I quite liked this film, it’s nothing spectacular but it’s still enjoyable. Gamera appears very early on in the film, unlike Godzilla in the 1954 original, the bombs go off and he’s there ready to attack. Godzilla is more of an unknown presence in the original. Gamera is a rip-off of Godzilla, in style and plot, it’s very similar. The effects are a lot better in Gamera, since it was made over a decade later. The turtle suit looks cool.
In an attempt to recreate the success of Godzilla, Daiei Film made Gamera, their own giant monster, this time a giant turtle. He can breathe fire, fly and is almost indestructible. There are 12 Gamera films in the series, my plan is to watch each one over 12 weeks and write an informal post about each one as the start of my Monster Mondays series. I think it’s best to see monster films like this as a bit of fun, so I won’t be taking it very seriously.
I like that the first attempt to destroy Gamera is just to flip him on his back because turtles can’t get up. He’ll starve then. Instead, he just retreats into his shell and flies away. It’s just ridiculous. The way they defeat Gamera at the end is also pretty funny. It’s a spoiler, so stop reading if you care, but they trap him in a rocket and send him to mars. It’s over the top fun.
There’s a moment early on where a child, who is obsessed with turtles, meets Gamera. He climbs up a lighthouse to see him closer. Gamera then attacks the lighthouse, almost killing the child, but saves him and gives him back to his family. The boy’s sister says Gamera saved him, without really acknowledging that he wouldn’t have been at risk if it wasn’t for Gamera.
I do like that he is misunderstood and isn’t trying to be a full villain. Godzilla originally just wreaked havoc wherever he went, while Gamera is just looking for food. I think overall the film is fun, but not the best. It’s very slow and takes a while to get going, even though Gamera is there so early on. It’s still an interesting start and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.
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