Gammera the Invincible (1965)
Hello all, Nate here, I'm (sorta) back from my three-month vacation, refreshed and itching to watch me some crappy movies. Let's return (with some trepidation) to Daiei Studio's oft-maligned Gamera franchise. Oh yes.
Of the Showa-era Gamera series, we've already reviewed two of the sequels (here and here), but we've not yet tackled the series-starter (mostly because I like to do things backwards and without reason, just ask my ex-wives). To clarify, we'll be reviewing the butchered, Americanized version from Harris Corp that was released in 1966 (as opposed to the really butchered, doubleAmericanized version from Sandy Franks a few decades later). I'm guessing that only 1% of our reading audience has seen the original uncut Japanese version, and that the other 99% of you only know this movie from the Sandy Franks version, as that's what Joel and the 'bots tore up real good on the Satellite of Love. So, perhaps this will be a (relatively) new experience for most of you.
And for the record, Harris Corp decided to change the name of the titular monster from "Gamera" to "Gammera" for some inexplicable reason. I've heard it suggested that the name change was some sort of legal end-around to avoid some copyright law or something, but I think it's probably just because we American's are so awesome and "Gammera" looks better on a drive-in movie marquee than "Gamera".
Anyway, enough background mush, let's get to it. We open in the frozen Arctic north, the part that looks suspiciously like a studio backlot overfilled with Styrofoam snow and spray-painted cardboard igloos. A scientific expedition is ongoing, with a Japanese vessel surveying for the fabled Northwest Passage through the ice. At the same time, a famous zoologist (oxymoron if there ever was one) is out on the ice doing his own research.
"Welcome to Alaska, would you like some walrus jerky?"
I know all this because of the droning, institutional-grade voice-over that Harris Corp dubbed into their cut. This is common in these types of genre films, we b-movie fans seem to have no patience for plot development the natural way, we want to know exactly who is doing what as quickly as possible. It does, however, let us know that the Japanese science team consists of the requisite three parts: a brilliant, if eccentric, scientist/professor, his way-too-hot lab assistant, and a plucky reporter/future romantic foil. Rest assured that they all have muddled Japanese names that are totally impossible to remember.
The Professor and his special lady friend.
Japan loves reporters.
We're not exactly sure yet what they are doing up here by the Arctic Circle, but the Professor is apparently well enough known that even the wise old village elder knows of his work (sure). As they shake hands with the local Inuits (in their authentic Eskimoy L.L. Bean parkas and fake snow-tans), the village is buzzed by a quartet of Rooskie bombers that come whooshing over in the darkened sky.
Kit-bashed M-4 Bisons, though they added the dangling engine pods.
Word is relayed from the science ship (via Morse Code, really?) to the American Air Defense HQ in Alaska. We go here now to meet a bunch of random military types wandering around in what looks more like "a back office of the El Segundo Dodge-Chrysler dealership down on Loyola Drive" than "a high-tech military command post". I've not seen the original Japanese cut of this film, but I assume all these insert scenes with these bland, forgettable English-speaking hacks were added later by the American distributors. The only notable thing is that there's an actual black man here at the radar HQ, an officer, no less, and he has plot-relevant lines of dialogue and everything! Do you have any idea how rare this is in b-movies of this era?
I'm looking for unicorns and openly gay men now.
There's also clearly going to be some pointless subplot here with a cute, bob-haired secretary being sexually harassed by a couple of her male co-workers (all uniformed US military personnel on duty, not for nothing). I don't know why we are seeing this, other than to remind us that for women in the 1960s the workplace must have been a hellish nightmare of unwanted advances and uncomfortable leering (didn't we know that already?). We don't care about these people at all, just show us something exploding.
Anyway, reports of four unidentified blips "heading for our missile sites" come in over the teletype and everyone perks up. Remember that this was the height of the Cold War and the US Air Force was ever-vigilant in the skies, protecting the soft bosom of our fair nation from the ravages of the godless Commie Rooskies. Word is passed to a pair of USAF fighter jets in the area and they are told to shoot down the bogies if they resist. This potentially is WWIII about to happen, though no one really seems that worked up about it other than to walk slightly faster between desks.
Kit-bashed F-106 Delta Darts, and, yes, that is a visible wire.
Defend our vulnerable bosoms, brave flier!
