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Ryuta Tasaki
Ryô Tomioka, Kaho, Shingo Ishikawa
Writing Credits:
Yukari Tatsui

After a new man-eating creature named Zedus shows up in Japan, it's up to baby Gamera to save the world as the previous Gamera had done before.

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

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Keith Aiken and Bob Johnson
• “How to Make a Gamera Movvie” Featurette
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• “The Men That Made Gamera” Featurette
• Opening Day Premiere
• “Kaho’s Summer” Featurette
• “Special Effects Supercut”
• Trailers & TV Spots
• 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 the Brave [Blu-Ray] (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 27, 2020)

Apparently you can’t keep a giant turtle down, as Gamera seems likely to spawn new movies forever. After seven movies in seven years, the franchise went dormant for nine years until 1980’s awful Super Monster appeared to kill it off once and for all.

However, Little G returned 15 years later via a reboot series that opened with 1995’s Guardian of the Universe. This extended into a trilogy that concluded with 1999’s Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, and that looked to end things – again.

Nope, as 2006 brought a second reboot via Gamera the Brave. It didn’t spawn any sequels, so 14 years later, Gamera remains in slumber. I can’t imagine we’ve seen the last of Little G, however.

Though technically a reboot, Brave doesn’t act as a total origin story for the character. Instead, it starts in 1973, when Gamera appears to sacrifice his life to rid the world of giant bats known as Gyaos once and for all.

Kousuke Aizawa (Kanji Tsuda) witnessed this event, and 33 years later, his young son Toru (Ryo Tomioka) finds a mysterious egg. When it hatches, it reveals a baby Gamera.

Before long, a human-devouring creature called Zedus emerges. Mini-Gamera will need to take on the mantle and stop it.

Most of the 1960s/70s Gamera movies attempted a very child-oriented take on the subject. The series painted Little G as “Friend to All Children”, and the stories opted for a heavily kiddie-friendly tone.

The 1990s reboot completely abandoned this theme and opted for a much more traditional monster movie take. With nary a youngster in sight, those three films painted a more realistic view of the monsters.

With Brave, the series goes back to its roots – mostly. While the film comes across as more reality-based than the campy 1960s/70s flicks, it also clearly shoots for a pre-teen audience in a way that the 1990s flicks didn’t.

Though Brave can’t quite make up its mind, as it lacks consistency. Much of the movie clearly borrows heavily from 1982’s classic ET the Extraterrestrial.

Like Elliott, Toru bonds with his new friend, and we marvel at the ways that Baby G reveals his special powers. We even get wacky comedic scenes in which Toru and Baby G lead similar lives, just like the connection between Elliott and ET, and other sequences clearly echo the 1982 flick.

Also like Elliott, Toru suffers from family drama, as Toru’s mother died in the not-distant past. The movie uses this as an excuse for some somber scenes, though it doesn’t seem terribly invested in them.

Other parts of the movie go dramatic largely out of nowhere, so Brave really does come with a mixed tone. A good movie can balance the drama, fantasy, action and comedy in a smooth manner – as Spielberg did with ET - but Brave struggles to integrate these elements.

This means some jarring shifts in tone. For instance, right after a whimsical scene of Baby G in Toru’s dad’s restaurant, we see the bloody result of Zedus’s attack on a shipwrecked seaman.

These contrasts don’t work – at least not for the target audience. The little kids who seem to be the intended viewers will be horrified by the scarier scenes, as they’re too intense for the younger children.

I do appreciate the film’s attempt to balance the child-oriented nature of the 60s/70s flicks with the darker tone of the 1990s efforts. There must be a happy medium between the two, a situation in which Gamera can come across as the destructive monster he is but still emphasize a child’s-eye view.

And at times, Brave manages to achieve that goal. The 1973 preface brings good action and impact, and once the movie formally reveals Zedus about halfway into the story, we get some vivid material.

Brave brings erratic visual effects. Some of this work fares nicely, whereas other elements come across as more problematic.

The biggest disappointment stems from the depiction of Baby G at full size. After a charming CG depiction of the tiny turtle, the large one looks cheap and cheesy.

Big Baby G opts for throwback “man in suit” effects, as does Zedus. I guess the filmmakers wanted to do that as an homage to the series’ origins, but it doesn’t work – at least not for Baby G.

Zedus actually looks fairly good, but Baby G seems wholly unconvincing. After some reasonably solid effects, the reveal of googly-eyed Baby G becomes a notable flaw.

Despite a mix of issues, I kind of like Brave, as its strengths seem like enough to turn it into a mostly enjoyable action fantasy. Still, it disappoints somewhat, as it makes a few too many unforced errors along the way.

