OOM #18 – Gamera tai Shinkai kaijû Jigura (1971)

Hell yes! Here we are, the madness is already more than halfway through and I’ve had no problems so far, amazing stuff is going on in my life and the world is happy, but we all know that deep inside our souls, the horror of Halloween is unavoidable and terribly imperious to the souls of the human beings. Look the way in which it has taken over the soul of James Rolfe in this video regarding the last Gamera film in the original series, ‘Gamera vs. Zigra’ (1971). You can also read my sadness right below.

This movie is strange, because it starts really good, it makes a silly yet heartwarming parallel between raising up children and training dolphins and other sea creatures in the japanese version of Sea World. Then, it completely shifts in tone, from an almost documentary approach to both experiences, it then goes wild and silly with the apparition of a spaceship that rapts two kids and their respective parents, only to be confronted by Zigras, which is actually a japanese looking woman that pretends to take over the world in behalf of Zigras, though she’s also called Zigras, and it seems clear that this is a common conscience that has taken over this otherwise very kind japanese woman. The kids manage to escape the ship with their parents, but she is conducted by the big Zigras (the monster that Gamera will fight eventually) to pursue the kids and kill them because they know too much! The sequence that follows this woman as she goes down to Earth to go after the kids is hilarious and cheesy at the same time, it features her nabbing a bikini to make a driver stop and drive her to Sea World, and there she chases the kids in an almost Scooby Doo fashion, with gateways and paths that lead to unexpected places, all this with a very asinine music that really doesn’t bring anything interesting to the scene, it would’ve been great to see this with a frenetic or even silly music.

And in a sense that’s what happens with this movie, it seems like a bunch of missed opportunities but in the mere technical side of things, including how the script was built around the premise of the monsters fighting. The art of the spaceship is really impressive, colorful and interesting, but then the set dissapears, and whenever we get inside some other gadget that is technologically advanced, we are given a very murky and not that beautiful design, it’s as if the art director and production designer had quit halfway through the shooting of the film, and they decided to just bring two guys straight out of college. I’m not here to really diss the film, because it manages to get its message across, much like ‘Godzilla vs. Hedora’ (1971) released the same year, but just like that movie, it seems as if the most important thing was the premise and not how the actual movie was made, filled with faults and mistakes that could’ve been easily avoided if the director (the classic Noriaki Yuasa) actually paid attention to what was going on in the set. The fight scenes are decent and the plot is still understandable, and the sequences with the woman controlled by the alien were hilarious and well made, enough to make the grade go up a bit.



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