The ensuing dogfight in the sky over northern Alaska, all done with plastic models strung on wires, is actually pretty awesome. The Japanese studios throughout the Kaiju era definitely knew how to do scale model work, refining it to an art form by the 1960s. It was generally so good, in fact, that movies for decades after reused their shots of model planes and tanks crashing and bashing around. In my opinion, and I realize I'm in the minority, practical model work done right looks a whole lot better than those cobbled-together stock footage clips that most Western b-movies tried to pass off as "action scenes".
Who knew that the Russians built their strategic bombers
out of lighter fluid-soaked cardboard boxes?
The Americans shoot down one of the Rooskie planes in a hail of missiles, though, to be fair, the Commies shot first so they got what they deserved. The bomber, on fire from wing tip to wing tip, crashes within sight of the Japanese scientific survey mission down on the ice. The plane explodes in a billowing mushroom cloud, signaling that it was carrying a nuclear bomb (with a seriously faulty safety pin on the detonator). At the Inuit camp, they worry about the radioactive fallout's effect on their hairdos. What they should really worry about is that nuclear explosion just unleashed from beneath the ice cap a colossal, radioactive, flame-breathing, toothy, mutant turtle! It's Gamera! Or, if you are this movie, Gammera! On second thought, that sounds shitty, let's just go with Gamera from here on out, ok?
I'm not playing your game, America.
Let's step out of the movie for a second and talk about 1965. With the all the distractions of the space race and James Bond and naked hippy chicks, did the world really need a giant, radioactive, flame-breathing, toothy, mutant turtle? Well, it probably didn't, but in 1965, Japan's Daiei Studios was looking across Tokyo Bay at its rival Toho Studios as it raked in zillions of yen from its own stable of giant, radioactive, toothy monsters (Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, etc) and getting a little jealous. Looking to cash in on the Kaiju craze of the day, and surely tired of churning out chaste comedies and derivative kung fu movies all the time, Daiei Studios came up with their own guy-in-a-monster-suit franchise, this one starring a flying turtle with laser beam eyes and warthog tusks. I know, I know, but is that really any more stupid than a giant moth with laser beam eyes, or whatever the hell Gigan was?
Gamera makes nice toys.
Anyway, back to the film. The seismic wave from the nuke radiates, the polar ice cracks, steam spews, and throbbing disco lights flash (from breaking ice?). From the abyss emerges a monstrous beast, Gamera, released from his frosty slumber. And as the opening credits appear on the screen, superimposed over this rather dramatic creature entrance, I'll turn it over to Pam for part two.
Science proves that Gamera is real.
Thanks, Nate. After the ice settles down and the lights stop flashing, Gamera appears in all his scaly glory. He's much shorter than Godzilla (we'll hear shortly he's between 150 and 200 feet tall), but he can walk on his hind legs and breathe fire just like Godzilla. He has a couple of things going for him that Godzilla doesn't, namely elbows and hands. Not only hands, but hands with four fingers and opposable thumbs. Surely this suggests that Gamera is more highly evolved than Godzilla, and not, perish the thought, just a stuntman inside a turtle suit. All you doubters out there can just shut up, why shouldn't a giant turtle have opposable thumbs? Like you're an expert on giant turtles! And don't even ask why the explosion and radiation didn't kill Gamera, I don't want to hear it...
Plus, Gamera gets all the babes.
Anyway, back to our hero. I know if an atomic bomb landed close to my house and woke me up, I'd be rather cross, and Gamera is also in a bad mood. He stomps around a little and spots the Japanese ship. Without stopping to ask if they were responsible for the explosion, he starts spewing fire, swinging his head around like a flamethrower. His stomps also break the ice and shake the ship up considerably, and between the fire and the motion, the ship goes down. It seems that they were able to get off a distress call but didn't say (or maybe didn't know) what caused them to sink.
Ignore the nozzle.
It seems that there are no survivors, and the only clue as to what happened is a report from one of the American pilots, who swears he saw a giant turtle destroy the ship, then disappear. His superiors understandably find this hard to believe, but nobody has a better explanation, because the ship was well out of blast range of the bomb. Meanwhile, the Japanese zoologist is presented with a mysterious carving by the Eskimo elder. The carving depicts a very large turtle surrounded by waves, which, however, don't really look like ocean waves, as the zoologist points out. Oh, what can this mean? Can we wait to find out?
Our heroes check out the rock.
Would Eskimo Charleston Heston lie to you?
We're going to have to, because next comes a good ten minutes' worth of gab while the Japanese scientists, American scientists, and American military and government officials debate at endless length on whether or not there really is such a thing as a giant turtle that has been embedded in ice for countless millennia. (Unfortunately this happens in separate scenes -- if it all happened at once in one giant free-for-all, it might have been interesting.) I assume most of this was inserted by Harris Corp when they edited the movie for American release. It's about nine minutes longer than it had to be, but it does give the viewer a chance to snicker at some really bad acting.
