After the success of the first Gamera film a sequel was rushed into production, with a higher budget. The film was made and released in less than 5 months after the original was released. The story is set 6 months after the end of the first film with Gamera flying to Mars, only to collide into a meteor and return back to Earth. He attacks a dam and then disappears for the next forty or so minutes. The plot then moves to three friends who are travelling to New Guinea to retrieve an opal, believed to be worth millions.
When they get the opal, one of them is bitten by a scorpion, dying moments later. Onodera uses this as an opportunity to steal the opal for himself, blowing up the cave, leaving him to believe that both of his ‘friends’ are dead. On route back to Japan he leaves the opal in front of an infra red light, that he was using to heal his foot after an injury on the journey. Unknown to him, the opal is an egg and the light forces Barugon to hatch.
Barugon is the opposite of Gamera. While the giant turtle from the first film breathes fire and can fly, Barugon breathes ice, and crawls around on all fours. At point’s it is very clearly a man in a suit on all fours just wandering around, but that’s part of the charm. The other thing that sets them apart is that Barugon can just randomly launch a rainbow laser from the spines on his back. It can destroy pretty much anything, even himself. Gamera’s name may be in the title, but it may as well not be. He’s barely in the film. He appears in the opening scene, disappears, comes back to fight Barugon, losses and spends a long time frozen, before coming back at the final moment to stop Barugon and fly away.
I quite liked this film, it’s got a much more serious tone than the first one, mainly focusing on the human element of the story. Onodera is a good villain, he’s completely corrupted by the idea of wealth. The other characters are interesting as well. I do think there is a lot of talking in this one, that just isn’t needed. It’s 100 minutes, which is just too long for a monster film, in my opinion. It still has some great effects, and when the monsters are on screen it’s always entertaining. I really liked Barugon just smacking Gamera down with his tail.
In the end I also felt for Barugon. He’s killed in a pretty brutal way. After having his rainbow laser reflected back at him, Gamera comes in bites his neck and drowns him at the same time. It’s violent and bloody. Even though it’s just a rubber suit, it did look very sad and I felt for it as it died. It was a lot darker than the first film.
This one was also shot in full colour, thanks to a higher budget. It was strange to see such a leap in visuals from the first one, considering it was only released a few months later. As far as monster movies go, it’s really good. It takes itself really seriously which really pays off. The human characters are well developed and the monsters look awesome. What more could I ask for?
Next time on Monster Mondays: Gamera vs. Gyaos
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