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Shûsuke Kaneko
Toshiyuki Nagashima, Miki Mizuno, Tamotsu Ishibashi
Writing Credits:
Kazunori Itô

Insectoid aliens terrorize Japan, and only Gamera can defeat them.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0
US English DTS-HD MA 5.1
US English DTS-HD MA 2.0
UK English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $179.95
Release Date: 8/18/2020
Available Only As Part of 12-Movie “Gamera Complete Collection”

• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Kyle Yount
• Introduction by Film Historian August Ragone
• “Lake Texarkana” Comedy Dub
• “A Testimony of 15 Years: Part 2” Featurette
• Production Footage & SFX Footage
• Production Announcement
• Alternate English Credits
• Trailers & Video Promo
• US Version Theme Song
• Image Gallery


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Gamera 2: Attack of Legion [Blu-Ray] (1996)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 23, 2020)

In 1995, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe rebooted a long-dormant kaiju franchise. Apparently it found enough of an audience to spawn a sequel, 1996’s Gamera 2: Attack of Legion.

When a meteor shower impacts Japan, it brings surprising and unwanted passengers. From these, insectoid alien beasties emerge and the nation.

Though military forces attempt to halt this “legion”, they fail. This leaves the task to Gamera the giant fire-breathing turtle, as he becomes Japan’s only hope of survival against this extraterrestrial menace.

As my review of the 1995 film mentions, I came to it as only my third Gamera experience. I started with the debut – 1965’s Gamera the Giant Monster - and skipped to 1980’s Super Monster before I gave Guardian a look.

On the other hand, Attack follows the more logical path. As I settled in to watch it, I’d caught up and seen all nine of the prior movies, as I filled in the 1966-1971 flicks I initially skipped.

Though I recognized its flaws, I kind of liked Guardian, perhaps more as a reflection of the fact it immediately followed my screening of Super Monster. As I write, I still need to watch two more Gamera films, but I feel confident Super Monster will remain the clear nadir of the franchise.

In any case, Guardian offered a decent update on the franchise. Despite a mix of problems, it came with enough action and fun to make it a relative winner.

Did this elevate my expectations for Attack? A little, though I didn’t like Guardian enough for me to enter its sequel with great hopes for it.

And that becomes a good thing, as Attack maintains a pretty similar level of quality compared to its immediate predecessor. Another spotty but sporadically exciting affair, Attack offers a mixed bag.

As with the prior movie, its effects vastly surpass anything seen in the pre-1995 films. Not that this means we get work that lives up to 1996 standards, as the different components seem iffy by Hollywood standards – and some computer animation looks painfully cheap and dated now.

Still, the Gamera scenes work pretty well. When he causes havoc, we get a pretty good sense of his mass and power, factors that never manifested in the pre-1995 movies.

We actually sort of buy Gamera as a living, destructive force here, and it helps that Attack depicts the awe and terror he inspires in the citizens. Back in the pre-1995 films, Gamera usually provoked no more wonder than your average poodle would, which seemed ludicrous.

Yeah, I know that the pre-1995 flicks softened the character to be intensely kid-friendly, but it still made no sense that humans adapted to Gamera so readily and hardly ever reacted to him in the appropriate way. Attack restores that, and the visual effects allow us to connect to him as a massive being.

Gamera remains a protector of humans, but he doesn’t seem as cuddly here. The 1990s films appear to abandon the “Friend of All Children” theme found in many of the earlier movies, which I like.

Yeah, I get that the studio wanted something intensely kid-friendly back then, but a lot of those pre-1995 Gamera flicks pandered too much. Attack is too intense and graphic for the littler ones who could watch the pre-1995 efforts, but it still seems appropriate for most kids, and it lacks the self-conscious attempts to enchant them.

Unfortunately, Attack takes forever to bring back Little G, as he fails to appear on screen until 30 minutes into the story. Even them, we just get a tease, so we need to wait even longer for any real action.

This can mean too much of the film focuses on basic plot points. Attack devotes a lot of running time to the humans, but oddly, it barely attempts to develop them.

Instead, they exist as little more than exposition machines. In the movie’s first half, we get endless scenes that discuss the threat and the various characters, all of which seems like it could occupy much less time and work just as well.

At least Attack picks up in its second half, as the final 50 minutes boasts reasonable action. Sure, we still find too many talking head scenes, and they grow tedious, though the presence of super-cute Miki Mizuno helps make these more palatable.

After the slow-paced first half of Attack, I felt prepared to view it as a dud. However, the second half improves just enough to make it watchable.

Does that mean I view Attack as a good movie? No – it seems pretty mediocre, even by the standards of fairly inexpensive kaiju flicks.

Still, Attack manages to keep us reasonably involved. It could use better pacing, but the action sequences ensure we get a kick out of it at times.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus B+

Gamera 2: Attack of Legion appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a generally good image but it lacked the polish I’d expect given its vintage.

Sharpness mostly seemed appealing. Occasional shots – usually interiors – demonstrated some softness, but the film mainly came across with reasonably positive delineation.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Grain felt natural, and print flaws failed to become an issue.

Attack opted for a largely blue/teal palette, though some other hues popped up along the way. These tended to feel a little thick, but the Blu-ray rendered them in an acceptable manner.

Blacks became a bit too dense, while shadows usually seemed somewhat opaque. I suspect some of that stemmed from a desire to hide issues with the visual effects, but this still turned into a movie with some scenes that were a smidgen tough to discern. I thought the image had enough going for it to earn a “B-“, but it could seem erratic.