Le Monde, the Kaiju newspaper of choice.
Finally, just when I was about to give up and ask Nate if we couldn't review another movie instead of this one, the debates end and something happens. We see an elderly man carrying a paper lantern and wearing a kimono, a clue that we're now in Japan. He's stumbling and singing to himself and seems to be in a very happy place, but he's briefly pulled out by the sight of a glowing disk flying by. He exclaims something in Japanese, although what it is I don't know, because there were no subtitles. Probably something along the lines of, "Gosh, a glowing disk! I wonder what that's doing up there?" We'll have to wait to find out what the glowing disk is.
Someone call Art Bell!
There's no sign that the man told anybody about this, and judging by his complexion, unexplained visual sightings are probably not a rare occurrence with him, so it's doubtful anybody believed him if he did say anything. Anyway, we have a complete change of scene now and go to somewhere close to the sea, where a young Japanese woman is walking. Her stroll is interrupted by the arrival of a man on a bicycle, and what he says gives her cause for concern. The man appears to be a teacher, and he has a problem to report with someone named "Toshio." Toshio, it seems, has a thing for turtles, to the point where it's seriously affecting his schoolwork. He draws turtles instead of doing his schoolwork. In fact, if Toshio doesn't shape up soon, he's going to be expelled. The woman looks worried and goes home, where we find out that her father is a lighthouse keeper and Toshio is her much younger brother, who looks to be about eight or nine years old.
I hate pan-and-scan cuts...
My reaction at this point is to say, "Oh, gawd, not a Kenny! I don't think I can stand to watch the rest of this movie if there's a Kenny in it. Nate, what have you gotten us into?" However, looking at Toshio gives me grounds for hope. First, he's wearing long pants, not pedophile microshorts. Second, instead of being perky, annoyingly cute, and smarter than anyone else in the movie, he seems to be sullen and withdrawn. Toshio does seem to be a kid who might have something of a problem in dealing with the real world, which could make for a more interesting movie. Anyway, getting back to the action, his father and sister tell him firmly that he must get over his turtle obsession, and the first step in doing this is to release his tiny pet turtle into the wild.
Toshio's family means well, but their methods are harsh.
Poor Toshio is heartbroken at this, and I can't blame him. The turtle is very small and probably won't be able to survive in the wild, but his father puts his foot down, and Toshio, obedient son that he is, sadly takes his pet outside. Don't cry for Toshio, though, because he's about to come across another turtle, and I'm sure everybody knows who it is. Yes, our hero Gamera chooses this moment to raise his head and look at Toshio. And at this point, not without a feeling of relief, I turn the review back over to Nate.
Hmm...are we sure he's not a Kenny?
Thanks, Pam, rest a while, you've had a busy day. And, yes, so far Gammera the Invincible has been dragging along at a turtle's pace (non-flying variety). To be fair, however, the first Godzilla movie (reviewed here, btw) also lurched and sputtered along for the first third between infrequent monster sightings. Of course, the quality of the acting and writing in the first Godzilla was on a different level than what we see here, so it didn't bother you that much. Origin stories are, by nature, exposition-heavy, it's not until the sequels that you can just jump right into the mayhem and keep it rolling.
Toshio understands the need for consistent background development.
Anyway, our first action set piece is Gamera at Toshio's dad's lighthouse. For some reason (and please don't let it be because he senses that Toshio loves turtles) Gamera decides to alight nearby and growl and roar a bit to an audience of frightened locals (who aren't as frightened as they should be considering there's a giant radioactive mutant turtle standing nearby). This is the first of many times when Gamera is able to "sneak up" on unsuspecting humans for a cheap "jumping cat" scare, which is odd as you would think an 80 ton monster's footsteps would be something that you'd feel/hear coming for miles away. You'd also presumably be able to hear a beast that big breathing for miles around and maybe even smell it (ever sniff a turtle, not pretty).
Some nicely done mattes in this movie, I'll give them that.
