Author Topic: Gamera!  (Read 2704 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Gamera!
« on: February 27, 2016, 09:59:47 PM »


Gamera: The Giant Monster  (Daikaiju Gamera)
Year of Release: 1965
Directed By: Noriaki Yuasa
Starring: Eiji Funakoshi, Harumi Kiritachi, Junichiro Yamashita, Jun Hamamura
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Disaster, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
During the height of the Cold War, East-West tensions lead to a nuclear disaster when a Soviet bomber is shot down over U.S. airspace in the Arctic! Massive radiation from the atomic explosion awakens an ancient, gargantuan creature — a long-forgotten legend of the lost continent of Atlantis — GAMERA! Unleashed from its glacial tomb and proving impervious to all man-made weapons, the colossal chelonian smashes a cataclysmic swath across the globe! Can the scientists of the world, led by Dr. Hidaka (Eiji Funakoshi, Fires On The Plain), find a way to stop this invincible supermonster . . . or is mankind doomed?

Directed by Noriaki Yuasa (who would oversee all eight of the original Gamera entries of the 1960s and 1970s) and created by the same studio that brought Zatoichi to the screen, Daiei's titanic terrapin became the only true rival to Toho's King Of The Monsters. Gamera was able to hold its own at the box office and secured a place in the hearts of kaiju eiga (Japanese monster movie) fans around the world.

Now, for the first time on DVD, Shout! Factory presents the original Japanese version of Gamera with new English subtitles and anamorphic widescreen from an all-new HD master created from vault elements!

My Thoughts:
Introducing Gamera! His origin story! See him rudely awakened by the blast of the bomb! See him bring destruction as he goes forth in anger! and hunger! He breathes fire! He flies! Watch mankind tremble as they realize their weapons are ineffective!

In truth, not a bad opening film. More than a bit of a rip-off of Godzilla, but Gamera isn't created by the bomb, he's simply awakened by it. He's a force of nature rather than mutated by man's weapons. The story's very thin, but we have lots of scenes of Gamera rampaging and causing destruction. Fun kaiju film, and if you're going to watch the old Gamera films, I'd definitely start with the first one.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3/5
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 10:47:58 PM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
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Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2016, 10:07:21 PM »



Gamera vs. Barugon  (Daikaiju ketto: Gamera tai Barugon)
Year of Release: 1966
Directed By: Tanaka Shigeo
Starring: Hongou Koujirou, Enami Kyouko, Hayakawa Yuuzou, Fujioka Takuya
Genre: Science-Fiction, Disaster, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
Once the fear of Tokyo, Gamera returns to Earth to save it from the malevolent monster Barugon who is able to freeze anything its path. This unholy battle between fire and ice challenges the survival of mankind while bringing them an incredible slam-bang, knock-down monster slug-fest!

My Thoughts:
Witness the birth of Barugon! See him shoot his freeze ray! Cower before his magnificent and terrible rainbow!

If you think that a rainbow-shooting monster is absurd, Barugon isn't the silliest of Gamera's foes. He's actually a kinda cool monster, especially the contrast of his cold powers to Gamera's fire. We again have the theme of unstoppable forces of nature awakened by mankind's greed/stupidity. Gamera is still very much a force of nature here - he's not so much fighting on the side of humanity as he is against Barugon. There's also a lack of any annoying child characters. Not the best of the Showa films, but not the worst either.

Bechdel Test: Fail
 
Overall: 2.75/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2016, 10:41:30 PM »


Gamera vs. Gyaos  (Daikaiju kuchusen: Gamera tai Gyaosu)
Year of Release: 1967
Directed By: Noriaki Yuasa
Starring: Kojiro Hongo, Reiko Kasahara, Taro Marui, Yoshio Kitahara
Genre: Science-Fiction, Disaster, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
The third entry of this classic monster series continues when a volcanic eruption awakens Gyaos, a gigantic vampire-like bat who has a ravenous hunger for blood. Gyaos is Gamera's most popular foe, returning in four more films (not counting the stock footage in SUPER MONSTER). Can the fire-spitting terrapin Gamera defeat this nocturnal beast?

My Thoughts:
Gyaos has emerged from his cave! He is hungry! Humans are the perfect size for snacking! See him generate great wind with his wings! Witness his sonic scream cut through almost anything! Gamera is all that stands between Gyaos and humanity's snacktastic end!