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

Gamera the Brave appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a mostly positive presentation.

Overall definition looked good. Wide shots showed mild softness at times – especially during effects elements – but the majority of the film appeared fairly accurate and concise.

I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes stayed absent. No print flaws cropped up either.

Brave offered a pretty standard amber and teal palette. These hues lacked creativity, but within the movie’s choices, the colors looked fine.

Blacks were dark and deep, and low-light shots showed good clarity and smoothness. I felt pleased with this image most of the time.

Given its monster movie status, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 opened up as one might expect. Elements were properly placed and moved about the setting in a convincing way.

The surrounds contributed a nice sense of space and involvement. Music depicted positive stereo imaging and the entire presentation offered a good feeling of environment.

Audio quality fared well. Speech was accurate and distinctive, without notable edginess or other issues.

Music sounded full-blooded and rich, as the score was rendered nicely. Effects showed good range and definition. They demonstrated solid low-end and were impressive across the board. Ultimately, this was a strong track.

An audio commentary from film historians Keith Aiken and Bob Johnson appears. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast/crew, the genre, and movie specifics.

Through the prior 11 commentaries, we got some very good discussions and some very bad discussions. Aiken and Johnson finish the set with a track that falls into the “lukewarm water” category: not great, but not bad.

They give us a decent array of notes about the franchise and the movie, but they never quite kick the commentary into a higher gear, and they tend to narrate the film a little too much. They also lose steam as the flick proceeds. There’s a moderate amount of content here, but the track fails to become better than mediocre.

An archival featurette, How to Make a Gamera Movie runs 37 minutes, 15 seconds and offers notes from director Ryuta Tazaki across the first seven minutes. He stands at a whiteboard and gives us basics about the production processes.

After that we hear from others involved in the film: lighting technician Toshiatsu Kozuma, physical effects technician Chuji Shimajiri, effects assistant Takumi Tamura, cinematographer Kazuhiro Suzuki, sound recordist Akihiko Kaku, recording technician Masato Yano, set designer Hiroshi Hayashida, hair and makeup designer Hiroko Nakamura, and actors Kanji Tsuda, Ryo Tomioka, Kaho, and Kaoru Okinuki.

“How” concludes with another visit from Tazaki, and we find plenty of behind the scenes footage interspersed with the interviews. “How” never becomes truly in-depth, but it offers a good overview of various production areas.

Another archival piece, Behind the Scenes goes for one hour, three minutes, 39 seconds and offers a narrated look at the film. The program mixes movie clips with shots from the set and a handful of comments from cast and crew.

Promotional in nature, “Behind” seems mediocre. The mix of praise from the narrator and heavy dollop of film clips means it doesn’t get as much time as I’d like for it to dig into the production. We get enough good glimpses of the shoot to merit a look, and the second half offers more substance.

With The Men That Made Gamera, we get a 43-minute, 16-second retrospective that covers the entire series from 1965 to 2006. We find comments from producer Hidemasa Nagata, SFX director Yonesaburo Tsukiji, sound designer Masao Ôsumi,1990s producer Tsutomu Tsuchikawa, 1990s/2006 VFX specialist Hajime Matsumoto, 2006 producers Yoichi Arishige and Hirohisa Mukuju, 3006 SFX director Isao Kaneka, and 2006 director Ryuta Tasaki.

Though touted as an overview of the franchise, “Made” really concentrates on the 1965 film before it leaps to a short piece about the 1990s flicks and then wraps with Brave. We get some good info, but the piece feels a bit disjointed and rushed.

Opening Day Premiere goes for five minutes, one second and shows cast/crew as they address the crowd at the movie’s debut. It proves less than enthralling.

Next comes Kaho’s Summer, a 10-minute, two-second reel that follows actor Kaho. I thought this would offer a production diary, but instead, we just watch the young actor as she poses for publicity photos. “Summer” couldn’t be less interesting if it tried.

Special Effects Supercut goes for 32 minutes, 32 seconds and comes with narration form visual effects supervisor Hajime Matsumoto and a mix of effects personnel only identified by surnames.

We watch the effects shots and get some info about them. This proves less useful than I’d hope, as their notes tend to feel banal.

In addition to three trailers and two TV spots, we finish with an Image Gallery. It offers 88 frames that mix shots from the film, behind the scenes elements and publicity materials. It becomes a good compilation.

As of 2020, 2006’s Gamera the Brave remains the character’s last cinematic adventure. The film proves an inconsistent tale, one that boasts enough positives to merit a look, but also one whose flaws make it a disappointment. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio along with a good mix of bonus materials. Brave offers a mostly enjoyable monster movie.

Note that as of August 2020, this Blu-ray version of Brave 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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