open with some groovy guitar music, and then some model planes fly
overhead. We cut to a ship cutting its way through an ice field; the
narrator tells us this is an American-Canadian expedition, but the
folks on board are clearly oriental. Perhaps they're all Mr. Sulu.
We're told that they're looking for the fabled Northwest Passage, but
that “there are no fables” in the Frozen North.
But enough of those ships and planes, let's cut to a jeep, roaring across the snow. This is the Professor and his Assistant and they're looking for Artic life forms. They drive up to an Eskimo village; the villagers have heard of the Prof's mission and give him a warm welcome. Oh, and there's also a Newsman, who worries about his cameras freezing. Those planes from earlier fly overhead, and Assistant suggests these Russian planes would make a great picture. So the Newsman whips out his camera and snaps off a few, voiceovering about why Russians are flying around here. Man, this was the 60's, you couldn't look up without seeing Russian spy planes.
Back on board the ship, the crew expresses some worry about the worsening weather, and then the Russian planes buzz them, too! The ship decides to notify Air Defence. We get a shot of a Morse code guy sending out—guess what—Morse code. Unbelievable!
And then we go to Alaska to the Air Defense headquarters. (Man, two minutes in and we're jumping all over the place.) A secretary gets up and hands paperwork out to several officers. She stops by a pair of them, asking if she heard her name mentioned?
“Susan, we know you've marked yourself No Trespassing, but you shouldn't stop a guy for trying. Maybe it's cold outside!” says the standing one.
“That's right gorgeous,” says the sitting guy, with a thick Southern accent, “you gotta thaw out!” Having given a winning line in Sexual Harassment, he invites her to the movie showing in the Rec Hall that evening. He promises the works, including popcorn.
When he asks if she accepts this proposal, she responds cooly, “Maybe, but you gotta keep your buttery claws to yourself. Remember that air men don't drool, they obey.”
Well, this picture's already full of scintilating dialogue that must have been cooked up over several dozen beers. And a typewriter. Speaking of which, we get a shot of a teletype clattering out stuff, probably about those Russians. Sure enough, it gets handed to the first officer we saw (the Captain) and he in turn hands it to the General. It says “four UFOs” were spotted by the Japanese ship, heading toward the missle base. The General doesn't like the sound of this situation one bit, and he barks out orders intending to stop this tomfoolery. The General asks to speak to another General, who's in Washington, DC. Before he can do that, though, he calls one of the jet fighters in the air and tells him about the UFOs and where to find them, instructing him to either bring them to the base or destroy them.
Back at Air Defense, the General talks to the President and basically outlines what's going on. He hangs up, and calls for a Red Alert.
In the air, the Jets find the UFOs, who turn out to be Russian spy planes, like we already knew. The lead Jet calls to the planes and demands that they identify themselves, or the Jets will open fire. The Jets repeat this a couple of times, and the Russians finally respond, with a couple of missles. But our boys are more than a match, and they blow the Russians out of the sky. The spy planes crash into the ice surface, and nearby, Prof, his Assistant, Newsman and the Eskimos all witness this.
The Assistant pronounces the mushroom cloud that of a nuclear detonation; Newsman castigates himself for staring at the cloud rather than taking some pictures, “A great news photographer I am!” he says sarcastically. Ironically, he takes longer to chastise himself than he does to get his camera ready. I'd say you suck as a news photographer, fellow. An Eskimo behind him looks a lot like Danny Trejo.
Prof worries that they're, you know, awful close to a radioactive cloud.
Back at Air Defense, the atomic explosion has been noted, including a very detailed description of its location via lattitude, longitude and so on. Were I less lazy, I would give these coordinates here and you could have fun looking up the exact spot on a map of the world. However, you'll have to find fun elsewhere I'm afraid.
The officer with the info asks, basically, What now? General says the other jets are to pursue the enemy. Southern Man comes up and says there have been no further reports, that this appears to be “a single incident.”
“Do you regard a nuclear explosion as a single incident, Lieutenant?” the General explodes.
“Uh, yes sir,” Southern Man answers correctly, before he sees the General's scowl and says, “I mean, no sir.” Well, it seems to me it would be a single incident, but then I'm not a General, and I imagine he got his rank for some reason other than casting.
As Southern Man leaves, Captain pops up and notes that the Japanese ship and the Eskimo village are beyond the range of the fallout, and everyone agrees this is a good thing. He asks someone to contact the Japanese ship. Susan asks the General how serious this all is. The General says there's no point in guessing, “we'll have to play it by ear, whatever it is.”
And on that note, we cut to the surface of the ice, cracking open and belching out steam. Then, to a rising musical cue, Gamera makes his appearance. I'll give them this: his face just pops up right in camera center, there's no hiding him off-screen and only showing the destruction in his wake.
And we get our opening credits. Our spliced in stars are Albert Dekker, Brian Donlevy, Diane Findlay, John Baragrey and Dick O'Neill (who I think plays the General), who are all named before we get to our first Japanese actors, Eiji Funakoshi, Michiko Sugata and Harumi Kiritachi. The rest of the credits play out over various shots of Gamera's scales. Finally, directed by Noriaki Yuasa.
I may be mistaken because my knowledge of kaiju films is pretty limited, but I believe that Gamera is NOT a Toho character like Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidora and so on. (I believe that Godzilla and Gamera have never met on screen, though I understand they frequently golf together most Sundays.) Just my Trivia Gland kicking in.
Back to the film, the General is assuring the President (via the phone) that he doesn't want things heating up, but they'll stay on Red Alert until it's a good idea to stop being on Red Alert. Apparently the President agrees and they hang up. The General tells Southern Man that the Russian government claims the planes were off course due to some electronic interference, but Southern Man pronounces this explanation “bull” and says he just bets they were photographing missile locations.
General however, thinks that might have been the case if there was just one plane, but four planes must have been the result of malfunction, and they “realized what happened, and fired on our planes in order not to be forced down.” Uh, does that make it all right? Anyway, General asks someone else if they've raised the Japanese ship, and the answer is no: there's too much interference. General thinks there must be something other than the bomb blast that's causing all this interference. “This just doesn't make sense!” he shouts, before ordering some more recon jets into the air, and ordering Susan to make some more coffee. “It looks like a long day,” he says. That it does.
Cut to the Eskimo village and Prof and Co. They can't get anything but static on he radio. They figure this is from the bomb, and it's time to scoot. They say their goodbyes and move off, but Danny Trejo says hold on, and he gives the Prof an ancient stone carved into the shape of a “protokynonian,” which Prof helpfully points out is a prehistoric turtle. Danny Trejo says this has a lot to do with bad mushroom clouds. “Yell me, chief, is there a legend connected with this?” asks Prof, and Danny Trejo takes this as his opportunity to yak on a bit.
