of Us was already going to take a year at the minimum to get back to season 2 premiere. But with the writers strike in action those timelines have been pushed even further back.

Writer, Francesca Orsi of The Last of Us says that it looks like at the moment there could be a 2025 date in mind… and that is saying everything does work out.

 “We will have to assess what is the end of the ’24 schedule, what are the shows that are going to be delivered for 2025. At this point, those shows that I’m looking to air wouldn’t necessarily be ready if this strike lasts six to nine months. So yes, that’s a big question for us, but I think we’ll cross that road once we come to it.” Orsi said.

We are all at the mercy of the writers and the hands that need to feed them. So, the wait could get really long depending on the amount of greed that the folks in charge have.

What do you think about the long wait for a second season of The Last of Us? Let us know in the comments section.

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