So Toshio, being a Kenny, runs towards the big monster for some reason and ends up dangling precariously from the railing of the lighthouse observation deck. He falls, but who should catch him in his pillowy soft outstretched hand but Gamera. Like King Kong with a blonde in a dress, Gamera then gently lowers Toshio to the ground before smashing up the lighthouse a bit, just to keep people from getting the idea he's a big softy (got to keep up his reputation, after all). In Toho's Godzilla versus Megaguirus, I noted that series' sole instance of a human physically touching Godzilla and living and what a shocking moment that was for me, so it will be interesting to see if Toshio's catch-and-release here is also such a rare occurrence in the Gamera-world. Things like this keep me up at night, I swear.
Some sizing issues with the hand prop,
but we're willing to look the other way this one time.
Back to the Professor and his two stalkers, his hot lab assistant and the reporter guy (who just follow him around doing nothing of value other than collecting paychecks). The Professor has overnight become the go-to authority on giant radioactive turtles because...well, because he...wait, why again? Just because he happened to be in the neighborhood when Gamera first emerged? Surely there are other people in the academic world who are just as, if not more, adept at robbing university research grant money for Testudine-related studies? Is it his bitchin' rock star mustache? Is his brother the Prime Minister? It must be something because even the Japanese military seems to be totally deferring to the Professor on everything, including technical details of military operations.
The Professor speaks, we listen.
The second action set piece is Gamera mauling a geothermal plant in Hokkaido (northernmost island of Japan). The Professor, whose zoology degree apparently needed a lot more interdisciplinary elective classes than you'd imagine, says with absolute certainty that Gamera is attracted to electrical energy as his primary source of food. Which, of course, is a rip-off of nuke-chowing Godzilla, but in a way, this entire movie is a rip-off of Toho's famous green beast (not that there's anything wrong with that). The actual attack on the power plant is classic suit-mation cheese, with the profusely sweating stuntman in the rubber suit stomping around a dimly lit soundstage, wailing and flailing at balsa wood and cardboard miniature buildings while trying not to fall over and ruin the take. It's not bad for a first effort, certainly on par with the mid to late 1960s Godzilla outings, at a time when quality control was slipping a bit.
Nice foot-level shot here.
The soldiers watch helplessly.
The JSDF encircles the area and opens up with artillery and tank fire, after first failing to stop Gamera with charged electrical lines (thanks for nothing, Professor). Most of the attack is stock footage of military maneuvers (typical tanks and guns and booms), but there are a couple of nicely built model missile trucks and a gaggle of Saber jet fighters swinging in on strings. The "pwings!" and "prangs!" on the soundtrack are laughable, but they do a good job matching up the sound effects with the bottle rockets bouncing off the rubber suit.
Of course the military fails to put a dent in the monster, doing little more than annoy him and get dust in his eyes. In the Godzilla movies it's just assumed that Kaiju are impervious to human weaponry, but here they make somewhat of an effort to explain this. The Professor meets up with another smartyhead type (with an awesome Einstein hairdo) and they postulate that Gamera's cells might be made of metal or silicon and that's why they can deflect howitzer shells.
So the General suggests that they use their experimental super special freezing bombs that have recently been developed for putting out fires and such. The thinking being that Gamera was originally frozen in the icecap, so maybe if they can lower his body temperature down enough, he'll go back into stasis. This shows up later in Gamera versus Barugon when Barugon uses his freezing spitter to incapacitate Gamera for a length of time, so it's nice to see some continuity down the line. And, yes, in a way, Toho ripped off this idea with the Cadmium freezing bombs in one of the later Heisei series Godzilla movies, but we'll forgive them.
Not sure why the Hot Lab Assistant gets to sit in on meetings with the military.
Maybe she takes good notes.
Gamera helpfully wanders into the mountains and away from easily-crushed miniature sets and the military sets a trap. The freezing bombs seem to be working and Gamera is unable to move. They only have 10 minutes, however, before the chemicals wear off so they set some dynamite on the ridge below him and boom! Gamera falls on his back and everyone cheers, because, as even elementary school kids know, turtles can't turn themselves over. Yay! Now they can take him back to the lab and dissect him and write thesis papers on isolated gigantism in prehistoric reptilian species. But Gamera's not down yet! He pulls his head and limbs in and sparks and flames shoot out of vents! He flies off into the air with a whoosh. If I may digress, my main problem with Gamera is this ability to fly, as it seems to have no evolutionary or adaptive reason for being other than "damn, that looks cool!". You can (sorta) buy a giant turtle, you can (ish) see how it could breath fire, you can (if you squint) understand how it might be able to absorb energy, but any right-thinking person simply cannot accept that any terrestrial creature developed the ability to spin around like a sparkly top and fly off into space at Mach 15.
"Brrr...I so cold..."