He says the stone depicts the ancient evil of Gamera, and at the sound of the name, children, dogs and assorted others all scatter. Prof & Co ask about the wave patterns on the stone, and Danny says he doesn't know. Prof says this object isn't carved in the usual Eskimo way. It probably says “Made in Japan” on it somewhere.
Cut to the ship, which is moving slowly through the ice, keeping a sharp eye on the mushroom cloud and giving us some 60's political views. And, at 12:06, Gamera shows himself to people for the first time. He walks along in that funky way he has, and his very gait causes ice to crack around the ship and toss it a bit. The order is given to abandon ship. Captain makes sure that everyone obeys, and Gamera just comes right up and smacks the ship hard. It takes big beating, and the crew (represented by little animated stick figures) takes off across the ice. Of course, like most prehistoric animals, Gamera also breathes fire, and he takes this opportunity to blanket the area with flame. (Not sure if the stick people survived.) If your professor of dinosaurology left out the flame-breathing bit, you should try to get your money back as you were cheated.
Speaking of cheated, a bit over a minute after he appeared to the ship, we cut back to Air Defense. Wouldn't want you to get a heart attack from all the excitement, now.
Anyway, some guy reports to the general that “Captain Foster” reports that the Japanese ship is missing, there's just a big hole in the ice. General's all about, those guys lied to me about the blast radius! (He thinks the bomb did it, you see.) But the report reading guy, who doesn't know quite how to say it, goes on to report that Captain Foster reported seeing a giant turtle in the area where the ship used to be. “One hundred and fifty, maybe two hundred feet tall! He circled the area to take another look, but it was gone as if it had flown away. Now, that's what he says, sir!” and he hands the report to the General.
Another guy there listening says that Captain Foster “must have been working too hard. A giant turtle? That's one we haven't heard before!”
General tells this kibitzer to get back to work, then questions Report Reading Guy further, saying he doesn't know what the “hell” is going on, but he wants more reports about this “hallucination.” He also wants to make a lot of phone calls to a lot of people. “A giant turtle!” he says with disgust.
And we get some newspaper headlines about this. The “Frankfurter Allgemeine,” whose subheading reads “Zeitung fur Deutchland,” trumpets “Giant Turtle – Horror or Hoax?” in what, one supposes, is a special English Headline edition. Not to be outdone, the “Corriere Della Sera” had a headline which reads, “Giant Turtle? Baloney Says Scientists”[sic]. Which is kind of funny, because, you see, this must be an Italian newspaper, and “baloney” is from the Italian town of Balogna!
I guess you had to be there to appreciate the humor of it all.
A boring old New York Daily News asks, “Did Giant Turtle Destroy Japanese Explorer Ship?” while “Le Monde,” whose other headlines include “Bourses etrangeres,” “Sur Les Marches des Changes,” and “Les matieres premiers,” promises some exclusives with “Inside Reports of Giant Turtle Controversy.”
And we cut to New York Harbor, and then a news studio, where some folks are debating this whole giant turtle thing. J.C. Standish, who is the host, is a dead ringer (in look and sound) for William F. Buckley, Jr, and his guests include zoologist Emory Contraire, who wrote a book arguing that legends might be real, and Jules Manning, who wrote a book called “Non Science, Nonsense.” The two make rather stylized (and rather catty) arguments on both sides of the Is-There-A-Big-Turtle Question. Dr. Manning is one of those no-nonsense types (as might be gathered by his book title) while Dr. Contraire is so animated and flexible and so goofy with his speech, that one can almost imagine the young Jim Carrey watching this guy and saying This is it. I have found my role model.
The whole argument is rather entertaining in this way-overly theatrical um, well, dueling queens kind of way. But there's not a lot of detail to report that can't be summed up thusly: smirking, animated stuffed shirts insult each other's beliefs, and each other, while not really advancing the plot a great deal.
It quickly degenerates into a rather entertaining insult match, and since it has nowhere to go but down, we cut before one of them says, “Jane, you ignorant slut,” to a commercial jet in flight
On board are Prof and Co. They kind of recap what we already know, then Prof says he's convinced Gamera is real. Newman says, other than the pilot's story and the Eskimo stone, there's nothing else to go on. “Still, you can't discount all that evidence,” offers Assistant. “No, you can't,” Prof agrees. Uh...I thought Newsman said there wasn't much evidence? Yeah, silly me, expecting logic in a Gamera film.
Prof asks if the other two realize how much damage a thing like Gamera could do, and Newsman says sure, “in civilized areas, it could destroy whole towns!”
“Well, you've convinced me,” says Newsman. He did? Newsman goes on to hope that General Arnold can convince people in Washington. I smell a scene change!
Sure enough, there's Washington, DC, seen from the air. We pan up to the capitol, then pan up to the Pentagon. Some old guys get out of a car and ascend the steps into the Pentagon, and they join more old guys for a hearing. And wonder of wonders, Brian Donlevy appears in a General costume. It's over twenty minutes in, and our second billed star finally shows up. A bald guy, who might be Albert Dekker, asks Brian for his report.
Now, I have heard rumors that Mr. Donlevy was frequently soused out of his gourd while on set. In the films I've seen him in (the first two Quatermass movies), he doesn't show any evidence of this. Here....
Well. Sigh. His voice rises and falls like a helium balloon over a steam heater. He describes reports of giant footprints (which would have put all those debates out of business) as well as “flying saucers” which have a) all fitted the same description, and b) seem to be making their way from the Arctic across Canada, finally being spotted over several major European cities, including Moscow.
A rather snipey guy, who's just been itching to put the knives in, asks Brian Donlevy if he's inferring that the UFO sightings are related to giant turtles. This guy, while he talks, makes all these pinched gestures and squints to beat the band, and times his phrasing to coincide with it all. And I swear, if I didn't know this movie was made in the 60's sometime, I would sweat that this was an SCTV spoof. Nobody acts like this in real life—if they did, they would be cancelled quickly.
Well, Brian Donlevy answers the “senator” (a portrait shot shows him to be rather soused looking as well—boy can I sympathize) that he's not inferring anything, he's reporting facts. He says that if the UFO continues on its course, it will appear over Japan, “I would estimate in fiiiiiiiive....or six hours,” says, now making me wonder if this was Foster Brooks' “road to Damascus” moment. Brian Donlevy notes that this is shortly before Prof is due to arrive back in Japan.
The Senator tries to shake off the Dts and questions if this Prof guy has some kind of standing in scientific circles? “I've never heard of him. And I'm considered EXPERT enough, to head committees on nuclear fission, and the like.” He finishes with a flourish and then blinks like a guy under police lights. He then goes on to say that Prof shouldn't “be permitted to terrify the world with such distortions, unless he IS qualified to throw some light, some RAY of light on these incredible reports.”