One of the best of the Showa era Gamera films. Gyaos is a lot more frightening than the usual monsters of the era - after all, he's not just about rampaging damage. He eats people! And seems to have a genuine glee about it. He's also a pretty cool monster, and there's a bit of thought given to what the anatomy might have to be for his powers. The kid is a fairly annoying character, but aside from him this is a pretty fun kaiju film.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2016, 10:47:24 PM »


Gamera vs. Viras  (Gamera tai uchu kaijû Bairasu)
Year of Release: 1968
Starring: Noriaki Yuasa
Directed By: Kojiro Hongo, Michiko Yaegaki, Mari Atsumi, Junko Yashiro
Genre: Science-Fiction, Disaster, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
The reign of terror continues when aliens take two boy scouts hostage to blackmail Gamera into aiding their invasion of Earth. When that plan fails the giant alien leader Viras battles the flying turtle in a duel to the death.

My Thoughts:
Space Monster Viras makes their appearance! They have come to conquer Earth and destroy humanity! Only our great protector Gamera stands against them! They have found out Gamera's love for children though, and will use it against him!

While the bee design spaceships are neat, and there are some good ideas here, they're not followed through with. Too much footage from the previous Gamera films and the absurd squid-style design of Viras cause the film to be rather flat. The kids can get annoying, but they're far from the worst in these films.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 2.5/5
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 10:49:45 PM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2016, 02:50:51 PM »


Gamera vs. Guiron  (Gamera tai daiakuju Giron)
Year of Release: 1969
Directed By: Noriaki Yuasa
Starring: Nobuhiro Kashima, Christopher Murphy, Miyuki Akiyama, Eiji Funakoshi
Genre: Science-Fiction, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
Gamera, the giant flying turtle, spins into action when two young boys board a spaceship and are hijacked to a strange planet on the other side of the sun. While the boys evade the clutches of two brain-hungry alien beauties, Gamera must deal with a knife-nosed monster named Guiron.

My Thoughts:
Don't get in the spaceship! Don't trust the seemingly friendly aliens! Beware the knife-headed Guiron, slayer of monsters! There's plenty of space for acrobatics, though! Go, go Gamera!

I actually like the kids here, they're not nearly as annoying as the kids in other Gamera films. Guiron is simply absurd, however. That huge knife head is unique looking, for sure. Worth seeing for Gamera's acrobatic routine though!

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 2.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2016, 04:54:00 PM »


Gamera vs. Jiger
Year of Release: 1970
Directed By: Noriaki Yuasa
Starring: Tsutomu Takakuwa, Kelly Varis, Katherine Murphy, Sanshiro Honoo
Genre: Science-Fiction, Disaster, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
The fire-breathing action continues as Gamera battle one of his greatest foe, Jiger, a horned monster reminiscent of the Triceratops. Drawn to the World Expo in Osaka by an ancient statue, the evil reptile injects Gamera with its parasitic offspring to eliminate the super turtle.

My Thoughts:
When the native people tell you the statue is cursed, listen to them! Destruction awaits those who do not! Can Gamera stop the rampage of Jiger, or is Tokyo's Expo 70 doomed?

One of the better of the Showa era Gamera films in terms of Gamera's foe. Jiger is an interesting and powerful foe with a trick we haven't seen for. There's plenty of action and kaiju combat, even if some of it gets ridiculous. On the other hand, the kids are pretty annoying and the trip inside Gamera is totally over the top. Overall more positive than negative though.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 2/75/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2016, 04:59:40 PM »


Gamera vs. Zigra  (Gamera tai Shinkai kaijû Jigura)
Year of Release: 1971
Directed By: Noriaki Yuasa
Starring: Eiko Yanami, Reiko Kasahara, Mikiko Tsubouchi, Koji Fukiyama
Genre: Science-Fiction, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
The shark-like alien Zigra attacks Earth to enslave the human race as food. Aided by spacewoman X-1, Zigra's wicked plan goes swimmingly until the invaders are challenged by Gamera and confound by two troublemaking kids.

My Thoughts:
Fish-like alien Zigra will rule Earth's beautiful seas! The differences in pressure from his homeworld cause him to grow to immense size! His hypnotic power puts people under his spell! His ray attack stops cellular activity! Mankind will be brunch unless Gamera can stop him!