Where is the fuel for these jets coming from anyway?
With Gamera gone for the time being (where is he?), we have another long, long talky segment to pad out the running time. I've said about every Godzilla movie that it seems like Japan is completely alone in the world to face the rampages of Big G and his monster cohorts, while the rest of the world just flips channels and goes about their business. But in this movie, much to my surprise, they make a pretty substantial effort to show how the other great powers of the United Nations (Americans in particular) are working together to help out the Japanese in their time of need. And while it's true that they are more worried that Gamera will end up stomping down Pennsylvania Avenue one day, the Americans also seem genuinely concerned for the safety of the ordinary Japanese citizen. How much of this America-as-world-savior bias was added in the Harris Corp edit is unknown, but I suspect that it's most, if not, all.
"You must love us."
Of course, I'm distracted by the chintzy United Nations set they used here, which seems to be little more than a cramped hotel room with a couple of folding tables set up along the wall. To show that the UN is truly representative of all the races and cultures of the world, they have a token black guy in an African tribal smock and a faintly Arabic dude in a Shriner's fez sitting quietly in the corner while the rich old white men talk about saving the world. The main thing to take away from all this is that the USA and the Rooskies grudgingly agree to turn over their nuclear arsenals to the Japanese to fight Gamera off (that's not going to end well).
Nigerian ambassador Richard Roundtree
agrees that America is way more awesome than his nation.
Meanwhile, Toshio and his family come to Tokyo to see the Professor and his stalkers. It seems they all know each other, or maybe not, it's not clear. This really gives Toshio a chance to wax about turtles and how Gamera just needs to be loved and hugged. It also gives us a much better look at this movie's two female leads, the Hot Lab Assistant and Toshio's Sister (though, frankly, I can't tell them apart half the time). When this movie was released in 1965, playing over in the next theater was Toho's Godzilla versus Monster Zero, staring the lovely and talented Kumi Mizuno in a very meaty role. If there was one thing that the Godzilla movies did right, it was to understand that audiences wanted a strong (and sexy) female lead to counterbalance all the macho men and exploding helicopters. So far, the Gamera series has failed to follow this cue, its female characters are little more than background extras and eye-candy, and that's a shame.
The Hot Lab Assista...wait, maybe this is Toshio's Sister.
Or is this Toshio's Sister? Ah hell, who cares, they might
as well be the same character for all the relevance they have to the plot.
Gamera has been out flying around now for a week, being seen near the world's most photographable landmarks like a Connecticut retiree tourist. All the world's turtle scientists gather in Tokyo for a conference, led, obviously, by the Professor. Word is that Gamera is lurking around Tokyo Bay now, surely up to no good for no good reason. The Professor explains that now that they know where Gamera is located, they can implement "Plan Z" for his defeat. Just what is this fantastically named Plan Z? I'll let Pam tell you.
Japanese Tom Brokaw explains the dangers of turtles.
I can't wait to find out myself, Nate, but the movie wants to tease us just a little longer. First it has to show us just what a bad, bad boy Gamera has been. His little escapade at the geothermal plant is going to cost "millions!" Still, what can you expect from a turtle? The scientists have determined that Gamera needs to eat fire to survive, so the poor thing was only foraging for food. Hmm...could Plan Z be to light a gigantic torch that will burn continuously, providing Gamera with the food he needs and keeping him in a safely isolated area of his own free will? I must call the international council of scientists immediately and tell them of my brilliant idea!
Just call the Professor, he's calling all the shots here.
Whatever Plan Z is, the Professor is rather pleased to hear that Gamera seems to be back in Tokyo. He mentions that there is a dormant volcano on Oshima Island in Tokyo Bay (which is true), so I'm getting the impression that my idea may not be so far off the mark after all. The island also contains a space installation and weather observatory. Gamera obligingly turns up at an oil refinery near Oshima Island, after disrupting air traffic at Haneda Airport. You know, I never thought about this, but giant flying animals would be a real hazard in many ways, wouldn't they?
"I demand my own designated airspace corridor,
something between 10 and 20,000 feet would be nice."
Gamera seems to be in a bad mood, even though he's got plenty of his favorite snack handy. He rampages around a little more, and now we learn a little more about Plan Z. Once Gamera is busy at the refinery, a trail of oil will be laid across the water to Oshima Island, and then set on fire to lure Gamera to the island. So I guess I wasn't too far wrong about Plan Z.
Tokyo's urban renewal planning and zoning board's
final solution to all those ramen bars and strip clubs downtown.