“The point is that [Prof] is eminently qualified,” says the Chairman. Well, so much for you, Senator! Chairman goes on to say that he's looked at all the evidence, and “it is evident that [Prof] is a logical man, and one who relies on facts.” Senator smirks at this. “And from what HE learned, about Gamera, as a result of his research, and the evidence at the scene of destruction, I RESPECT his conclusions!” And he slams his pencil on his desk to show the depth of this respect. “Whether his knowledge is derived from science or mythology...both extensive.”
Well, Senator goes into full-blown Jim Carrey mode (I am spotting a trend here) and heaves up both gestures and dialogue, in damp florid heaps, saying that he still doesn't think there's a big turtle. (That's the gist of it.)
Chairman says there is so a big turtle, and it means big trouble for everyone, everywhere. (I am paraphrasing.)
“Well I for one will not be COERCED”--Senator slams fist on the table--”by this schoolboy myth of flaming dragons. And frankly, Mr. Secretary [he means Chairman]...I am disturbed...I am deeply disturbed, to see that you have decided to go along with these alarmists.”
“Are you, Senator?” asks Chairman, being coy I guess. He then notes all the important people who are “deeply concerned” (he includes the President). He then turns to Brian Donlevy, and asks if Prof “offered any advice?”
“No sir, there was none he could offer,” Brian Donlevy bleats, “til he knows more about the creature.”
“Gentlemen, I think we're in for a time of it,” notes Chairman. “I'm going to get as drunk as the rest of you!”
No, no, he doesn't say that. But I bet he is thinking it. He assigns Brian Donlevy the assignment of Whassup This Turtle, Yo. He then tells the assembled Old Guys and Snotty Senator that, if they will excuse he and Brian Donlevy, “the President is waiting.”
And we cut to some busy city street at night-time. Apparently it's in Japan, as we cut to a news announcer saying that Prof, Assistant and Newsman are the only survivors of that whole Arctic thing! So I guess Gamera flamed all the escaping stick figures from the ship, then turned around and impressively stomped the simple Eskimo village. Why didn't we see that? Well, I suppose it so we could get all that exciting debate footage we watched, while Gamera was cutting a swath of horrific destruction through the very heart of civilzation. I mean, be honest, which would you rather watch, dull old monster destruction scenes, or people insulting each other's credentials?
...really? You would? Well, I guess this review is a disappointment to everyone! Finally a perfect score.
Back to the movie, we cut to some old guy who is acting kind of drunk (a recurring motif, it seems) carrying some Japanese paper lanterns across a bridge while singing a song. He staggers along, until he hears the unmistakable sound of a monster in the air (a kind of high-pitched, whirring noise). Then he loses his expression of good cheer right quick. He looks up and sees an animated UFO fly through the air. He shouts something in Japanese, and when he looks back, the animated cartoon UFO is going back the way it came. Unexplained is whether it was also looking to get drunk and couldn't find an open package store at the appointed hour.
Well, it's the next day, anyway, and we cut to the ocean shore. On a distant cliff stands a lighthouse. But no matter, as a guy who might be Newsman rides his bike toward a gal who could be Assistant. He tells her that some kid, which might be hers or his or both of theirs, hasn't had trouble in school, unless you consider THIS trouble. And he thrusts a roll at her. No, no, no. A rolled up piece of paper. What did you think I meant? Ew, that's nasty.
Turns out it is a pretty good drawing of some flying turtles. She seems pretty upset by this, but also tells us it is not the first time. Bike Guy tells Beach Gal (and us, the audience) that the drawings were done by Beach Gal's brother, who has “an obsession” with turtles. He then says “I know how children are, they all like to collect pets and things, but this goes beyond that, so I thought I ought to see you.” In response to Beach Gal's query, Bike Guy says that this turtle obession might get this brother guy expelled. “Of course, I understand how lonely it is for him in that lighthouse out there, without any friends.”
“Uh huh,” Beach Gal says quickly. “Oh yes. It is very hard on a little boy his age.”
Bike Guy says he knows this, but wants Beach Gal to speak to, uh, um, Turtle Drawer about all this obsession stuff. She says she will, and apologizes for the trouble, Bike Guy says No problemo, but after he leaves Beach Gal is all, that darn Turtle Drawer and his, er, turtle obsession. One gathers she hates this crap.
Speaking of crap, we're at the 26 minute mark. Approximate giant turtle Gamera action: about two minutes, max. Arguing about whether there is such a giant turtle, and then throwing a hissy fit when not agreed with: lots of time. Time without measure. Time without sugar. Time without “e”, which would be Tim. Hello, Tim!
Cut to the interior of the lighthouse (I'm betting) where the family (Mom, Dad and Kid) are eating sushi. Kid excuses himself, no one cares when he leaves, but then Beach Gal pops indoors and asks Kid, disapprovingly, if he's going to feed his turtle. She calls out to Dad. Dad pops up and says he understands Kid's love for his pet turtle, but he and Mom want to talk to him about it. Kid is called into the Parent Meeting.
Beach Gal tells Kid that he has to learn to make friends with people, as well as animals. Dad agrees with this, and (in his New Yawker accent) tells Kid that he should set his turtle free in the lake, that this would be better for everyone, including the turtle.
Beach Gal says that if Kid gets rid of the turtle, Dad'll buy him anything, and Dad admits having big pockets.
“You want me to tell you what I would really like,” asks Kid, both welling up in tears and speaking like a lady. When he is assured Yep, he continues, “To keep it.”
Dad and Beach Gal are nonplussed by this rather easily anticipated response. Not that I'm sayin', mind. Dad takes the firm road and tells Kid that if he (Kid) doesn't release him (turtle), then someone else will, and it would be more honorable for Kid to do it. “I realize that this may seem cruel,” Dad says. “It is. But I'm doing it for your sake.”
In response to Beach Gal's query that Kid does understand, right?, Kid says he does, and goes to release his pet turtle. Sad saxophone music accompanies this.
We cut to Kid at the beach, advising the turtle not to go into the ocean, and bidding him goodbye. He then collapses into a bitterly-resenting-Dad-and-Sis heap.
Of course, he is not facing the ocean in said heap, so he doesn't see Gamera's huge head poking up from the water to gaze at, oh, I dunno, sad kids or something. I'm just grateful he's making his third appearance!
Kid, sensing some disturbance in the force, gets up and looks over at the beach. He looks at the rocky shore (I think) then pans over to see Gamera's face. A bit surprized by this, and a bit scared as well, he takes off through the waving fields of alfalfa, overwatched by Gamera's rather benevolent gaze. Well, I'm just saying.
