Digi-Schlock: GAMERA VS. BARUGON (Shout! Factory DVD)

Shout! Factory’s disc of the first Gamera film was an impressive effort that delivered its oft-disrespected subject with a high-quality transfer and informative yet entertaining supplemental materials.  Thankfully, they’ve maintained this level of quality on this  second installment of the Gamera series.

This new disc features a fresh, hi-definition transfer of the uncut Japanese version of Gamera Vs. Barugon: it runs 100 minutes, unlike the truncated A.I.P.-T.V.  War Of The Monsters version that can be found on budget discs of this title.  This was the first Gamera film to be shot in color and the disc does a nice job of conveying the film’s vintage color scheme.  The audio portion of the transfer retains the original Japanese mono mix, included here with English subtitles.  Neither of the existing English language dubs is included but that fits the disc’s serious approach to its cinematic subject.

Shout! Factory has also assembled a few classy supplements to back up the disc’s strong transfer.  The most substantial is a commentary track featuring  author and kaiju-eiga expert August Ragone (returning from Shout Factory’s first Gamera disc) along with fellow expert and translator Jason Varney.

Said commentary track is action-packed, with Ragone and Varney laying out credits and background info for virtually every actor who appears on screen as well as frequent examples of the differences between the script and the finished film.  They also reveal plenty of fascinating trivia, like pointing out an extra who would go on to play Sada Abe in a Teruo Ishii film and the fact that Gamera Vs. Barugon cinematographer Michio Takahashi also shot Alain Resnais’s arthouse classic Hiroshima Mon Amour(!).

Unfortunately, there is no trailer for the film but there are three different image galleries: one for stills, another for publicity photos and a final one that includes images for the film’s Japanese pressbook.  There is also a booklet insert in the DVD case that features lead actor Kojiro Hongo reflecting on his history with the Gamera series, including a very funny story of how he initially tried to dodge being cast in Gamera Vs. Barugon!  The booklet also includes biographies for the film’s characters and a fun scientific-style diagram of Barugon.

All in all, Shout! Factory’s disc of Gamera Vs. Barugon offers solid value for money.  Some collectors might be disappointed by the lack of English dubs but it remains a well-crafted disc whose fan-friendly approach is likely to please the kaiju-eiga faithful.  Anyone who loves the Gamera films should check it out.

Gamera Vs. Barugon

Gamera Vs. Barugon

NTSC, Region 1, Color1.85:1 (Widescreen)JapaneseEnglish Run TimeRatingNo. DiscsOrig. Release 106 minutesNR11966 As a special bonus gift for placing your order at ShoutFactory.com, we’re throwing in a collectible Gamera Postcard Pack, featuring postcards from all 8 films being released! Free! Click to Enlarge: Download Desktop Wallpaper:

3 Replies to “Digi-Schlock: GAMERA VS. BARUGON (Shout! Factory DVD)”

  1. Saw this last night. It’s a truly amazing print of my favorite Gamera film and a must own for kaiju fans. That said, the commentary track is far from “action-packed” and is in fact dull as ditchwater, with the commentators just reading from a script and giving us huge chunks of trivia in a droning monotone regardless of what’s on screen. I actually thought the practice of giving at least 5 to 10 other credits for EVERY actor in film, even some of the extras, again while important scenes are running, got downright exasperating. But again the disc has the best American print ever of a unique film, so well worth it.

    1. To each his own, Double C. I know only a limited amount about kaiju-eiga so the commentary was pretty engaging to these ears. I also liked its good-natured tone: the two participants seemed genuinely excited and enthusiastic as they tried to share literally every fact they knew related to the movie (which is why I considered it action-packed). Sorry you didn’t like it.

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