|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||SOUNDS||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||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||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||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
Reply #17. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Todd Shields
As if the Kaiju Eiga genre wasn't silly enough, they had to bring a turtle into it. Still, Gamera does have that appeal shared with Godzilla, even if most of his movies sucks.
But this mutant ninja turtle eventually got his revenge against the big G in the 90's when Daiei reintroduced him in films that were better than Toho's then current G-offerings.
(But Toho didn't mind since the distributed the new Gamera films in Japan...talk about good karma.)
Reply #18. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Megaloman
The movie is fun, if a little too Godzilla-like in presentation. I enjoy all of Gamera's movies to an extent, even the two worst , Zigra and Monster Super, Gamera. Wonder what ever happened to Neptune Media?
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Gayos
This is a kind of film where it tries to match Godzilla's greatness. The film copies more than just Godzilla. I rate this awful yet entertaining film 3 out of 5.
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Mark Radburn
When I first Bought Gamera I thought he was great and also his first movie was great. The Special effects are great the destruction scenes are very well done but Just because Gamera breaths fire just like Godzilla doesn't mean Gamera is a rip-off of Godzilla there's one monster movie that's a rip-off of Godzilla and Gamera called Yongarry the Monster From The Deep but who cares anyway this movie is cool and a Kaiju fan will love the gamera movies if he/she loved the Godzilla movies.
Reply #21. Posted on August 06, 2008, 10:46:24 AM by Chris Conley
I hate to say this but the drunken american actors are in the japanese version as well
that's what the japanese hired to play the americans in the film, i check imb and found that they may not be even american actors but japanese pretending to be american and speaking american
Reply #22. Posted on March 29, 2009, 02:46:24 PM by George
Our friend on You Tubes KMR had a lot of good things to say about this,the original Gammera that started it all,I really enjoyed his review of this one!.
It is indeed the NTA version,Gammera The Invincible, with Brian Donlevy & Albert Dekker,and the truth is Daiei was pleasantly surprised at how much better this version was compared to the original version in which the original American actors weren't so good.
I remember finally videotaping this movie on WPIX in 87,we had a big c-band dish,I'm glad we got one!.
Anyway whether you like the original American version with Donlevy & Dekker,(which I do),or the original Japanese version,it's nice to know they are both out there on dvd!.
Reply #23. Posted on June 03, 2010, 10:23:44 PM by George
As I previously stated I prefer the original NTA release of Gammera with Brian Donlevey and Albert Dekker.
Since the original Japanese & SF versions were the same,I now have from Showa Video,the original J-version and a special letterboxed NTA version,after viewing the J-version,I'm sorry to say it's just not as good as the NTA version,in fact Gamera might very well have been laughed right out of the country if we had that horrendous SF E-version,and that's why I have to go with the NTA Gammera The Invincible,in fact there's one scene they have that was cut by Diaei.
When Gamera was headed toward the power plant,the strings broke on the puppet they were using,causing him to run towards it,NTA picked it up,slowed down that portion of film and added eerie music to it,and that worked!.
Oh the good old days when American Film Companies knew how to dub and even remake some of the Japanese Monster Movies!
Reply #24. Posted on August 05, 2010, 12:24:04 AM by George
Shout Factory,those noble folks have finally made a dream come true,Leave it to Beaver The Complete DVD Series!.
I have mine and it's Great!!,Bev,Wally,Ward and June,plus the others,Eddie,Lumpy,Larry,Miss Landers,etc.
I would of loved to have lived in Mayfield myself,many thanks to Shout Factory for doing what Universal wouldn't,but after releasing the doublesided discs of the first two seasons,it was well worth the wait!.
But as we also know Shout Factory's also releasing Gamera DVDs.
Unfortunately they seem to be of the Japanese variety with no AIP English versions.
Although I did hear something about Sandy Frank versions possibly added to the later editions.
Shout Factory couldn't get Gammera the Invincible at the 11th hour?,and they couldn't edit War of the Monsters to fit the AIP soundtrack?.
I'm glad I've got every English version of every Gamera movie,we know Gamera vs. Zigra is the only real Sandy Frank movie in the whole bunch,but the 2mins of Gurion chopping up Gaos,and Agie saying"Come back again soon and see us Gamera don't forget now!",at the end of Gamera vs. Gaos is worth putting in the original AIP versions.
If I could I would,but I don't so I cannot,one can only hope the good people of Shout Factory will,but I do appreciate there interrest in Gamera,as well as giving us Leave it to Beaver the complete series!.
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