Cut to Beach Gal boppin' along the lane, calling for Kid. He pops up, saying “Look!” and pointing toward...the now empty ocean. Beach Gal gently reprimands him about this “seeing things” stuff. Apparently, she doesn't want Kid to have any hobbies. But then the ground shakes, everyone shouts “Earthquake!” and Dad appears to make sure all is well. Kid points out that it is not an earthquake, then points out Gamera. Dad shouts out that everyone should run for their lives, but Kid runs into the lighthouse.
Gamera, much like a cat (well, my cats) thinks this is play, and knocks gently at the lighthouse...smashing it up pretty badly and making Kid hang from the wreckage. Kid loses his grip, and falls...into Gamera's palm. Gamera tries to return him to his Dad and Sis, but he's not so good at gently dropping things and Kid rolls a bit and seems unconscious. Hey, Dad, Sis and Kid—it could have been worse, Gamera might have eaten him like a gummy bear.
So, Gamera's all reet, then! Too bad about those Eskimos and that ship, but hey, omelets and eggs and such. After all, he saved a kid! Those earlier people must have been due to a cultural misunderstanding.
Well, Gamera roars and then leaves, distinctly not leaving a swath of destruction. Dad and Sis try to wake up Kid by grabbing his neck and giving his head some vigorous shakes. Luckily, this works. While wailin' sax music plays, Kid asks how he got down here on the ground. Kid, by the way, has an obvious lady's voice as his dubbed voice. When told that it was Gamera himself that put him (Kid) on the ground, he almost faints but nobody else notices, as they're all glad a) Kid is okay and b) Gamera is gone.
Cut to the airport, where a bunch of pushy reporters are descending on Prof, peppering him with questions. Even the loudspeaker calls out for him! But it's just a phone call from another Prof, who says Gamera was seen by reliable witnesses in a Place Whose Name I Didn't Catch, but I bet it's where he just was, catching the Kid. Prof informs Newsman and Assistant that that's where they're going. Good thing they're in the airport!
Back to Kid's house, where the radio announces that Gamera is definitely known to be at “Hokaido” (I caught it this time.) Kid sneaks past the adults, who are raptly listening to the radio reports. He sneaks down to the beach, to the accompaniament of Spanish guitar music. Honestly. He finds this little rock cairn where he apparently put his pet turtle from the earlier scene. He tries to get the turtle to come out of his shell, but when he doesn't, Kid theorizes that Gamera scared him too badly.
Cut to a nuclear power plant. Oh, you know this scene can't lead to anything good. Sure enough, Gamera strolls slowly past in the background. A plane spots Gamera, radios in that he (Gamera) is heading toward the Geothermal Institute, but then radio interference drowns out the pilot's radio. “Uh! Something must be wrong! I'm getting nothing but a high frequency noise!”
At the plant, the workers notice the tremors. They all rush outside and put on their helmets.
Elsewhere (I think) Prof and Co show up at some military base. There's a bit of a hassle with Newsman (nobody wants the press around) but Prof straightens the whole thing out. He then gets briefed on the whole situation. Oh, goody, more exposition. Hey, how about a debate, too!
Sure enough, the soldier tells us stuff we already know, although they point out that the nuclear facility actually isn't one, it's a Geothermal plant using the frequent volcanic activity to generate power. One bit of information likely to be useful: there's superheated steam there, over a thousand degrees.
However, Prof nixes the idea that the steam could be used as a weapon, as Gamera survived an atomic explosion after all. He asks how much power the plant generates, and when told the figure, says “it just might work!”
We see some footage of tanks setting up and aiming their guns. “Red Scout calling Red Leader,” says a voice on the radio in the jeep carrying Prof and Co and some soliders, “Red Scout calling Red Leader! Death Star in range!” Ha ha no he doesn't say that, he just says he's ready to attack.
We see some footage of the countryside speeding by, then Soldier turns to Prof and says his men are ready to attack. Um...Prof, who was standing right there, must have heard it too, but whatever. Prof asks them not to attack until he tries his idea. Soldier agrees.
Prof dashes out of the jeep and up the stairs, where he grabs this huge walkie-talkie. We see that he is on a platform some distance from the powerplant, and Gamera is walking right toward these giant towers with power lines in between them. Prof, noting Gamera nearing the wires, orders all circuits to be closed. Down below, we see folks do this.
Hate to be a party-pooper, but we're at the 36 minute mark, so this isn't going to work. Sure enough, Gamera plows through the electrical wires as if they were cobwebs.
“It didn't even slow him down!” notes Newsman.
“Yes, this was a mistake,” Prof admits. He then tells Soldier he can shoot Gamera all he wants to, now. So all the tanks go nuts and start firing like crazy. Although Gamera acts like this really hurts, you know he's just acting. As he flails around in pain, he starts crushing stuff and soon has the powerplant in a shambles. The minature effects here are pretty decent; there's even a tracer bullet (or whatever they use to indicate tank shells) bouncing off Gamera's shell. Then, he starts sucking in flame.
“Doctor,” says Soldier, “it looks like he's eating it!”
Prof agrees with this, vaguely pronounces it worrisome (I think he pronounces Gamera “invulnerable”), then tells Soldier he should evacuate the area. He himself has to go consult with another Prof. And we cut to this consultation. The other prof has long grey hair and a beard. He kind of looks like Colonel Sanders. He pontificates on how fire-breathing creatures have been noted in folklore, like the Dragon. When asked if Gamera is invulnerable, 2nd Prof says he's come to only one conclusion: “Obviously, his metabolism is not like ours.” Prof, that would be true even if he was a little tiny turtle. “It is not only conceivable, but extremely likely that his cell structure differs radically from known life-forms.”
Prof then speculates that Gamera may be silicon-based, which would put him in the same category as the Silicates from “Island of Terror,” a film I hope to review here some day. In case I never get to that, the short summary would be: it's very good. Well worth watching.
But back to this film. “That would explain his fire-eating,” says 2nd Prof, re: silicon. Don't bother to ask what he means, he's obviously a Genius and we mortals wouldn't have a chance understanding his thoughts. Anyway, he examines the stone the Eskimos gave Prof way back when, insists over and over that some markings on the stone aren't waves, and offers that the stone might contain the key.
While they all look at the stone and go oooooo, back at the powerplant, Gamera is still dancing around and stuff while the fires burn afresh. In the air, some planes attack him, so I guess Soldier ignored all Prof's advice to call off the attack. Gamera sucks down some more down-country flame (180 proof) and some other soldiers note how nothing they do don't seem to work, it only seems to make matters worse, oh plee-hee-hees. They note that only an atom bomb is left to try. (They've all forgotten it was already tried by the Soviets, and all it did was wake Gamera up in a bad mood.) Soldier says, Hey, you're right and wants to get in touch with another General.
