Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Gamera Vs. Viras

Here we go...

This is where the Gamera series changes not entirely for the best. Though heralded as the favorite of the entire series by the director himself, Gamera Vs. Viras takes the first step into children's entertainment. Not at all that the previous three films couldn't be watched or enjoyed by kids, or even that it being kid centric is entirely bad but it's a delicate art mastered by few. So we finally get alien invaders in the Gamera series as the species from the "star" Viras have come to claim and colonize Earth but have to deal with Gamera first. Now fair credit where it's due the kid story is front and center so it doesn't feel tacked on or out of nowhere, but it's still a bit odd how two literal boyscouts encounter and befriend Gamera, are subsequently captured by the aliens, and have to figure out a way to save the Earth. I never expect faultless logic in my monster movies, but I'm just saying it didn't do much for me. Which is a bit of a problem considering 75% of the movie involves these two boys, what's the remaining fourth you may ask? Stock footage, yeah this is the Gamera movie that really sets the standard for the remainder of the series. Aliens, stock footage, the Gamera theme makes it's first appearance, and plots mainly involving children. You see key fights from Barugon and Gaos, but also the attack on the dam, and Tokyo (despite it still presented in black and white), so needless to say it does feel like padding. I can't blame them, there isn't much of an original story to reach near 90 minutes but they also could have worked on the script more. It was a budget decision, okay, fine, these movies didn't have a lot of studio backing so they had to be economical in making it. With that being said, I like the visuals a fair bit, I love the alien spaceship mainly because it looks so alien, it's not your typical rocketship or fighter plane made to look futuristic, it is bizzare and otherworldly. Great job on that and the aliens, that glowing eye effect gave me the creeps and the design of Viras is simple but still works. I do however find it odd that the star discrepancy still exists in the original japanese version. Lesson time! In japanese the words for planet and star are the same word, Hoshi, and in the english dub they translated it as star and not planet. Whoops, americans are idiots when it comes to foreign languages big shock, however the subtitles for the japanese version still call it a star. And this is modern translations on Prime Video, how the hell did they still mess this up? If I can translate one single word from japanese to english in roughly 10 seconds, why can't others in this day and age? It's weird. The monster fight was a decent length, and you know this movie though mainly intended for kids has some gnarly visuals, an arm gets ripped off and you see the flesh and bone, you get 5 decapitations in a row, and Gamera gets flat out staked in a bloody fashion. I mean Jesus. As long as the fluids aren't red, the rating system doesn't care! All in all, it's a lesser entry in the Gamera series but not entirely unwatchable. 2 stars, 5.5/10, I would say here's hoping for better but...I have my doubts.

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