Monday, July 15, 2024

Related Posts

Unearthed Classics, MVD Entertainment Group Score A Hit With ‘The Guyver’ Re-Issue

The dog days of summer are officially here again.  Their return is much earlier than in years past but that is a discussion for another time.  What with the weather being so hot across much of the country, many people are trying to find ways and reasons to stay indoors in the air conditioning.  Independent film company Unearthed Films and distributor MVD Entertainment Group have done just that today with the first-ever 4K re-issue of the classic campy science-fiction flick The Guyver.  Originally released in 1991 through New Line Cinema (the company also responsible for none other than the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and for Spawn), it is based on the Japanese manga title, Bio Booster Armor: The Guyver.  The 93-minute cinematic adaptation of that graphic novel series is a wonderful underrated and underappreciated piece of sci-fi cinema history that every science fiction fan should see.  That is due in no small part to its featured story, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its brand-new re-issue also plays into that appeal and will be examined a little later.  The packaging of the 3-disc presentation rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie and its new presentation.  All things considered they make the overall presentation one more of this year’s top new movie and television re-issues.

Unearthed Films’ brand-new 3-disc 4K re-issue of New Line Cinema’s action flick, The Guyver is a great revisiting of the classic sci-fi action flick.  The movie stands out in part because of its story.  The story, which runs not even two hours, is a classic underdog story, as with so many superhero flicks.  In the case of this story, all-American boy Sean Barker (Jack Armstrong – How to Get Away With MurderMr. MayorThe Boys in the Band) becomes the movie’s titular hero when he accidentally bonds with an extraterrestrial piece of hardware known as “The Unit.”  The bonding happens during a fight between Sean and a funnily ethnically diverse gang (which is discussed in one of the new commentaries that will be addressed later).  If that sounds familiar, it should.  Two of DC Comics’ three Blue Beetles became heroes much in the same way.  In becoming the Guyver, Sean ends up fighting a group of big bads known as “Zoanoids,” which are basically genetically altered humans.  If that one sounds familiar, it should, too.  That is because audiences see something so familiar in yet another DC title, Swamp Thing (which was originally released theatrically in 1982 by Swamp Films.  Its sequel, Return of Swamp Thing would go on to be released in 1989 by Lightyear Entertainment).  The Zoanoids are created by the Chronos Corporation, headed by the evil Zoalord, who is also known as Fulton Balcus (David Gale – The BrainRe-AnimatorBride of Re-Animator).  Eventually Sean and Fulton end up facing off against each other, with Sean coming out on top.  It is a pretty straightforward story and plays out in a relatively short run time that  progresses relatively fluidly at that.  Even more intriguing is that the story is based on the still popular belief that humans were created by aliens.  Yes, there are people out there in the real world who believe we as a race were created by beings from another world.  That is yet another discussion for another.  For the sake of this review though, it is a story element that fits into comic books and science fiction.  To that end, the straightforward story is easy for any viewer to follow.  In turn it makes this story an easy starting point for viewers’ engagement and entertainment.

The story is just part of what makes The Guyver so appealing to the noted audiences in its new re-issue.  The expansive bonus content that accompanies the movie in its brand-new 4K re-issue adds even more to the appeal.  One of the most notable of the bonuses is the new feature-length audio commentary from co-directors Screaming Mad George and Steve Wong.  Viewers learn a lot through the pair’s commentary, such as the revelation that this movie is only very loosely based on the manga by the same name.  Screaming Mad George admit the manga in to more devoted fans of the manga in question.  On a related note, he also reveals early on in the movie that the over-the-top comedic, campy nature of the movie’s look and feel was the result of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles having also released through New Line Cinema only a year prior.  As is revealed, apparently, some higher ups wanted the movie to be more kid friendly so as to reach a wider audience.  As a result, it ended up becoming far more campy than its sequel, which was more closely aligned with the manga source material.

On a somewhat related note, viewers also learn through the commentary that one person connected with Saban’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (which would come along two years after the movie’s release) also worked on The Guyver.  That might explain why MMPR had the campy look and feel that remains a big reason so many people remain fans of that landmark series to this day.