We cut back to the meeting with Albert Dekker, Brian Donlevy and Senator Snott. Albert relays how the Japanese would like an atomic missle please. Everyone's down with that but Senator Snott, who has a hissy fit until he is (figuratively, drat the luck) slapped down by Brian Donlevy. Albert says that Japan can have all the missles it wants, and after they fail to work (sorry, but they won't work, we're only 41 minutes in), we can all call the UN and see what they have to say. Oh...that's a great plan, Albert. I'm sure the UN will be totally useful.
Albert then tells Brian Donlevy to get on with it, and he orders lunch. For everyone. (I'm sure the taypayers are paying for it.) Here, either the sound goes out of sync or Senator Snott practices his ventriloquism, as he says he will cooperate completely without moving his lips. If he went to the Circus to see the “hat lady” he doesn't say. Albert thanks him for this, in a manner of Government speaking.
Cut to some toy missle launchers readying their payload. Prof and Co (with special guest 2nd Prof) show up at the powerplant (good thing Gamera just decided to stay put, huh.) “Situation about the same?” asks 2nd Prof, and Soldier says yeppers but that's about to change, as the Americans are going to lob some nukes our way! He then mentions casually that folks ought to clear the area. Prof then says that the missles will not only be fairly useless, they'll probably be a source of energy for Gamera. Soldier says, hoookay, what do you suggest?
Before we hear the thrilling answer, we see...an extreme close up of a flashlight, obviously held by someone running. Sure enough, it is a soldier (small “s”) who is running up some stairs to announce that the evacuation has been completed. He's told thanks and goes jogging off again. Soldier asks 2nd Prof what they can do now, and 2nd Prof basically says “Dunno,” though it is more high-falutin' phrased than that. He asks Prof, who says, well, I dunno, too, but he has an idea, “which just occurred to me.” He reminds them all that Gamera might be vulnerable to cold, as he was frozen in ice for quite some time. 2nd Prof says, hey yeah, we must find some way to freeze Gamera!
Soldier steps in to announce that the army has, who would have guessed, developed a freezing bomb! Well, that sounds dandy for everyone. Soldier points out that the gases this bomb use dissipate in ten minutes (groan), but for the most part enthusiasm levels are pretty high over this. Wish you'd spoke up sooner, Soldier, but then, I once wished I had a million dollars and that didn't do me any good. So I guess we should all be grateful. Except about not having a million dollars. That's sure to generate bitterness for thousands of years.
But not in this movie. Prof asks if the military has enough of these freeze bombs, and the military says, well, um, they're experimental, but, uh, sure, we've got enough. (Which cancels out the “ten minute” thing. Just drop the bombs at five minute intervals until Gamera is frozen.)
Cut to the same spotter plane we saw in that earlier scene. He looks down to see Gamera walking away from the powerplant. Gamera has this funny walk, it's kind of a “strut” more than a walk. He really looks like he expects cameras all around to record him. Hey, Cameras for Gamera!
Anyway, the pilot says Gamera is leaving the powerplant, heading toward the mountains. Everyone in the Prof and Co room dashes outside to look, and opine that this makes it easy, as the planes can attack from all sides.
Spotter pilot reports that Gamera is heading for “Devil's Spring” and Soldier says Gamera ought to be attacked before he reaches this area, as it is a big resort area (!) and that would be, well, fairly bad if he attacked a resort.
“Hurry, forget the bumps,” the driver is told. Prof and Co are driving toward the resort so's they can watch.
Several jeeps arrive at the, um, observing spot and Prof tells the troops that since the freezing bomb only lasts ten minutes, they will need to have their work (they're loading dynamite) done before that time elapses. They all promise they will. So, they're ignoring my idea of timed bombings, eh? Well, it won't get them anything, as we are at the 45 minute mark.
Cut to Gamera at the rim of some mountain. Some planes fly by, and a mortar fires, and there are several explosions near Gamera.
Though I can't see it myself, one character says “Look, it's working!” and Newsman says that Gamera's movements are getting slower. How the hell can you tell? He's a turtle. But, everyone agrees that this is the best news ever, so I'll just shut up (except typing).
Assistant points out that, while the freeze bombs are working, “almost a minute” has passed. This alarms everyone so much that several soldiers rush forward to...to...uh, I don't know. Think cold thoughts, maybe.
Actually, they're drilling holes in the mountain. Uh...good. Good! Yes, that is quite crafty. Newsman points out that Gamera “is beginning to move,” although he seems to have not changed his pattern of movement at all to my (Western) eyes. 2nd Prof says that the soldiers won't have time to plant their dynamite. Is that what they're trying to do?
Anyway, time is running out; first there's only three minutes of effective freeze-time left, then there's just a minute, and even at 30 seconds the soldiers are still scrambling to complete their dynamite planting and fusing. Everyone's panicking because the ten minutes are up (and no one used my idea), but Soldier says not to worry, it's all ready now, and he gives the signal, and the dynamite blows up, blows up good, blows up real good, and makes a big cloud of smoke (conveniently hiding an unharmed Gamera...sorry if I spoiled it, but come on, we're not even at the 50 minute mark).
Well, Gamera slides down the side of the mountain and comes to rest at the bottom. But, he's on his back! If he can't flip over, humanity has won! Of course, he can fly, but I bet I shouldn't mention that.
“With Gamera, as with any other turtle, once he's on his back he can't get up again,” 2nd Prof offers. “We're very lucky that your freezing bomb has worked as well as it did. I think we've done it!” And there was much rejoicing.
Assistant congrats Prof on his noting of that whole “Gamera WAS frozen” thing. Prof accepts these congrats, and as someone moves in front of the projector, he says that in “a month or so from now, he'll be just another zoological specimen.”
But we cut to Gamera pulling inside his shell. Anyone who has seen any of the other Gamera films knows this means he is about to shoot flame out of every orifice, and take off into the skies. But this is the first Gamera film, so we don't know that he can do that yet. So shush. Go and sit in the back.
The soldiers notice this and seem to think it means Gamera is beaten. But Gamera (now who would have thought this might happen) starts shooting flame out of his orifices and takes off into the skies. “An amazing adaptation,” offers 2nd Prof, who is clearly impressed.
Prof asks for, and gets, the stone that the Eskimos made, and shows 2nd Prof that the waves he was bellyaching about earlier are clouds, proving that Gamera can fly. If, you know, actually seeing him take off into the aether wasn't enough for you, well, here, this ancient stone should convince you of everything. Oh ye of little faith, etc.
Cut to New York, to the UN building, and a meeting in session. A guy with a British accent announces that the American weapons have been completely ineffective, and it's now time for the UN to pull together as one unit to come up with a plan to destroy Gamera, “before he destroys civilization.”
The French, German and Russian delegates suggest a massive system of bribes that Gamera will be unable to resist; it will allow him to destroy things while diplomats scowl at him. CBS news reports that this is a great plan and no one should think otherwise.
