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Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

Tsuyoshi Ihara , Akira Onodera , Shűsuke Kaneko    Unrated   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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A plan to dump radioactive waste at sea is disrupted when a mysterious atoll appears at the dumping location. That atoll proves to be something altogether different when hideous flying reptiles, the Gyaos, attack a nearby island-and the atoll rises from the sea. It is Gamera! The super turtle combats both a misguided military and the man-eating Gyaos, with help from a courageous naval officer, an intrepid ornithologist and a beautiful young psychic. Don't miss the most incredible slam-bang, knock-down monster slug-fest ever as Gamera turtle-waxes the evil Gyaos through downtown Tokyo in GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE!


Gamera, Japan's favorite jet-propelled giant flying turtle, was Daiei's child-friendly answer to Toho's Godzilla franchise. This decidedly juvenile staple of the 1960s became a modest success, but those early features, with cut-rate special effects and gooey child stars, rate little beyond camp nowadays. With such a legacy, his 1995 rebirth Gamera, Guardian of the Galaxy, is a delightful surprise. Now taking over the franchise, Toho comes through with an old-fashioned giant monster adventure in candy colors with excellent special effects and an attitude that straddles serious science fiction and outrageous spectacle. Gamera, still a hero of the people, is given a mythic back-story and a foe of apocalyptic dimensions, the flying people-eating lizard Gyaos that the government, in all its misguided wisdom, decides to protect while attacking the misunderstood Gamera. There's romance (featuring the best come-on line ever: "Someday I'd like to show you around a monster-free Tokyo"), bureaucratic satire, and a well-meaning environmental message, but that's all gravy to the movie's meat: giant monsters battling it out in the traditional Tokyo war zone, laying waste to acres of lovingly detailed miniatures. That's what Japanese monster movies are all about. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Gamera: Guardian of Kaiju Credibility July 3 2004
Long ago, back when there were plenty of Godzilla-ripoffs, there was one series that stood above the rest: Gamera. Gamera was the most popular of these, most likely because it appealed largely to children (outside of Gamera vs. Barugon, which may have been the best of the older series.) By and large, the Gamera series was a joke. With cheap, often-poorly designed costumes, poor and predictable plots, and an over-reliance on Gamera, "Hero of the Children," it's amazing it went on for as long as it did.
In 1995, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe was released, with a completely different approach. This new Gamera, directed by Shusuke Kaneko, abandons the old plotline, as Godzilla 1985 did with the Godzilla series, and brings the audience into a new, darker Gamera, relying on myth rather than children.
The story begins when a Japanese vessel carrying radioactive material runs aground in the middle of the sea. A mysterious floating atoll has been found and is heading towards Japan. On an island elsewhere, Dr. Nagamine has discovered a giant species of "birds" that have eaten the entire population of the island and one of her fellow scientists. Back at the atoll, a science team led by Professor Kusanagi finds many comma-shaped stones on the atoll, as well as a large 2001-esque monolith buried in it. When the professor's assistant touches the monolith, it breaks apart, as does the atoll. Back with the "birds", the Japanese government stages a plan to capture them as an endangered species, but their efforts are thwarted when Gamera, the creature within the atoll, arrives to destroy the creatures himself.
The beginning of the movie is very disjointed, thus the shaky plot summary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Father's Gamera May 12 2004
By A Customer
Before I review the importance of this film, allow me to digress.
Why is a film that incorporates CGI considered to have "better special effects" than effects done using minitures and costumes? To this point, within a couple frames:
a> You can tell "immediately" if a creature is done in CGI.
b> You can tell "immediately" if a creature is a costume.
In both cases, the effect is ineffective in that you know it's a special effect. Something either looks convincing, that is "real" and you can't identify the technique used to create it, or it does not. It's a boolean thing. Having said that, the Japanese effects >tradition< of using minitures and costumes is as equally unconvincing as CGI - however, the live action style is more vivid, and interesting. I prefer the elaborate minitures, costumes, and physical effects and find them far, far, more entertaining than something produced on a laptop with a 3D software package.
Secondly, realize that most Japanese kaiju flicks are done on a 10 million dollar budget. It was amazing in the 60's as it is now that an effects film can be realized at all with such a paltry budget. The shooting schedule of this films is also break-neck.
The reason this Gamera film is important is that it re-defined a genre. Many films and filmmakers try, few succeed. It's "The Unforgiven" (western) or The Excorsist (horror) of kaiju.
Most negative reviews of this film cite effects techniques and dubbing (it's nearly impossible to accurately dub english/japanese it's a different language, of course the lips won't synch...) These reviewer are xenophobic.