1996 boasted a number of movies with excellent soundtracks. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Attack didn’t join that club.

My main complaint reflected the soundfield, which offered good breadth but lacked suitable specificity. This meant that although the track used all the channels in an active manner. The elements didn’t show especially strong integration or localization.

Sure, some aspects of the audio managed to pop up in the correct spots and blend well. However, many others just felt like they spread around the room in a vaguely localized manner, not with much real accuracy. This led to a lively mix that didn’t quite hit the spot.

Audio quality worked fine, with dialogue that seemed natural and concise. Music showed vivid tones, as the score seemed well-rendered.

Effects appeared accurate and robust much of the time, so they added punch to the proceedings. If the movie offered a better localized/blended soundscape, it’d have worked well, but as it stood, it seemed mediocre.

As we shift to extras, we find the usual Introduction from Film Historian August Ragone. During this four-minute, 21-second chat, he gives us some basics about Legion. This becomes another efficient discussion from Ragone.

Next we get an audio commentary from film historian Kyle Yount. In his running, screen-specific chat, he discusses the genre and the Gamera series as well as aspects of the Gamera 2 production, cast and crew, and related elements.

Yount comes prepared, and he shows a broad knowledge of all things Gamera. He helps make this an informative, engaging commentary that covers the material well.

A second running audio track appears as well under Lake Texarkana Comedy Dub. This brings an English version of the dialogue that attempts to play matters for laughs.

“Attempts” becomes the keyword, as the intended guffaws never arrive. Maybe someone else will enjoy this, but the “Comedy Dub” just seems like a waste of time to me, as I can’t find entertainment value from it.

A continuation of a series that started on the Guardian disc, A Testimony of 15 Years, Part 2 spans two hours, one minute and 15 seconds. It presents comments from action scriptor Junko Kawashima, digital FX animator Takashi Kawabata, assistant SFX director Yuichi Kikuchi, SFX photographer Hiroshi Kidokoro, chief of story photography Shinji Kugimiya, assistant editor Mototaka Kusakabe, head propmaker for story scenes Takashi Kubono, sound effects assistant Aya Kojima, promoter Go Kobayashi, special effects photography assistant Yukio Komiya, special effects art assistant Hiroshi Sagae, 3D animator Kazuya Sakagami, monster assistant Toshinori Sasaki, CGI director Atsuki Sato, producer Naoki Sato, assistant story director Futoshi Sato, creature modeler Fuyuki Shinada, story art continuity Daisaku Shimura, story scriptor Haru Shohara, technical coordinator Nobuaki Sugiki, 3D animator Akira Suzuki, assistant monster modeler Rikaya So, story set designer Toshiaki Takahashi, head story photography assistant Yoshihito Takahashi, monster modeling assistant Miki Takahama, Hiroshi Tanabe, story lighting assistant, monster actor Koichi Tamura, photographic effects Teruo Tsuda, producer Tsutomu Tsuchikawa, special effects equipment crew Satoshi Tsuyuki, assistant art director Kazuyoshi Nakazaki, and story and actor practical effects assistant Ryo Nakayama.

Like the first portion, “Part 2” offers interview clips without any attempt to organize them in any order. It also shows some movie clips and behind the scenes footage, though we usually go with “talking head” interviews.

With “Part 1”, I thought “Part 2” became an informative documentary because the lack of structure creates frustration. Big fans will enjoy the insights but the format remains annoying.

Behind the Scenes Production Footage takes up 59 minutes, 54 seconds with exactly what the title implies: raw video material from the sets. I like this kind of footage, so this compilation adds value to the package.

In the same vein, we find Behind the Scenes SFX Footage. This reel lasts 39 minutes, 46 seconds and shows the work done for various effects scenes. Expect a fun collection of shots that let us see the way the technicians created the movie’s effects.

From November 27, 1995, a Production Announcement lasts six minutes, 34 seconds. It’s simply a press conference to reveal the plans for Legion. It seems forgettable.

Backstage Clip: Sky goes for three minutes, 11 seconds. This mixes behind the scenes footage with a pop-rock song to create a simple music video of sorts. It lacks much value.

Under Promotional Events, we find a five-minute, 16-second piece that shows installations used to tout the movie. It pairs these with songs and becomes another meh addition.

Hibaya Theater Opening Day runs three minutes, 58 seconds and lets us see an event related to the movie’s launch. Don’t expect much of interest from it.

The usual Additional English Credits appear. They go for one minute, 21 seconds and display the names of those who worked on the English dub.

Comedy Dub Outtakes fills three minutes, 56 seconds and provides alternate lines for some scenes. Yawn.

In addition to nine trailers and seven TV spots, we end with an Image Gallery. It shows 119 stills that offer the usual mix of production shots, behind the scenes elements and promotional bits. It becomes a nice compilation.

A continuation of the franchise’s 1990s reboot, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion offers a sporadically exciting affair. The movie drags too much of the time and takes too long to get to its title character, but it still manifests enough thrills to make it moderately enjoyable. The Blu-ray brings erratic picture and audio along with a good array of bonus materials. Attack becomes a decent second chapter in the 1990s trilogy.

Note that as of August 2020, this Blu-ray version of Gamera 2 only appears as part of a “Gamera Complete Collection”. This packages 12 Gamera adventures.

The “Complete Collection” also features a 120-page reproduction of a 1996 Gamera comic book and an 80-page retrospective book. My review copy didn’t include these components so I can’t formally discuss them.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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