Saturday, March 26, 2022

Gamera Vs. Zigra

I may surprise some people with this.

I'm just gonna say it, this is my favorite Gamera movie. Now I wouldn't say it's the best Gamera movie, I hold that for Gamera Vs. Gyaos but there was something about this movie that got me in just the right spot. Full disclosure here, I was in a terrible mood, downright hostile angry this morning but I knew I had to get this review done and said it might just be the movie I need right now. We take a bit of a relapse into sci-fi territory as another alien race comes to colonize Earth specifically it's oceans as we are introduced to our human cast who also have affiliations with the sea and Gamera is called upon one more time to save the day. I don't know if I can properly pinpoint exactly why I loved this movie as much as I did cause it really doesn't stray from the Gamera formula all that much. You still have your child protagonists, both japanese this time, who are actually funny and cute and enjoyable. Kids in kaiju movies are almost a death sentence to the majority of fans but here I very much enjoyed their interactions and stance on the story. The production values though in my opinion not as high as Jiger still did pretty good work, and the fact the movie is shot around the Kamogawa Sea World makes for an interesting location. I also quite liked the relatively small fact that they shoot the monsters from far away on ground level, like seeing it from a human's perspective, I just noticed it and thought it was interesting. Despite our main alien antagonist having a fair bit of screentime, I was interested more in the space girl we meet and no it wasn't because she ran around in a bathing suit for awhile you dirty dirty scoundrels. I digged the green spacesuit, her Master like ability to hypnotize people, the fact she was hunting down two kids makes for a decent villain. And the movie had just little touches and moments that made me laugh considerably, with highlights being how one of the kids says spaceships he can pilot but a motorboat isn't his forte just cracked me up, and Gamera has a few "What the hell?" moments that I just couldn't stop myself laughing at. This movie easily takes the most innocent and childlike style and tone of the entire series but plays it off in a way where it's rather endearing and entertaining rather than just roll your eyes nonsensical. I'm beyond thrilled this series did not spiral into the depths of horribleness as I thought it would. It really only was Viras that did nothing much for me, and it was a fascinating experience going through all these movies and appreciating the more silly and fun style of it all. The director Noriaki Yuasa always said he wanted Gamera to be a figure children could trust and obviously he had a lot of passion to keep making these movies, despite the dwindling budgets to the point where this was the last Gamera movie to come out because the studio Daiei went bankrupt before the movie even hit theaters. It was a dark time for kaiju movie fans, first Gamera gets the ax in 1971 and then just three years later Godzilla ended in 1974 for a decade. That sucks, it seemed like I finally got it, I finally understood, appreciated, and enjoyed the kid friendly, sweetly naive, bonkers but fun kaiju series this was just at the very end of it all. That's a bummer man, and while I don't have plans to discuss Gamera Super Monster, I most definitely will dive into it and tell as much information as I can before we review the 90s Gamera movies one day. But I finally got Gamera off my list and overall enjoyed it. I give this movie a very partial and biased 4 stars, 7.5/10, but objectively it would be a 7/10. Take of that what you will and I'll see you next week for some horror inspired comic book movies.

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