Hey, if Mothra can mess up the Tokyo Tower, why can't Gamera?
Meanwhile, Toshio is still fixated on Gamera. As his sister packs in preparation for evacuation, Toshio stands at an open window, rocks back and forth, and intones, "Don't do that." This sounds like the typical know-it-all Kenny, but when you watch him, he looks more like an autistic child. Toshio has issues, all right. As they prepare to leave the area, Toshio breaks away from his sister and runs out to try to find Gamera. He's caught, but he stows away in a box that will be shipped to Oshima Island. This time he makes it, and when he's found, the Professor smiles and gives him permission to stay. Letting a child stay at the place where Gamera is being lured to seems like a very bad idea, but maybe they can't spare any transportation to take him back. Also, it looks as though the Professor knows Toshio quite well, and it's not clear how. Maybe it was in the original movie but was cut out of the American version. I really need to see the original version to find out what's missing from this one.
Little kids shouldn't ride on train cars, it's dangerous.
Though, in Toshio's case, by all means, ride away.
Plan Z seems straightforward, but as we all know, "the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley," and sadly Plan Z is no exception. The oil on the water has been set on fire, and Gamera is obligingly following the fiery trail to the island, sucking it up as he goes, when just then a typhoon suddenly appears and blows out the fire! What horrible luck! Then the plucky reporter, who hasn't had much to do in this movie, appears and sets fire to some buildings on the island to draw Gamera there. Unfortunately, the same typhoon causes rain that puts out the fires! Oh, it's looking bad for the humans now, but Somebody must be watching over them, because right now the volcano erupts! Gamera of course heads toward it, and this time he makes it to the island. Yay!
"I will save Tokyo, with my jaunty scarf!"
Nice try, guys, but if nuclear bombs won't harm Gamera,
you might as well put your dinky little machineguns back in the truck.
Now we see the finale of Plan Z. A switch is thrown in the observation building, and small jets of fire spring up on the ground. Gamera is attracted to them, although you'd think the volcano would be much more tempting. Once he's inside the ring of fire (cue Johnny Cash), he steps onto a metal saucer, the ground opens, two curved pieces of metal rise up and close around him, and Gamera is encapsulated and ready for transport. Without further ado, Gamera is blasted into space, and the threat to our fair planet has been removed.
Thanks for standing still, Gamera, most helpful.
Do the math, for 200 foot tall/80 ton Gamera to fit in that capsule,
that rocket has to be like 1,500 feet tall and 2,000 tons.
Know how much kinetic energy it would take to get 2,080 tons of mass into orbit, a lot.
Toshio was watching the whole thing in the observation building, and I expected to see him committing seppuku now that his bestest friend is gone, but instead he's all smiles. We can hope this means that he's finally back in the real world and realizes that a 200-foot-tall turtle that breathes fire when annoyed makes a lousy playmate. Well, no, not really. Toshio has a plan. He's going to become a scientist and follow Gamera to Mars. Somebody get the poor kid some therapy!
Or, in lieu of therapy bills, perhaps someone could get Toshio a kitten?
This movie is a sad contrast to the Godzilla movies, even the later ones. No matter how stupid the plot or how low the budget, Toho always managed to include some memorable characters in its Godzilla movies, although it's true that sometimes they weren't memorable in a good way. Compare this to the cardboard characters we see here, except for crazy little Toshio. (Note to Nate: you can tell the Hot Lab Assistant apart from Toshio's Sister, because the Hot Lab Assistant's hair is longer. Other than that, they're pretty much alike.) Come to think of it, Toshio isn't the only weird person we see in a Gamera movie. In Gamera versus Barugon, the heroine Karen displayed some very odd reactions at times. Did Daiei have its own version of Ed Wood doing some scriptwriting? To point out another flaw, in most scenes, it's painfully obvious that Gamera is just a stuntman in a turtle suit. And what's with the scientist with the glasses and the beard? Was it ever the style in Japan for men to have their hair finger-waved?
A Google image search informs me that all Japanese men look exactly like this.
Why would Google lie to me?
What's your final opinion of this fine movie, Nate?
Well, Pam, I have to say that I enjoyed this one, if for no other reason that I always get some sort of primal joy out of watching a giant monster stomp around some hapless metropolitan area. It's clear, however, that Daiei Studios was aiming for a different audience than Toho, as this movie seems to have been made for people who found Godzilla movie plots to be way too difficult to follow. And I hate Toshio.
Written in December 2011 by Nathan Decker and Pam Burda.
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