For his sixth outing Gamera is fighting Jiger, a massive reptilian kaiju that may be the toughest enemy Gamera has fought so far. The film is almost an advert for Expo ’70, which was being held in Osaka in 1970 and started shortly before the film was released. The opening scenes of the film show Japan preparing for the Expo and giving hints at what would be there. It was also agreed that the buildings in the expo wouldn’t be destroyed by Gamer and Jiger’s fight.
What kickstarts the big battle is the removal of a statue from Wester Island, known as the Devil’s Whistle. Despite warnings from the indigenous people of the island and Gamera trying his best to stop it, the statue is removed to be taken to the expo. The statue, which is supposedly cursed, makes almost everyone who deals with it ill. More shockingly, it unleashes Jiger who had been kept buried by the statue for centuries. Later on, it’s revealed that the statue has a small hole that runs through the whole thing, and had been filled with blood at one point. When wind travels through the statue, it creates a high-pitched noise that’s similar to white noise and that’s what kept Jiger incapacitated for all those years.
The first fight is pretty epic, where Gamera looks like he’s going to win for the longest time, before Jiger turns it around shooting spears made out of solid saliva into Gamera’s limbs and leaving him turned upside down and unable to move. For a kids film, it’s pretty distressing to watch. When Gamera does eventually free himself and chase down Jiger, he doesn’t have the upperhand once again, and ends up being injected by Jiger, and almost like a virus is completely frozen while Jiger’s baby is growing inside of him – again quite dark for a kids film.
This is where the goofy nature of the Gamera films really comes into full force. Two children, who have been rooting for Gamera the entire time, jump into a micro-sub and travel inside Gamera to try and save him. It just so happened that Gamera froze with his head underwater, to allow the sub to travel inside, and somehow not drown at the same time. It’s the best kind of dumb. Gamera’s insides are surprisingly quite a lot like a cave, and the two children travel through quite easily before finding the baby Jiger.
The fights throughout the film are entertaining enough, also a bit clumsy with the cumbersome suits the actors were wearing. It’s very much like a wrestling match, which is what the creators of the film used for reference to keep the fights feeling fresh and entertaining. The film also has a higher budget than some of the other recent entries, so there’s not as much reliance on flashbacks or re-using footage. New sets were built for the film and it boasts a large cast of humans to watch and help Gamera in his fight.
Goofy fun is a good way to describe this entry to the Gamera series. It’s not brilliant, but it’s fun while it’s on and there’s worse ways to spend eighty minutes.
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