by Armand Vaquer
Above, the Tokyo premiere of "Gamera The Brave." I am in the center waiting to get into the theater. This is a screen capture from the Region 2 DVD.
Following the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, my concern and concentration was on Matsushima Bay and Sendai, which were hit hard by the quake and tsunami.
Despite my focus on Sendai and Matsushima, it dawned on me recently that it was five years ago last month that I visited both Sendai and Matsushima Bay in Tohoku. The visit was a highlight of that trip.
Above, at the premiere of "Gamera The Brave," I am at the souvenir table in this screen capture from the Region 2 DVD.
The other highlight of that April 2006 trip to Japan was attending the premiere of Gamera The Brave at the Piccadilly Theaters in the Yurakucho Mullion Building in Tokyo. The Japanese Region 2 DVD has a separate disc containing extras, including the Tokyo premiere. I am in a couple of shots in the premiere footage.
Gamera The Brave was an enjoyable little movie and greatly underrated. It brought Gamera back to his "friend of the children" roots and it was tailored to younger audiences. But it was scripted in such a way that it wouldn't make adult viewers cringe in their seats. It also had good special effects (on a par with Godzilla x Mothra x Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)). The kid actors did a good job.
The premiere was packed to capacity. Unfortunately, the movie failed to wow them at the box office during its run. Had it been even a modest hit, Kadokawa Pictures would have been able to make sequels. The movie deserved better.
Tokyo Shock released the DVD in the U.S. It is probably now out-of-print. But if one should find a copy, I recommend watching the Japanese language version with English subtitles. The dubbed version is atrocious. At least the viewer is given a choice.
Sure has been a fast five years!
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