|Copyright 1965 Daiei
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'
- Gamera - A really fig bucking turtle which is annoyed after a nuclear blast wakes him up.
- Toschio - Complete brat kid who loves turtles, if he was my kid I'd drown him in a well. (Named Kenny in the American version.)
- Dr. Hidaka - Turtle researcher who gets in the limelight real quick when Gamera shows up.
- Miss Sakurai - Hidaka's daughter, just here to give Aoyagi a girl to drool about. (Named Catherine in the American version.)
- Aoyagi - Reporter who is smitten with Sakurai, he's also a pyromaniac. His day pretty much goes like this: take pictures, burn something, dream about Sakurai, drool, take pictures... (Named Alex in the American version.)
- Professor Murase - Paleontologist and an expert on giant fire eating turtle legends.
- Kyoke - Toschio's sister? Mother? I dunno. (Named Nora in the American version.)
|Godzilla's success spawned a horde of copycat monsters, but Gamera is a special case. He was just minding his own business, hibernating under the arctic ice sheet when some idiot drops an atom bomb on him. So he wakes up, looks around, and sees a Japanese research ship, at this point the grumpy terrapin conveys his displeasure by smashing the model boat.
Then Gamera goes looking for chow, he's a little hungry after sleeping for the last few millennium. So what does a fire breathing turtle eat? Fire... ...this is pretty much equivalent to you or me munching Chee-tos then projectile vomiting yellow mulch at people. It is unfortunate that Toschio does not have the stomach contents of a sixty meter turtle emptied on him, I HATE THIS KID. He spends the entire movie talking about loving turtles and Gamera especially, even climbs aboard a train to visit the monster. (Officials are feeding it tank cars full of oil.) For some unknown reason everybody in the film just thinks he's cute for doing all this, I'd be smacking the brat around. The amazing thing is that I'm certain we are supposed to feel for Toschio, he's the "cute little kid" we're all going to love. He's an annoying putz who probably gets beat up in school for the same (good) reason, thank you very much.
The film was shot in black and white, probably to save costs, but the format makes the arctic scenes look very cool and detached. I found myself wishing for a narrator to describe the ecosystem of the frozen land, plus his reaction at a huge turtle would have been priceless. "The seals move from breathing hole to breathing hole, hoping that a hungry polar bear is not... ...WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?"
Gamera as a monster is okay, what sort of entertainment value do you want out of a huge, flying, fire breathing, and fire eating turtle? You're watching for all the neat reactions from the actors of course. Case in point of the American actors, my high school drama teacher wouldn't have let them in the school play. It's hard to believe English was their first language, it's one thing to have some problems speaking a foreign language, but quite another to stutter in the same tongue you use every day. Plus the "General" who was obviously reading his lines directly off the "radio dispatch" he was just handed. (Watch the eyes move left to right as he says his lines. Oh the horror, the horror.)
Special Note: Unable to destroy Gamera Earth's scientists implement the "Z" Plan and launch him into orbit around Mars (or at Mars, needless to say the red planet is getting one unhappy camper) on a huge rocket. I was mildly amused by the idea that some alien civilization might someday be following the instructions of Voyager to contact us and find Gamera first. I am pretty sure they'd be less than amused with that Easter Egg.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:
- Jet aircraft have a mute button to run silent and carry rear firing missiles.
- Nuclear blasts don't melt ice.
- Actors that can't make it in America go over to Japan. (Where they still probably starve or work at McDonalds.)
- Prehistoric turtles were tough hombres.
- Large buildings are built using chicken wire and plaster.
- Gamera loves to go sightseeing.
- A single sixty meter turtle (about two thirds of a football field mind you) can change the tides.
- It is possible to lay a perfectly straight oil slick across miles of open ocean.
- 2 mins - I know this is just the opening credits, but I'm getting seasick.
- 5 mins - Is English your second language? No wonder you couldn't get a job in Hollywood! Go flip burgers, you freak.
- 13 mins - You just read your lines off that sheet of paper didn't you? My God, you suck.
- 17 mins - AWFUL DUBBING.
- 37 mins - No, I think that he means it can just about freeze anything... (Go watch the scene.)
- 42 mins - You must be kidding me, he shoots flames out of his shell and flies?
- 54 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST AN AIRPORT!
- 58 mins - Hey brat, he's stomping a serious hole in Tokyo, what exactly is your definition of being bad?
- 79 mins - That is one big rocket, if Gamera is sixty meters tall, it's about...six hundred meters, I guess.
- Aoyagi: "The Third World War might begin any minute and we'll all be killed, why should we bother about giant turtles?"
Dr. Hidaka: "Yes, maybe you're right."
- Policeman: "You hear that, it's Gamera! Hurry, hurry, everybody run! Don't you want to live, get moving!"
Teenager: "Ah cool it will yah, Gamera doesn't scare us."
|Audio clips in wav format
|Starving actors speak out
|American General: "Have you spotted anything on your radar screen?"
American Radar Guy: "No sir, it must be coated with anti-electric wavepaint sir."
American General: "Okay."
|Professor Murase: "Our ancient legends did mention fire eating turtles..."
|Toschio: "Sir thanks a lot, Gamera saved my life for me once, Gamera's really a nice turtle."
|Click for a larger image
|Scenes from the movie
|Watch a scene
|MPEG video files
|Gamera wades through the city, dispensing painful death to anyone unlucky enough to be in his path. People being burned are surprisingly orderly about it, they just lay down en masse.
|Leave a comment
|Buy the movie