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Daikaiju Gamera

Gamera the Invincible
Gammera the Invincible

Japan 1965
produced by
Hidemasa Nagata, Yonejiro Saito for Daiei
directed by Noriaki Yuasa
starring Eiji Funakoshi, Harumi Kiritachi, Junichiro Yamashiko, Yoshiro Uchida, Michiko Sugata, Yoshiro Kitahara, Jun Hamamura, Bokuzen Hidari, Kenji Oyama, Munehiko Takada, Yoshio Yoshida, Brian Donlevy (American version only)
special effects by Yonesaburo Tsukiji, monster designed by Ryosaku Takayama

Gamera

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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An airplane, carrying an atomic bomb, is shot down over the arctic. The bomb, of course, goes off, & with the typical logic of a Japanese monster movie, it immediately causes a monster to hatch, this time it's ... a giant, sabre tooth turtle, Gamera. Almost immediately the turtle, which can walk on its hind legs, breath fire & even fly (!), commences on its way to Japan with only one thing in mind - destruction.

But while Japan's scientists - most prominently Dr Hidaka (Eiji Funakoshi), who saw the turtle hatch & professor Murase (Jun Hamamura) - & the military are still trying to find a way to get rid of the monster, it also finds a supporter in young Toshio (Yoshiro Uchida), a little boy obsessed with turtles, whom Gamera at one point in the movie saves (!) when it destroys his home.

Soon our scientists come up with a plan that is as elaborate as stupid - to lure the turtle into a pit & force it to fall onto its back, because they think it won't be able to get back up again. Wrong, once on its back, Gamera retracts its head & legs, starts to spin around really fast & flies off to wreak more havoc.

Another plan, plan Z: Since Gamera is feeding on energy & fire, why not use fire to lure it into some sort of egg-like container & shoot the container to Mars ?

It' s so stupid it has to work ! & it does, too.

The world is safe again, & little Toshio promises that, once he's grown up too, he'll fly to Mars as well.

 

Obviously inspired by the success of the Godzilla-series, Gamera (both this movie & the series as a whole) was never quite on par with Godzilla, both story- & effect-wise (even if both story & effects were often quite shoddy in the Godzilla-films as well). & maybe the concept of a sabre tooth turtle walking on its hind legs, breathing fire & occasionally flying is a bit much to swallow, while the kids who appear in almost every episode of the series are definitely too much.

That all said, in a trashy, childish way, this film here still is fun to watch (after all, it is about a sabre tooth turtle walking on its hind legs).

For the American version, several scenes with American actors discussing what happens in the film are tagged on. Some of these scenes are even hilarious.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD