Time to go old school. To go back to the movie which first introduced the world to the fire breathing giant turtle known as Gamera. Is it as good an origin film as King Kong or Gojira?
Deep in the artist, a Cold War fighter carrying an atomic bomb is shot down. The explosion gives rise to an ancient creature known as Gamera: The giant monster. As he explores the world he is spotted by a turtle loving boy named Toshio and saved him from falling causing Toshio to insist Gamera is good. Despite his pleas humanity attacks Gamera in an effort to destroy him but there efforts seem futile. The Earth`s only hope is the operation called Z Plan. Will it save the world?
One of the most notable aspects of this film is Gamera`s appearance. He shows up much earlier than Godzilla or King Kong but even he doesn’t know what is going on half of the time. Yes, he rampages but he is attacked before even his initial destruction. For the most part Gamera is just trying to get more fossil fuels and fire for nourishment. Frankly, the humans should have come up with a better plan involving luring him somewhere but sadly the more go to plan was to try to blow him up.
Speaking of the humans, they are less than intelligent in this movie. They simply wish to blow up Gamera because they are focused on the fact Gamera is emitting an aura which dampens radars. This power would be dropped in later installments but this is the major reason they seem to be attacking Gamera as he is for the most part is more curious and exploring than he is being deadly. Also, Toshio is one of the few characters with any real development and even then he gets a bit annoying. Yes, he’s the only one who has Gamera’s back but Gamera is still doing damage and needs to be dealt with. Luckily, they are able to defeat him in a very interesting twist on how to beat a monster.
This film is infamous for being shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s one of the more hilarious episodes and the jokes they make about Toshio (Kenny in the English dub) kept obsessing over Gamera. The movie is one to watch with or without the commentary of the Satellite of Love but not nearly as essential as Gamera`s trilogy from the 90s.
Sadly, the film is not very good as the study really didn’t know how to present Gamera in a way which distinguished him from being a Godzilla knock off. I`ll be getting around to reviewing the rest of the more comical Showa Era films eventually but for the most part this year I’ll be more focused on finishing the Godzilla franchise. Gamera will get his day thought sooner or later.
You guys know I prefer to do these with three news articles at a time but this one is too important not to talk about now! This is Mystery Science Theater 3000! That’s right! The show that sung about Gamera being filled of turtle meat wants to come back and expose a whole new generation of film buffs out there to the greatness that is Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Manos the Hands of Fate.
If you haven’t already clicked the link for the kickstarter, to donate money, HEREit is. CLICK people, we need more MST 3K in our lives.
A follow up to a popular trilogy does ot always get the best reception. With a high amount of expectation a new installment to the franchise to the franchise maybe unable to measure up. No, I’m not talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which is a good movie and you should go see it) but about Gamera: The Brave, the first film after the fanominal Guardian of the Universe trilogy.
After a final battle with Gyaos, Gamera is destroyed and the world experiences peace. Over 30 years later, a young boy named Toru finds a store which hates into a turtle he calls Toto Unfortunately, Toto gets very big, very fast, and soon is as big as a house. It maybe more of a blessing though as the mysterious and blood thirsty monster called Zedus is reeking havoc across the country. It’s now time for the new Gamera to rise to the occasion and save the day.
The problem most people have with this film is the shift in tone from the previous trilogy. It is much more lighthearted and playful in nature. I`ll admit the turtle is cute, makes adorable sounds, and the scenes with his developing powers is entertaining to watch. Still, after watching the previous trilogy most would Gamera fans would prefer they didn’t change the tone.
The monster combat in this film is impressive from the beginning with Gyaos ripping Gamera apart. Zedus in a threat the moment he appears and it becomes incredible apparent without Gamera humanity is doomed. Just wish Zedus had a proper origin story and didn’t die with a single fireball.
The world building is pretty good with the monster fighting organization being put out of business for lack of activity, the economy changing after a monster attack, and the aspect with the scientists powering up Gamera so he can save humanity. Just a bit too much of the kids. A little too much of the kids and not enough of the adults who may have been able to shed light on where Zedus came from.