In summary, Gamera is an IMPORTANT film as it redifined an entire genre. Critics who point to effects technics and dubbing are xenophobic. Long live minitures and rubber suits! The Japanese (not the US) make the best anime and big bug, saturday matinee sci fi from the 50's to today.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Big Turtle vs. Bat-Lizard March 4 2004
Gamera is reborn, complete with his spinning shell of disaster! A ship carrying enough plutonium to make the whole planet glow, runs aground on a mysterious, moving atoll. Some time later, a research team finds the tiny island and digs out a bizarre metallic monolith with ancient runes carved into it. The atoll turns out to be Gamera! It seems he has returned after thousands of years to face a threat of biblical proportions. Gyaos, the gigantic bat-lizard has laid eggs on a remote island. They've hatched, releasing three gyaos monsters that start eating villagers and their pets almost immediately! The government, in it's godlike wisdom, decides to capture the gyaos critters in a retractable domed baseball stadium. Well, Gamera arrives, throwing the government's plans into the toilet. The military bombards the big turtle mercilessly, protecting the gyaos babies. Gamera manages to squash one of them, while the military tranquilizes the other two. Fortunately, only one survives, cutting it's way out of it's cage with laser breath. It grows to horrific size, and sets out to obliterate Tokyo. Here comes Gamera again! He's made a psychic connection with a young girl, who suffers when he suffers, and gains strength from her somehow. Together, they face Gyaos in a no-holds-barred final conflict! My 8yo son and I both cheered for the big turtle...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Movie, Great DVD Feb. 5 2004
By A Customer
This is easily one of the best kaiju movies ever made. Even though I've only seen one Showa Gamera movie (the first one with no American actors in it on TV), but I can tell by reviews on the Internet that the Heisei Gamera is better. The story completely reinvents the turtle, making him the product of ancient Atlantians who were trying to save themselves from another creation, the reptilian, man-eating birds known as Gyaos. In the present day (1995, when this movie was made), Gamera emerges from the sea to eliminate three of the Gyaos. This movie is great! The special effects are among the best ever! It had totally realistic CGI, mixed with the traditional man-in-a-suit (my favorite way of bringing monsters to the screen). Gyaos looks rather puppet-like, but that's okay. Now onto the DVD. When I first bought it months ago along with Tremors and Tremors 2, I popped it in my DVD player, and I was surprised to find it had special features! Another DVD I have, a double feature of Godzilla vs. Spacegodzill and Godzilla vs. Destroyer, had no special features. But this DVD sure did! It's also in widescreen, with the choice of either English dubbing or the original Japanese language with English subtitles! Anyway, this is a must-have for any kaiju fan! Also great are the two sequels, Gamera: Attack of Legion and Gamera: Revenge of Iris.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gamera is back!!!
Despite the Gamera in the 60's that was aim towards kids this turtle is back!!When i first saw this I was Blown away I mean The SPX effect are ten times better the Newer godzilla... Read more
Published on March 21 2004 by thatboyK
5.0 out of 5 stars The monster hit that redefined kaiju.
When director Shusuke Kaneko and screenwriter Kazumori Ito revived the kiddie kaiju hero Gamera, they also revived the kaiju genre itself. Read more
Published on March 9 2004 by Chadwick H. Saxelid
5.0 out of 5 stars Godzilla's Got HUGE Competition Now!
I've always loved Gamera as a child. Sometimes it's good to always remember those kind of things. I would consider him Godzilla's competition. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than The Films Of The 1960s!
True the earlier Gamera movies were enjoyable to some extent, but were goofy in the fact that they aimed more at the kids.
But the series has taken a new turn! Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2003 by Kent
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected!
I have seen Gamera 2 and 3, and I have to say that Gamera guardian of the universe is actually a more structured and serious movie than the others. Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2003 by Luigi
4.0 out of 5 stars Giant Monster Fans - Enjoy!
This is a qick paced Japanese giant monster movie that fans of the genre will really enjoy. The story is good, though fairly silly fun that fans of the old Godzilla movies will... Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2003 by F. Tresnan
5.0 out of 5 stars Gamera's Best Movie Ever!
The turtle is back in a whole new adventure! This time, it's not towards the kids. He's facing off with his greatest enemy ever: Gaos. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars kaneko = bad plot parsimony
What is it about this movie? That it stars Steven Seagal's daughter? Is it in the title that Gamera is a gaurdian of a universe that consists of only one planet? Read more
Published on May 9 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Specifications are misleading
While this is a great movie, it is not in widescreen anamorphic. It is widescreen letterboxed. Not enhanced for widescreen TV's.
Published on May 2 2003
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