A weird yet entertaining one awaits us today in this new day of Overlook’s October Madness, where we take a look at ‘Gamera vs. Guiron’ (1969), which you can jokingly revisit with James Rolfe at his site, or you can read my review right here.
This is truly one of the weirdest and most entertaining kaiju films that I’ve seen in a long time, by no manner is it better than the second Gamera film, a consecuential and actually plot-filled film that satisfied in unexpected ways, but it manages to scale quite a few steps just being insanely entertaining for 82 minutes. The film starts with talk about stars and planets, we are dwelving into the mind of someone like me when I was around 7 or 8 years old, obsessed with stars, planets, black holes and aliens, watching documentaries and tv shows about UFO sightings and other programs like that. It was very nostalgic and also kinda jealous to see this two kids (the second time that the kid protagonists are one american and one japanese kid) talking about outer space and aliens whilst perusing a telescope. Of course, the mother of the japanese kid doesn’t aproove of all this dreaming and hanging around doing nothing related to school (TAEHENDESNE!). That is until they see a UFO carefully land in the landfill next door, that they decide to explore, and obviously, they make it work, but they can’t control its trajectory, it leads them to somewhere they’re not sure of, but it can’t deviate from it’s course, they’re going to crash into a meteorite, but behold! Gameraaaaaaaaaaaaa is here! The friend of all children (said outloud quite a few times in this movie) and this is when you could actually think that the movies have definitively veered into kids territory, forgetting everything about the horror, but oh boy, just wait until they get to the planet (a carefully explained situation where the planet is actually opposite of the sun at the same distance as Earth, but we could never see it because the Sun was always on the way… I believe and buy that explanation, well done science geniuses at Toei!). There they meet a new monster, Guiron, who is the inspiration to the Knifehead creature in ‘Pacific Rim’ (2013), a shark that has a sharp knife as a head, that it uses to cut off its enemies, either be their wings, head or body parts in a bloody and sequential manner. But don’t worry kids, Gamera is here to help and aid you, you’ll be in Earth in no time, that’s it if the sexy alien women from the planet oposite to Earth don’t eat your brains first!
It’s a really cheesy picture, it manages way too easily to veer into ridiculousness, but it has a heart, a big heart that knows that this stuff is actually unbelievable, but we only want to see the monsters fight and the kids to be rescued. The sexy alien girls are like a staple of this kaiju films, being repeated and reused in many Godzilla films, as well as the plot of the aliens trying to go to Earth just to use their resources. The production design of the planet is gorgeous, and even the use of colours is incredible, just like in the previous movie, it also serves as a kids picture (minus the bloody monster parts, of course) in the way of its adventurous and ludicrous way to put the kids as the heroes of the day, as well as purveyors of a peace message that seems to be read out loud from cue cards put in fron of the child actor. Anyway, as much as I can say so many things that don’t work about this movie, I can’t help but being enamored of the whole thing in the end, it’s just too sweet and fun to be criticized harshly, why do people hate the Gamera films while they praise the Godzilla movies? I’m not saying they’re in a similar level, but Godzilla has just a few levels less of ridicule, and just about everything else that is made a tad bit better, but the level of entertainment is on par, I have a great time seeing the Godzilla films, and I have a good time seeing the Gamera films, honest fun, not “I’m making fun of it” fun. I hope these films get their due, they shouldn’t be maligned because of the modern reviewers that seem to ask for perfection at every thing that they watch, one must set standards, and this is on its own league.