Overall, this is not he worst entry in the Gamera franchise, it’s just not the best. Don’t let this deter you from seeing this film. It’s worth a watch. Now if you will excuse me, watching Toto has prompted me to get a turtle. That or read some Sgt. Frog manga. That series was littered through the entire movie.
Rounding out a trilogy is a very hit or miss task. For every Return of the Jedi or Iron Man 3 there is X-Men: The Last Stand or Batman Forever to compare it to. After the first two movies were incredible there was a lot riding on the third film in the Gamera Heisei Trilogy to be just as impressive. So how does it stack up?
In a flashback, young Ayana watches helplessly as Gamersa destroys her family’s home with her parents inside during his battle with Gyaos in Tokyo. In the present a graveyard of Gamera’s bodies are found and while he attacks two Gyaos, Gamera ends up destroying Shibuya. Seeing this and still fueled by pain and loss Ayana discovers a baby monsters that she calls Iris. Soon little Iris grows big and is absorbing the blood out of helpless victims for nourishment. Meeting in Kyoto Gamera and Iris have an epic showdown but is the recently discovered grave site a bad omen for everyone’s favorite Guardian of the Universe?
The world continues to spin in the Gamera trilogy and the effects of the previous two films catches up with our characters. Having absorbed Mana to defeat Legion has had devastating consequences causing Gyaos around the world to hatch. The world’s is now in chaos and Gamera is working his butt off trying to keep up. Helping him out we have the return of Dr. Nagamine (who is now a globe trotting Gyaos expert) and Asagi (Gamera’s former priestess and biggest fan). The two women work as a team helping to recruit allies and investigate the claims of a Gyaos mutation (Iris) in efforts to do all they can for Gamera. It’s this incredible attention to detail and world building that make me love the series so much.
A recent viewing of this film reminded me of the insane amount of detail they have done improving upon the characters from the first film. After watching this movie and rewatching a trailer for the first film, it was insane to see all the different changes that the characters went through. The damage the Gyaos go through (especially the one in Shibuya with its eye hanging out) and the more menacing and jagged look that Gamera sports in this film really help to accentuate the darkness and carnage that the film is trying to express. Still, despite his intense new look, Gamera is still trying to do all he can to stop the world from coming under Gyaos’ control. My only major problem is that I don’t get to see the epic fight scene between Gamera and the large flock of Gyaos descending on Japan. That would have been one of the coolest fight scenes ever. Still, I’ve grown comfortable with the way they cap off the story.
If you can’t tell I love this film just as much as the other two and find the entire trilogy to be some of the best giant monster action that came out of the 90s. The series gave a new sense of respect and power to a character that had been written off as a joke. Watching him especially defend the Universe from the likes of Gyaos, Legion, and Iris is a joy that I will gladly partake in at the drop of a hat. Again, if you haven’t taken the time to watch these films yet, stop depriving yourself. If you are reading this blog then I guarantee you that you will enjoy watching these three films. So ends my discussion of the Gamera Heisei trilogy. This won’t be the last of our green flying butt kicker though. I’ll eventually go back and review his past films and the one that followed this. Still, my fingers are crossed that the new film that will come out in the near future taps into the roots set forth by this trilogy.
Making a sequel can be hard. The ability to accurately capture the magic that fans saw in the first film while at the same time moving the characters that were introduced forward in an emotional and soulful way is no easy feat to pull off. The Kaiju genre is not immune to this struggle of recreating a second in a series. Luckily for us, Gamers 2: Advent (Attack) of Legion succeeded to make a movie as good if not better then Guardian of the Universe. I know that ADV first and Mill Creek Entertainment as the continued to release kept calling the movie Attack of Legion but I knew it as Advent of Legion and personally think that’s the better title. Hence the review name.
After a meteorite crashes to earth but can’t be found afterward, scientists are quick to discover that the object was in actuality a hive of a mysterious creature that becomes known as Legion. The Legion’s mission is to spread themselves all over the universe by launching seeds that have the power to destroy entire towns as they erupt. Realizing the destructive nature of these beings from beyond the stars, Gamera appears and destroys their first seed. The large army of Legion soon gets the better of our shelled warrior and soon he finds himself outmatched. Will Gamera be able to find new strength and take down these evil planet destroying insects?
