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July 21, 2018, 07:57:37 PM
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Latest Member: BBYDOLL Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  Gamera vs. Jiger (1970) « previous next »
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Author Topic: Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)  (Read 507 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« on: August 01, 2014, 11:14:13 PM »

A joint venture between a Japanese firm and some white people (my best guess is they're supposed to be Brits) seeks to dig up a statue on remote Wester Island, which is rumored to have been part of the lost continent Mu.  The idea is the statue will be the centerpiece of the 1970 World's Fair, which is being held in Japan.  The chief of the Wester people comes to Japan to protest by waving his arms and saying, "BOOGEY BOOGEY BAGOO!" over and over.  Eventually, he says, "JIGER!" a couple of times and leaves.  No one takes him very seriously.  Perhaps then, they should take Gamera a bit more seriously, eh?  The titanic turtle shows up on Wester Island to try and force a halt to the excavation of the statue but he's too late.  He goes off to soak up energy from a nearby volcanic eruption.  Hmm, why would he need to do that?  Is he anticipating combat?  Well, what do you friggin' think?

Jiger shows up at around the sixteen minute mark in this movie and immediately fights Gamera.  Once the traditional first-act defeat of the monstrous terrapin has been achieved, Jiger head to Japan to wreck s**t.  And wreck some more s**t.  And then wreck even more s**t!  There is a stupendous amount of s**t getting wrecked in this movie.  Gamera finally manages to free himself from the predicament Jiger put him in and flies to Japan for round two.  Jiger kicks Gamera's ass even more thoroughly this time, going so far as to implant a parasitic larvae inside him!  This makes Gamera fall unconscious and the flesh on his head turn transparent enough that you can see his skull.

Oh, dear.  What now?  What's that, you say?  "Time for the annoying little kids to save the day?"  By Joe, I think you're right!  This movie's Kenny and his friend, uh, White Kid pilot a submersible inside Gamera's body (!!!), locate the parasite, and kill it with static from a walkie talkie.  Yeah.  Then they run some high-tension wires direct to Gamera's heart so that the entire power output of the city can be used to bring him back to life.  That accomplished, Gamera goes for round three with Jiger.  Somehow, Gamera has figured out that the statue from Wester Island emits a sound that can subdue Jiger.  He uses the statue thusly, then jams it right through Jiger's freaking skull!  This may be the only monster movie where the good monster wins by shiving the bad monster to death.

Gamera vs. Jiger is very good, one of the best old-school kaiju flicks.  As mentioned, the monster action starts early and just keeps coming.  Jiger is one of the most convincing man-in-a-suit quadrupeds I've ever seen.  She looks sort of like a triceratops on steroids.  She also has a pretty unique power set.  Her horns can shoot spears capable of fully penetrating Gamera's limbs.  She has rockets built into her cheekbones.  She has a deadly ovipositor in the end of her tail.  Her ultimate attack is a sonic/heat ray capable of vaporizing a few dozen city blocks at a time.  Oh, and she has suction cups on her feet that give her a ranged vacuum attack!  The city sets that Jiger and Gamera smash are detailed and blow up real good.  The fights between the two kaiju are awesome.  The first battle, for example, has Gamera and Jiger trying to rip each other to pieces like a couple of rabid dogs, culminating in Jiger impaling Gamera's arms and legs with her spears, then knocking him onto his back.  She chuckles at his agony and leaves him to die!  There's even some genuinely cool camera work, most notably the tracking shot of Gamera fleeing across the city after his second ass-whipping from Jiger.  Note how director Nisan Takahashi makes excellent use of depth in the composition of this shot.  It would have looked great in 3D.

But what about the annoying little kids?  Well, they aren't so annoying or little in this one.  Kenny and, uh, White Kid are in their early teens (they're supposed to be 13).  Amusingly, they seem to realize they're in a monster movie and constantly act as if they've read a few pages ahead in the script.  (For example, when Kenny's dad asks him to help build the aforementioned submersible early in the movie, Kenny mentions that "this will come in handy later".)  I'm not sure if this was an attempt at self-aware post-modernism in a kaiju flick from 1970 but, if so, it works pretty well.  Plus, when was the last time you saw a Kenny do anything as audacious (or useful) as going inside the freaking monster to personally kill the parasite infecting it?  White Kid has a little sister who's maybe six or seven but even she manages not to get on anyone's nerves.

I'm not sure if Gamera vs. Jiger is the best of the original Gamera series - Gamera vs. Barugon is awfully good, you know - but it can stand toe-to-toe with any of the 70s Godzilla movies.

Afterthought: Gamera is a lot smarter than Godzilla.  Has Godzilla ever used a giant smokestack to block enemy projectiles?  No, he hasn't.

Kneel before Dr. Hell, the ruler of this world!
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