As if everything noted is not enough, audiences also learn from Screaming Mad George late in the movie, Mark Hammil (who actually played a supporting role in the movie, unlike being the star in his time on the Star Wars films) allegedly agreed to star in the movie after discovering that his character was going to be turned into a giant cockroach type creature.  If that is true, then it is shockingly hilarious.  It is one of so many wonderful anecdotes and other items shared by the duo along with everything else noted here.  To that end, this commentary is just one of the bonuses that makes this re-issue so worth watching.

The companion booklet that accompanies the re-issue adds its own engagement and entertainment, too.  That is because while the notes shared by author Dom O’Brien and movie soundtrack composer Matthew Morse are not necessarily comprehensive, they establish even more appreciation for the movie.  That is due to the background that they further develop for the movie.  O’Brien, for instance, adds to the commentary by Wang and Screaming Mad George about the use of actual live effects in the movie pre-CG era, noting how much those practical effects add to the sense of nostalgia and the better look of the movie.

Morse’s recollection on how he developed the movie’s soundtrack builds on the engagement as he reveals he had to appeal to both Screaming Mad George who “liked bands like Laibach and Skinny Puppy” and Wang, who “leaned toward scores from movies like Star Wars.”  Morse reveals the amount of work and thought that went into composing a score that would appeal to both men and that thankfully both directors liked his work.  To think, as Morse also reveals, it all started with a random call to the production offices where The Guyver was being made while Morse was working on music for an advertising campaign for Toyota.  That makes for all the more interest in all of this, showing even more why the movie’s companion booklet adds to the importance of the bonus content featured in this first-time re-issue.

Speaking of the movie’s soundtrack, that is yet another bonus with this re-issue.  As a final welcome touch, MVD Entertainment Group have included the movie’s full soundtrack to the package so that viewers can enjoy not only the movie, but its musical side as well as its story and all of those great vintage special effects.  What is interesting in hearing the soundtrack from beginning to end is that it really does fit the age.  That is because it has all of its own camp, what with certain accents on certain notes here and there, and a very distinct keyboard-driven approach, which actually was a signature of so much music in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  To that end, hearing this soundtrack not only gives audiences a full, clear glimpse into Morse’s creative process and the results therein but also serves as a sort of time capsule opened from a bygone era.  It adds that much more to the overall engagement and entertainment already ensured by the rest of the bonus content and the movie itself.  When the soundtrack and all of the rest of the bonus content featured with the movie is considered collectively, it all makes for so much reason for audiences to take in this movie.

The appeal does not end with the bonus content, either.  The re-issue’s packaging actually puts the finishing touch to the whole.  All three discs included in the new re-issue are placed on their own “plate” inside the case, which is itself ergonomically designed.  Being a case for a 4K release, it is the size of a single Blu-ray case, so it will not take up much space on any viewer’s movie rack.  The separation of the discs on their own spaces inside the case protects the discs from one another, thus eliminating concerns of them being marred.  The result is that the discs will have long lives as long as viewers take proper care of them.  Keeping this in mind, the packaging herein proves just as important to the presentation as the presentation’s content.  All things considered they make the whole of Unearthed Films and MVD Entertainment Group’s brand-new re-issue of The Guyver one of the best of this year’s new television and movie re-issues.

Unearthed Films and MVD Entertainment Group’s brand-new re-issue of New Line Cinema’s 1991 movie, The Guyver is a presentation that fans of this movie and of science fiction in general will find a wonderful offering from the companies.  Its appeal comes, as noted, through its story, which is straightforward, easy to follow and progresses fluidly.  That fluidity plays directly into the ease of following the story.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its new presentation is expansive and is just as certain to engage and entertain audiences as the story itself.  The re-issue’s packaging puts the finishing touch to the presentation and ensures viewers’ delight just as much as all of the content held within.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of The Guy’s re-issue.  All things considered they make this offering from New Line Cinema, Unearthed Classics and MVD Entertainment Group one more of this year’s top new television and cinema re-issues.

The Guyver is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Unearthed Classics is available at: