Continuing with my “Rubber Monster Flick” theme I decided to mention yet another Japanese Kaiju star: the flying Turtle Gamera.
Like Godzilla, Gamera also started out as a black and white Kaiju flick, but never really had the following that the giant reptile did. Let us face facts; flying turtles just do not have that “believability” about them. I only discovered the Gamera movies courtesy of MST3K, which features some of the movies: (Season 1: K04 Gamera vs Barugon, K05 Gamera, K06 Gamera vs Gaos, K07 Gamra vs Zigra, K08 Gamera vs Guiron) (Season 3: 302 Gamera, 304 Gamera vs Barugon, 308 Gamera vs Gaos, 312 Gamera vs Guiron, 316 Gamera vs Zigra). If you are able to appear in multiple seasons of MST3K then you are really doing well (or badly). The truth is that some of those Gamera movies are appallingly bad and they got worse as each successive movie came out..
The Heisei series of Gamera movies are a different kettle of fish altogether, and they are really fantastic, with stunning special effects, a decent storyline and an overall professional feel about them. The first was Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
followed by Gamera: Attack of Legion (1996)
and finally Gamera: Revenge of Iris (1999). In my opinion Revenge of Iris is the best of the three.
The Gamera story seemed to be open ended, with hints of an invasion of Gyaos (aka Gaos), and the fourth movie in the series did not materialise. Instead we were treated to a complete new story called Gamera the Brave which was a standalone story that seemingly had no continuity with the previous 3 movies. It is a poor movie, relying on an element of comedy without the raw emotion of the 3 movies before it. It is hinted that there is another Gamera movie in the pipeline, but who knows which direction it will take (Alien vs Gamera?) Gamera also has a cameo in Godzilla Final Wars, but he is already dead, and we do not get to witness the much desired battle between Godzilla and Gamera.
Gamera started out as a third rate production, but the three gems that were made prove what can be done with this genre if you know what you are doing. Sadly though, only Toho seemed to understand it, and got it right on a number of occasions. This genre however is best not left to Hollywood because they will screw it up like they did with Cloverfield, .
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