Sunday, 20 March 2011


I've really got to be in the right mood for a kaiju movie -that's Japanese giant monsters to you. Usually this means Godzilla as I have a rather large collection from the three different periods these movies were made. But when I saw these two double-backed on one DVD I just couldn't resist.

Gamera is Godzilla's dumb cousin -metaphorically speaking, that is, they aren't really related. Gamera suffers by having to be a man on his knees in a giant turtle suit. This means he isn't very agile, his arms are short. and he can't throw very well. When Gamera hurls a boulder at an opponent, he more or less lifts it up and lets it go and by some miracle it shoots straight at the enemy monster. He does have a fiery breath but it's nowhere near as effective as Godzilla's radioactive blasts.

Fortunately, the enemies from outer space who want to destroy the world with their giant monsters are so dumb that a ten year old boy can usually outwit them as happens in both these films. This is because Gamera is a friend to children and he can apparently hear them calling his name from miles away. Plus they were made for the kiddie audience which doesn't explain why I'm watching them.
I'm not going to pay much attention to Gamera vs Zigra (see them fighting above) as most of the best bits appear in Gamera The Super Monster which is basically clips from half a dozen other Gamera movies cobbled together about ten years after they were made in a kind of Gamera's Greatest Fights. Here, aliens from outer space have come hunting down 3 space women who escaped from their destroyed planet. This compilation movie was cobbled together around 1980 which is why the bad guys ship looks like a star cruiser from Star Wars (and it wouldn't surprise me it was a star cruiser from Star Wars).

Once they arrive, they send down their agent who looks just like a young Japanese woman as do the three space women. The bad girl, however, gets blamed every time one of their monsters fails to defeat Gamera which is hardly her fault. Okay, maybe she can't outwit a 10 year old boy and fails dismally to kill the space women. The space women's leader is tall with very short hair, wears trousers and reminds me of a lesbian dominatrix -but that could just be me and my interest did perk up whenever she was onscreen.
This is Gamera chomping on Viras the three-legged alien octopus.
For fans of Japanese cartoons, there are two dream sequences which feature them and Gamera, onc of which I'm sure was Battle Cruiser Yamamoto.

Okay, these two films are very silly, not terribly well made, and great to laugh at. Alternatively you can sit down with a youngish child and enjoy them together. You may, however, want to put your hands over your ears when they play Gamera's theme song.

No comments: