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.