New giant monsters in movies is always a welcoming site. When things started to tip for Toho during the Heisei period they went the safe route and brought the classic monsters back to fight Godzilla instead of having any more new creatures. Not so with Gamera. After the first movie with his classic fight against Gyaos, they made sure to have a brand new baddie ready to mix things up. The Legion designs both the small and “Queen” model are truly menacing from the moment they appear on screen and remain that way until the last one is dead as bug on the windshield. Even when the creatures are laid out and thoroughly explained on what makes them tick they still somehow are able to retain a feeling of dread every time they are on screen.
Ayako Fujitani returns once again as Asagi. Though Gamera seemed to disconnect her from the pain he feels at the end of the first movie, she still holds onto her amulet, believing that Gamera can still her thoughts and her cheers to never give up. The deep devotion the young girl has for Gamera would put her on the top 10 list of some of the best Kaiju and Human relationships that have ever graced the screen. Still don’t believe me, then take a look at the scene with the wound on her and where she insists its nothing as Gamera has already bleed for everyone. If that’s not devotion I don’t know what is.
Yes, I know I’m gushing again but I really can’t help it. The Gamera Heisei Trilogy is just so awesome that I can’t help but want to tell everyone about it. For those of you out there who haven’t shown this trilogy to anyone, first shame on you but second you have to! Think about it. Remember the final attack that Gamera used in the film and how awesome it was to witness. If you don’t show people this movie they will never see that attack and realize for themselves just how jaw dropping that scene is. Go on! Grab someone and movie marathon all three of films.
I almost feel bad at times when I tell others about the Gamera 90s trilogy. I mean I have proudly proclaimed in more than one occasion to be a huge Godzilla fan but I can’t help but say that these three movies are the best Kaiju films that came out of the 90s. I just can’t help but want to praise these three films for being a cut above the traditional Kaiju genre. Especially when you take a moment to look back at the comically campy movies the giant turtle was in during the Showa period. Despite that I have a yearly tradition of watching the trilogy and seeing its flaws and problems repeatedly it still holds up as some of my favorite Kaiju movies. Sorry Godzilla.
The film opens with a Japanese Plutonium ship hitting a mysterious atoll while at almost the same time an entire village is destroyed with only cryptic message that “it’s a bird” over the radio. As investigation teams set out to discover the truth behind these events and only to realize that the atoll is the monster Gamera and the “bird” on the island is the deadly creature Gyaos. Believing the Gyaos to be a lost race that needs protection the humans try to capture them whole exterminating Gamera. Meanwhile young Asagi Kusinagi is given a relic that allows her to connect to Gamera’s heart and feel his pain. Together the two most overcome the government’s efforts to protect the wrong monster and stop the world from falling under Gyaos’ shadow.
The modernization to Gamera makes nods to his origins by presenting him as both a destructive force and a defender all in the same movie. By showcasing that he just happens to destroy everything that’s in his way on his path to kill the Gyaos even though he has the best intentions in mind. A recent fact that has been pointed out about this trilogy us that no one ever calls Gamera a turtle. In fact the director has apparently gone on record saying that the idea us that in the movie universe there are no turtles and that is why he is never referee to as such. Interesting little tidbit there.
The star of the movie is young Ayako Fujitani in her first acting role shows a lot of devotion for the giant Kaiju. Her devotion puts her on the list of some of the best females in Kaiju series if not one of the best human characters in all of Giant Monster Movies. Also, another interesting fat, she is Steven Segals daughter.
The Gyaos new look for the trilogy is incredibly more menacing then most other evil Kaiju can be. Sure bad guys like King Ghidora or Megalon will fly around and destroy buildings with their blasts but they isn’t nearly as intimidating as a gluttonous monster who has pieces of its victims falling out of its mouth as it struggles to chew. This cupped with the fact the creature can asexually reproduce much like the 90s Godzilla makes them a force to truly be afraid of.
Probably one of my favorite moments in this film is the atmospheric reentry struggle between Gamera and Gyaos. The measures that Gyaos takes to escape from his eminent demise is truly impressive. If you can’t tell by now I highly recommend this film and it’s two sequels which I’ll work on writing up the reviews on soon. Basically if you take anything away from this review know that this blog highly endorses that you see these movie s to call yourself a true Kaiju fan.