It was bound to happen.
Yep, we're doing all the Gamera movies. Why? Why not? Released the same year as Invasion Of Astro Monster, japanese studio Daiei brought their own signature kaiju to the plate and I must say it's better than you'd think. So many people cry Godzilla rip off, and if you're somewhat familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000 you'll know the american version is....not great. But I got my hands on the original japanese version and will endeavor to stick to that for the remainder of the week. The movie is shot in pristine black and white despite color being a very available yet more costly option, as a brief conflict in the arctic awakens a massive fire breathing turtle who wreaks some havoc as scientists find a way to stop it, very typical stuff but truthfully is it's own entity and handles nearly every aspect very seriously and competently. The suit and effects for Gamera are really good to the point where I had to ask how they achieved certain effects of Gamera flying among others, it does undoubtedly take a serious tone that probably gets shot out of the window at warp factor 9 by the next movie but I just greatly appreciate how they handle the disasterous aftermath of Gamera's attacks. I like our main cast, following a zoologist and his assistant, along with a photographer for almost the whole movie and I never found the talky bits dull or super exposition-y, but the kaiju action is more on the low side. You get the big city setpiece and a few bits here and there but it is more human centric. I felt the script did a good job though creating intrigue explaining aspects of Gamera and formulating plans to deal with him. However, and this is where we get to talk about the kid, his whole story with him and his family is so out of flip flappin' left field to the extent where I'm just baffled he's even in this. It really does just start without any introduction or segueway, but mercifully the kid really isn't that annoying in the japanese version. Still a bit of an idiot but not insufferable, but hey that's kids for you. It's a very by the numbers kaiju movie but like I said it handles the material quite well and I would recommend it if you haven't seen it and japanese monster movies are your thing. 3 stars from me, 7/10, and the weirdness has only just begun.