Well, no, actually, I'm just kidding about all that. Just barely, but kidding nonetheless. British guy asks Brian Donlevy what to do, and he says that Gamera is looking for food all the time. He then talks about a time, millions of years ago, when oxygen was a very small part of the Earth's atmosphere. He says that animals back then breathed sulfur As oxygen increased, he goes on, animals developed lungs, but Gamera is “of the prior period.” He then points out that not all the sulfer breathers, rather obviously, were single-celled creatures.
Several envoys ask if that means Gamera breathes fire, and Brian Donlevy says, yes, he does. It explains why he is “most destructive” in some places where there isn't fire-food, and “least destructive” at oil refineries and such. His plan? Keep Gamera in one place long enough so that they'll “gain the time they need.” To do what, he doesn't say, but heck, it's a start.
The British guy opens the floor to discussion, and the Russians offer complete cooperation. So do the Americans. The UN decides to leave command of the mission with Brian Donlevy and some Russian guy we'll probably meet shortly. Oh, there's some tedious debate and point-scoring by the American and Russian ambassadors, but it just delays things. Trust me on this.
Brian Donlevy says that, after reviewing the evidence, etc, etc, etc, “Plan Z” is the plan that will save the world. British guy opens “Plan Z” for discussion, but of course, at that moment, we cut to someone pinning up a photograph of Gamera flying over Paris. Then a photo over the Pyramids, and one over the Great Wall of China. It's Assistant pinning these up, and she mentions that Gamera has been spotted all over, but only in the air. Prof's offscreen voice says that the freezing bomb probably frightened and “disturbed” him. He wonders what will happen when Gamera gets hungry again.
Well, there's a knock at the door, and Kid and Sis pop into the office. Assistant says that these people were there at the Lighthouse incident, and she asked them to pop by for a chat. Assistant points out some of the local sights that can be seen right from Prof's office.
Kid interrupts to ask if Gamera will be back; Prof answers that he hopes not. Kid says that Gamera doesn't mean to be bad, “he's just so big and clumsy.”
Sis immediately apologizes for Kid's whackiness. But Kid says that Gamera probably doesn't like being alone, and that if people were nice to Gamera, “I bet he could be trained to be nice and quiet, like other turtles.” He then runs to a map of Gamera sightings. “I wonder where he is now.”
And we get a very strange cut, as Sis tells Kid goodnight, and Kid rolls over in his blanket. She says it was nice of Prof to explain everything to him, especially the part about Gamera being really, really dangerous. She then suggests sight-seeing, as Assistant had previously suggested. They can see all kinds of things from Prof's office, I bet!
But he's popped into dreamland, and her pleas fall upon numb ears. So, we cut to some stock footage of a big flood. And a collision between two fuel ships. And then there's some footage of tbe destroyed powerplant, just in case we had forgotten all that mayhem and were inclined to think that maybe we should all just be nice to Gamera, and he could be trained to do simple tricks, like flatten cities and destroy buildings.
The newscaster mentions some big conference of double-domes due to happen in Japan, and then excitedly he cuts live to this very conference. Prof is addressing the assembled folks. He announces that Gamera is in Tokyo, but this is good, as it means “Plan Z” can be carried out. Part of this Plan involves luring Gamera to this remote island near Tokyo, where everything is ready for Gamera.
Just then, trouble at the Airport as interference, er, interferes with the radio operations. Everyone points at the arriving UFO, which is of course just Gamera using his flame-ports. He buzzes the tower a couple of times, apparently judging speed and distance, etc, then smashes right into it. He then spins down toward some other building, and causes it to explode into a giant cloud of flame (remember, Gamea eats this). But, he saved Kid, remember! So he's really not bad, he's just Misunderstood. Kid can vouch for him!
People in the ruined tower shout, “Gamera!” and we cut to a guitar band playing the Gamera Theme while teens dance. No, I am not making that up. It's really happening! They even sing “Gamera” over and over, like the Batman Theme (the song even sounds a bit like it). And you think the young people of today are callous and foolish. Well, these teens take the cake. Police enter and announce that Gamera is attacking, and the building starts to shake, but these callow youths don't want to evacuate, they want to stay and dance. The police chief announces that the youths are insane. I think it would serve them all right if Gamera flamed them, but you know that's not going to happen. Except maybe in an email.
Well, the building starts shaking, rattling and rolling, and either the teens are panicking or it's one of those new-fangled dances they're always having a craze on. And Gamera is outside, and he is smashing everything up totally old-school, knocking buildings down and stepping on trains and such. We see the teens fleeing as his foot comes into view, then he grabs this building and shakes it into rubble. Someone gets on the radio and announces that “Gamera is attacking” and advising people to seek shelter. We see some shots of them doing just this, as well as fleeing via highway (surprisingly low traffic, good thing too, as Gamera knocks a building onto the street). There's a rather silly shot of Gamera peering over a roofless building, at the fleeing denizens within, then he uses his flame breath (on something off screen). Inside another building, Prof and Co and 2nd Prof and some army types are all still planning away, until the building shakes and they all say “Gamera” over and over. Then they rush to look outside.
Remember earlier, when I said there was a picture of the Eiffle Tower? Well, it may not have been, as Gamera is now attacking something that, exccept for an excess of neon lights, looks a lot like the Tower. He grabs it and shakes it and pushes it right down. And there's a shot of him roaring over burning Tokyo.
Oh, and remember that bit with Kid and Sis and so on? Well, they're driving along and they run smack into Gamera, and the car seems to explode. Not sure if this is bad editing, or if Gamera is not quite the Friend of Children he's made out to be, but I think we can say goodbye to that subplot. It looked pretty final from where I sit.
Anyway, he knocks over another building and pours flame on the fleeing humans, and we see a crowd of them and the film goes negative as the flame plays over the image. It's imaginatively gruesome. And we cut to a radio playing a newscast about all this mayhem. And it turns out that the car with Kid, Sis and So On didn't have them at all. Because the radio is in their room. Kid is gazing wistfully out over the destruction, while Sis wants him to help pack. He's stunned or something though, so she has to do it all.
Finally, he speaks. “Gamera, don't do that. Listen to me! You mustn't.”
Well, I...hope that works, Kid. As it is, we get a closeup of the big guy's face as he strides through smoke and steam. And we get some shots of destruction. And apparently it's the next morning, as Sis and Mom are waiting to board, uh, the train I guess, and everyone wonders where Kid is. Someone says he went down to the river. So Mom runs off to look. Hearing some alarms, she turns toward them, just in time to see the train pull out. A bunch of panicked passengers, including Kid, rush to see the train they missed pull out.
And we cut to Gamera at the refinery, looking hungry. A bunch of soldiers are crouched down, ready to see if a pistol will have an effect, and some Soldier in charge orders a train to “go ahead.” It starts moving along the track. And we see two tanker cars move toward Gamera. When they get right next to him, they explode.
O'Neil, the guy who ordered the cars unleashed (but not Dick O'Neill from earlier), gets a phone call which necessitates some exposition. It seems that the island where the authorities think they can deal with Gamera won't be ready for another 24 hours, so they have to keep rolling fuel tanker cars at Gamera “until the supply runs out.” (Earlier you may remember that they said the island was “ready for Gamera.” I guess that was another lie. You damned UN!)
Anyway, the fuel workers send a big string of the fuel cars at Gamera. That's not the way to parcel them out, O'Neil! You're going to run out, and then there'll be sad faces all around.
Of course, Kid shows up at the refinery, and calls out to Gamera. Gamera starts pulling the string of cars toward him, like a string of firecrackers; naturally Kid climbs aboard, happy as a clam. Look everyone, it's Darwinism in action!
O'Neil notices Kid, and runs off to help him. He jumps on the train as well. Kid, the frickin idiot, is smiling, waving and calling “Gamera!” as Gamera picks up strings of cars and flings them around like, uh, toys (cough).
O'Neil finally reaches Kid and tries to wrench him off the train, but Kid is all, “No, let me go, he's my friend!” O'Neil screams and there's a cutaway to an explosion near Gamera. Fortunately, O'Neil is unhurt; unfortunately, Kid is also unharmed. O'Neil grabs the Kid and hightails it out of there. He even grabs Kid's luggage.
Back with the other works, O'Neil tells Kid, “That was a pretty stupid stunt you pulled back there.”
“It was not,” says Kid petulantly. “I wanted to see Gamera, that's all.”
O'Neil tells Kid to go home, and everyone laughs at Kid! This is my favorite scene in the whole movie. Ha ha, Kid is an idiot, and everyone is making sport of his idiotude!
And we cut to the UN, where a guy is explaining that Gamera will remain at the refinery (and I swear he says this) “as rong as we are able to feed him.” In fact, this guy talks that way through the remainder of his speech, saying that “the fuel supply is dangerously row.” When asked how Plan Z is coming, he says, “Our men are working around the crock.” It's noted that Plan Z has to work, or Gamera could destroy civilization “as we know it.” It's always “as we know it” in these movies. What other kind of civilization is there?
Back to Prof and Co, where a guy with a Southern accent (but not the same guy from the beginning of the film) is announcing that more fuel has been delivered to the refinery, so Gamera will stay where he is, and Plan Z will be ready later tonight. Everyone hands out congrats, but 2nd Prof stomps on this as surely as Gamera stomps on tanks when he says that there's only enough fuel for one attempt at Plan Z.
Cut to the Plan Z location being evacuated, and Prof and Co are saying goodbye to Newsman, who says it isn't fair he has to go. It's because they're only allowing one newsman, and he isn't it. So a character I never cared much about who had no big scenes leaves. Is that a bit of dust in my eye, or is it a tear? No, it's just dust.
Not too far from Gamera's All You Can Eat Refinery, 2nd Prof and some military types note that Prof and Co should be at Plan Z Island, and they express the hope that they can get Gamera over there too. And guess who couldn't leave well enough alone? It's Kid of course, stowing away behind some crates. Back with 2nd Prof, either Mom or Sis shows up and tells 2nd Prof about the little turd's absense. Instead of declaring it cause for celebration, everyone is all worried about this.
Soon, the crate with Kid on it is being taken to the Plan Z staging area. While Prof and Co are discussing Plan Z with some other Professor looking types, we hear Kid offscreen demanding to be let go. Apparently everyone knows this Kid, as Assistant tells him he shouldn't be here.
“I'm sorry,” he pouts. “I came here to see Gamera, that's all.” Look, you rotten brat, you've seen him lots of times (usually as he deals out destruction), how many times do you have to see Gamera? How many other people's lives to you have to put at risk for your damned fantasy friends? I hate this kid.
Anyway, Prof decides Kid can stay if he promises to behave, which he lies and says he will. Assistant goes off to feed him to the pirhanas...I mean, feed him some food. Prof announces the time to commence Plan Z is...now.
Old Southern Guy says, “But Doctor Hidaka, are you sure this scheme of yours will lure Gamera to Oshima Island?” Imagine that said in a heavy Southern accent. Prof answers, by the way, that he's “practically certain, assuming of course his behavior pattern remains unchanged.” He grabs a phone, and gives the go ahead for Plan Z.
Some guys reel out big hoses, and some other guys throw barrels into the water. Some boats go into the water, followed overhead by a plane. 2nd Prof tells Mom or Sis the good news, that Kid is on Plan Z Island and he's almost certain to be incinerated. Mom or Sis is happy. (Can you spot the lie I inserted in that pair of sentences?)
Back on Plan Z Island, the boats arrive, and Prof says that phase two can begin. On shore, some soldiers shoot the floating barrels, which explode into a nice lake of flame. This catches Gamera's attention. A track of fire (I guess the boats were dumping gas into the water) streams across the surface of the sea, toward Plan Z Island. 2nd Prof looks like he has eaten a particularly sour pickle. Slowly, Gamera turns to follow this new food source, to Plan Z Island. Everyone hands out more congrats, and 2nd Prof decides not to dash everyone's hopes this time. No, that job will be left to Kid, who gets a closeup which says, Oh, I am sad.
Well, apparently Mother Nature is a big Gamera fan too, as we now get a typhoon warning from the loudspeakers! A small typhoon has changed course and is heading toward Tokyo. Man, if it is not one thing, it is another! What the Hell! Argh, argh argh!
But, fortunately, everyone seems to think this won't make any difference, once Gamera gets to the Island. And sure enough, a lot of people start shouting “Gamera!” and everyone goes off to look. Followed by Kid, who gets a tracking shot. Hey everybody, let's hate Kid. And let's laugh at him, too.
Sure enough, Kid starts yelling, “No, Gamera! It's a trap! Get back, you're in danger!” I sure hope one of the military folks on the island has an “accident” with his gun right about now.
Now, the typhoon is blowing out the fire, just as Gamera was about to land. Gamera turns and heads back to the refinery, while Kid gets a big grin on his face.
Prof and some other Profs discuss what they might do. One suggests using some fuel from Plan Z, but Prof counters by saying there wouldn't be enough for the plan itself.
Just then, a soldier goes nuts, starts splashing fuel on some of the tents and lighting them on fire. It turns out it was Newsman, all along, and he's doing this so Gamera will return. Prof sees how correct this is, and orders everyone to pitch in. Kid gets a worried look on his face.
Gamera sees and hears this new brouhaha, and lumbers ashore to see what's up with this fire and such. And then a torrential downpour starts. Boy, these people can't get a break! Newsman suggests getting gas from the trucks to keep the fire going. And everyone else seeks shelter in the one unburned tent.
But you know what? Haven't seen Kid in the last few seconds, since Gamera came ashore, in fact. Who wants to bet he's up to no good?
Well, it turns out he's just happy things are working out for Gamera, so civilization can be destroyed and he won't have to do chores. The fires on the tents go completely out, and Gamera heads back to sea.
This damned movie is just taking way too long. It should have been over ten minutes ago. We're now at one hour, nineteen minutes and these last few bits have been padding to lengthen the running time! Bad movie, bad! Very very bad! No Oscar!
Well, to top things off, the volcano on Plan Z Island decides to erupt at this moment (to be fair, the guy warning about the typhoon mentioned this might happen, so it's not too much of a deus ex machina). And Gamera, who can't decide if he's coming or going, decides to turn back to the island to chow down on some volcano. Everyone's happy about this, except of course, Kid.
Gamera lumbers up to the volcano. And suddenly—man, what a jump cut!—it's bright daylight, not a drop of rain in the sky, and everyone who was soaking in the tents is now in a nice clean research facility. Even Kid, looking depressed (ha ha ha, Kid. I hate you. Everyone hates you). Someone notes the approach of a plane, and it's suggested that it is 2nd Prof.
Aboard the plane, we see that it is 2nd Prof, along with Sis or Mom. There's a happy reunion between Kid and I guess it is Sis, not Mom. And it's five minutes until Plan Z is put into its final stage. Kid takes Sis to see the immense inside of a hanger, wich is filled with rounded cylinders marked “U.E.” (Very nice matte painting, by the way.) Everyone gets on a little elevator, which takes them to the room in the first shot, there. It's now ten seconds to go “and holding.” Prof orders Step Two to commence.
Some gas jets ignite around a huge circular area in the ground. Gamera, nearby (having eaten the volcano, I guess), gets up and charges toward the circle and steps right into the center, whereupon Prof orders the “hatches opened” and the jets put out. Gamera stands and watches as the sides of the circular area expand, just like a movie screen after the previews are done. Prof then orders, “close capsule” and two halves of a bullet-like shell converge from either side, creating a gamera-sized capsule with a Gamera in it.
Prof orders the count resumed, and duly counts off ten, nine, etc, all the way to one. We don't skip a single digit. Fortunately, Kid doesn't take the opportunity to sabotage stuff.
As one is reached, the capsule rises above the ground, revealing itself to be attached to a rocket with gangplanks on either side. And the rocket launches into space. (This rocket must be the size of a sky-scraper—and it was buried, too! The guys did a lot in 24 hours, I must say.)
At Air Defense (remember, the folks at the beginning of the film) pandemonium erupts with the success of Plan Z; likewise at the UN there's a lot of whooping and hollering (Brian Donlevy gets a little shot where he buttons his jacket). On Plan Z Island, everyone cheers as well and watches the rocket soar into the atmosphere. Just then, UN radio comes over the loudspeakers saying how great Plan Z is, and how everyone helped, especially the French, and how this plan was to put Gamera in a rocket and launch him to Mars! No, I'm not kidding about that. That's the plan. I suppose if they shot him into the sun, he'd eat the sun, wouldn't he?
Prof and 2nd Prof give each other hugs, and then Prof and Co, reunited, say how they all saw the beginning of this, and now they've seen the end of it, too, wasn't that great (Newsman complains he didn't get a picture...again. You suck, Newsman)? I can only hope I'm watching the end as well. I swear, if I hear, “Just a moment, we have spotted a meteor shower heading for Gamera's rocket!” I will probably burst into tears, and you wouldn't want to see that, would you?
Oh, you would, would you? No pie for you.
Luckily for everyone, that day isn't yet. Prof explains to Kid what happened to Gamera, “so I guess he'll still be lonely, eh?” Kid says, basically, that that's okay, because now he's going to become a scientist and travel to Mars someday! Then, as the guitars perk up on the soundtrack, he runs to the camera and says, “Gamera, sayonara!” And Gamera's rocket turns into an animated dot, and we get the damned end, finally.
Well, first of all, let me say this: aaaarrrrghhhh.
If you've seen any of the Gamera films, you know they're pretty stupid, but this one really takes the prize. Also, if you've seen them, you know about “the Kenny,” a small boy who takes up the cause of Gamera's innocense and defends him and his actions to the world.
However, that's usually because Gamera is trying to save the world from worse monsters, which inevitably ends up with some destruction (with monsters, it's hard to avoid destruction). Here, there's nothing like that—the Kid is a moron, pure and simple, who is cheering on (when not aiding and abetting) a monster who has been responsible for countless deaths and massive destruction. Everything the Kid does in this movie will have you saying, What the hell? It might also have you wondering how screwed-up this kid is going to be when he's an adult (if we're unlucky enough to have him reach that age). He'll probably be some kind of psychopath at best, perhaps even a murderous dictator or something. If death and destruction mean nothing to him, eh, he's whacko.
One has to wonder, in turn, about the scene when Gamera saves the Kid from falling. Granted, had Gamera not been there, the Kid would not have needed saving, but hey, you know, running time and all. Why did Gamera save him? Why not just toss him as far as he could, just to see how far that was? Since he basically destroyed everything else he was around, the scene makes no sense at all. Because, it's not like this was the only time anyone was nice to him, so he responded by being nice; no, in no other scene can I recall his murderous rampaging starting because someone, uh, chucked a rock at him or something. No, he just showed up and commenced to stompin'.
Perhaps, in addition to his flying ability and his fire-breathing (and expelling) powers, Gamera has some kind of limited psychic ability. Perhaps he knew this kid would save his shell on more than one occasion. Maybe that's why he saved him.
Perhaps, knowing what he unleashed upon a world not ready for such madness, Gamera then became a good guy to atone for this.
Anyway, I've seen three Gamera movies now. That's enough for anyone's lifetime.
How about a recommendation? No, I don't think so. There are certainly enough goofy bits to be entertaining (the debates and the hissy fits spring immediately to mind) but despite their number, they're surrounded by lots of dull scenes of talk. There is some monster mayhem here and there, and some of it is impressive, but there's just not a lot of it. The plan that ultimately “deals with” Gamera (only through delay, though) is goofy enough to be memorable (and it seems fairly unique).
But then there's that damn Kid. Seriously, I am not by nature a violent, wrathful person, but this little twerp just made the whole film depressing and contemptuous.
Watch at your own risk. Supply some liquor drinks and you may have an easier time of it. Fun not guarenteed—not guarenteed? Heck, not available in this area.
--January 10 – February 28, 2005