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.