It begins now my friends. Today is the
day, December 1st, in the year of our Lord of 2013, that I
watch and review every Kaiju monster movie ever made.
Not just Zilla and Mothra and them, but Yongary and that
horrible Monster X. Every last one. And if I'm
going to start off this glorious journey, I must start it off
with my favorite monster as a child, that being Gamera, the
flying turtle. After watching 'Gamera the Giant
Monster', Gamera's inaugural 1965 flight, I was struggling a
little to remind myself why I loved Gamera so much more than
A thin piece of thread is flying four ships through the Arctic
Circle while hardworking Dr. Hikada (Eiji Funakoshi), his
assistant Kyoke (Harumi Kiratchi) and erstwhile photographer
Aoyagi (Junchiro Yamashiko) talk to some Eskimos. Not
quite sure about the research the doctor is doing with the
Eskimos, but it's really neither here nor there. What is
important is that the U.S. Air Force is none too fond of
unknown planes flying over stuff, and blows these planes out
of the sky. Unfortunately one of these planes had nukes
on it and the nuke detonated. Fortunately, Dr. Hikada
told his people that they were far enough away from the
fallout zone of these nukes, though it looks to me they were
like 300 yards away. Lamest nukes ever.
But due to these lame nukes, the ice cracks and a giant,
sabertoothed fanged turtle emerges. My main man
Gamera. And he's pissed off. Gamera will not be
the defender of the Earth and the friend of children in this
movie. No sir. Gamera is kind of a dick.
First thing he does is smash the ship that brought the Doctor
and his crew to the Arctic Circle, then he breathes fire on
the few that got off the ship, completely lighting them
up. See what I mean? That was uncalled for.
We can't forget the little kid Toshio (Yoshiro Uchida) who
loves him some turtles. I mean really loves him some
turtles in way that's completely unhealthy and totally
annoying. In fact if it wasn't for Toshio's hot sister
Nobuyo (Michiko Sugata), he'd serve us no purpose in this
Gamera soon disappears, and Dr. Hikada
figures he just died to overexposure to radiation and sunk to
the bottom of the ocean. While we loved Dr. Hikada's
distinguished graying temples and all which him look super
smart, for an expert, he was pretty much wrong about
everything in regards to the turtle. So bullets
and fire don't hurt Gamera. In fact he loves that
stuff. The Doc figures maybe if they could freeze
him. Turns out the army just happened to be working on a
Freeze Bomb! What? So they freeze Gamera to slow
him down, but there's a problem with the Freeze Bomb
though. Apparently, whatever it freezes apparently thaws
out eventually. Who could've forecast that
improbability? The good thing though is that it got
Gamera on his back and turtles on their backs eventually just
die of hunger. Unless they can FREAKING FLY!!! The doc
is wrong again.
Then for some reason that I can't quite figure out, Gamera
descends on Tokyo and wrecks it. Kills millions.
Those he couldn't crush in buildings, he fries to death with
his heat breath. See what I'm saying about Gamera?
Who could love that? And in the background Toshio is
telling everybody that 'Gamera isn't bad'. Uh…
Toshio? Gamera is simply awful. Just awful.
Now we are stuck. Gamera is invincible, he's fairly
brainless, and he's an asshole. I mean it would be one
thing if he was eating humans, say like the monster Gyaos will
be doing in future movies, but Gamera is murdering because
apparently murdering feels good. Good thing we have Plan
Z to fall back on! What's plan Z? Think of awesome
then imagine the opposite of it. And be thankful that
Gamera is really dumb.
The good thing about my viewing of 'Gamera the Giant Monster'
is that I got to watch the Original Japanese version, no
dubbing, no inserted scenes. That's Outstanding.
We don't want to put too much pressure on a movie about a
giant flying, fire breathing, bi-pedal turtle, and we
appreciate Daiei Studios attempting to break Toho studio's
monopoly on giant monsters, which I think they eventually did,
but Gamera's initial flight was a rough one.
Let's bypass the simple fact that director Noriaki Yuasa's
film is meandering, nonsensical even for a giant monster
movie, and sometimes dead dog slow. We will also ignore
that fact Gamera is wildly inconsistent, like doing stuff such
as catching a falling child and laying it down, then the next
moment setting people on fire for the crime of avoiding being
crushed by tons of debris. We will also attempt to
ignore, that while the Japanese actors seemed just fine, the
American actors were dudes who were on a tourist excursion or
something, and then were asked if they wanted to be in a
movie. I know I would've said hell yes. It is more
difficult to ignore that the alleged 'cute kid' in this movie
was anything but, and that if Gamera wanted to impale him on
one of his saberteeth, we wouldn't have been mad at him.
We're going to ignore all of that, because the main issue from
where we were sitting is that my main man Gamera, no matter
how many buildings he knocks over or poor Tokyo-ites he sets
on fire… he just ain't that scary. Giant turtles are not
oppressive. Kind of like a Giant Moth isn't
either. The goofiness that is Gamera works so much
better as a friend than a foe, and I'm assuming Daiei figured
that out rather quickly and sent Gamera down the path he
belongs, that as our friend protecting our planet and not
setting Japanese citizens on fire for no good reason.
He's still my favorite, and I doubt there's much that can
change that, but this was still a rough ride.