I really love the design of Zigra. He's a very interesting looking monster and a much better foe than the other water-based monster Gamera's fought (Viras). The miniature moon base and space ship are also pretty cool. On the other hand I'd have liked to see more of Gamera. When he's here, though, it's fun, especially the cheesy part where he plays Zigra's spines like a musical instrument! The human characters aren't nearly as good, though, especially the kids, and the chase sequence is way, way too long.

Bechdel Test: Might pass

Overall: 2.75/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2016, 05:03:40 PM »


Gamera: Super Monster  (Uchu kaijû Gamera)
Year of Release: 1980
Directed By: Noriaki Yuasa
Starring: Mach Fumiake, Yaeko Kojima, Yoko Komatsu, Keiko Kudo
Genre: Science-Fiction, Disaster, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
The final entry of the Showa Gamera series plays as a highlight reel reviving all of the previous evil monsters. When the alien Zanon tries to conquer Earth with an army of monsters, three superwoman enlist the help of Gamera to foil the invader's plans.

My Thoughts:
The worst of the Gamera films. Instead of inventing a new monster, here we have lots of reused footage from all of the previous Gamera films as Gamera fights all of his previous foes. The child character, always a weakness in this series, is the most annoying yet in this film. We also have three space-women with super-silly transformation sequences. Almost cringe-worthy, but at least we have our favorite giant turtle and some of the best moments from his previous fights. For series completists only; and probably the one I'd most like to watch as MST3K.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 1.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2016, 06:45:50 PM »


Gamera: Guardian of the Universe  (Gamera daikaijû kuchu kessen)
Year of Release: 1995
Directed By: Shusuke Kaneko
Starring: Tsuyoshi Ihara, Akira Onodera, Shinobu Nakayama, Ayako Fujitani
Genre: Action, Science-Fiction, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
Ten thousand years ago, an advanced civilization created the Gyaos to eliminate rampant pollution. However, the Gyaos grew stronger, started breeding and began feasting on humans. For protection, the Gameras were created to fend off the attacks. The onslaught of the Gyaos was eventually halted, and they were forced into hibernation. Despite the best efforts of its people, the advanced civilization was ruined. So, the scientists preserved the last remaining Gamera and bequeathed him to the next civilization, should the Gyaos ever return.

The giant flying turtle is back to protect the world from his old enemy, Gyaos, the giant prehistoric bird who is wreaking havoc on Tokyo!

My Thoughts:
This is the gritty 90's reboot of Gamera, and it's objectively a better movie on every level than any of its predecessors. It's still a fun film, but it eschews the silliness of the earlier films for a much more serious tone. The human characters are actually decently acted and fleshed out. Gamera's design gets a lot better too. He looks much more realistic and much more menacing. Gyaos as well. Bottom line, if you like kaiju films, this is a winner.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Gamera!
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2016, 08:08:54 PM »


Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion
Year of Release: 1996
Directed By: Shusuke Kaneko
Starring: Akiji Kobayashi, Toshiyuki Nagashima, Miki Mizuno, Tamotsu Ishibashi
Genre: Action, Science-Fiction, Tokusatsu, Kaiju

Overview:
Ten thousand years ago, an advanced civilization created the Gyaos to eliminate rampant pollution. However, the Gyaos grew stronger, started breeding and began feasting on humans. For protection, the Gameras were created to fend off the attacks. The onslaught of the Gyaos was eventually halted, and they were forced into hibernation. Despite the best efforts of its people, the advanced civilization was ruined. So, the scientists preserved the last remaining Gamera and bequeathed him to the next civilization, should the Gyaos ever return.

A new threat involving extraterrestrials hoping to colonize on Earth requires Gamera to ward off insect-like alien soldiers dubbed "Legion."

My Thoughts:
Just as good as Guardian of the Universe.  Gamera looks awesome here, and Legion is a bad-ass kaiju foe.  Seriously, the design for the Legion and its Queen are really great.  Possibly the best designed foe for Gamera thus far and the biggest threat.  The human story isn't quite as developed as GotU but the spread of the Legion and the reactions of the people are pretty realistic.  I like that the 90's films don't make the humans so stupid and useless as the Showa era ones did.   If you're new to kaiju films and not into cheese, these are totally the Gamera films to watch.  They're also the ones to watch if you're not new to kaiju.  Really looking forward to the third one.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield