is of course the 60 meter tall giant turtle monster that is awoken from his
(its?) centuries long frozen slumber in the North Pole by an accidental
He breathes fire and “flies” by spinning through the air like a flying
saucer. Gamera has no qualms about incinerating an entire club filled with
antiauthoritarian beatniks with his fiery breath, but saves a small annoying
boy from falling to his death (you can guess at whom the movie is aimed).
Gamera: The Giant Monster is the first movie in a series intended to
cash in on the success of Godzilla by a rival studio. It is however a
bit of a snore as well. (The movie however isn’t as much of a downer
as the original 1956 Japanese version of Gojira
– better known to Western audiences as Godzilla of course.)
Yup, it’s Mystery Science Theater 3000
territory all right, but Gamera never scales the dizzying heights of
other “so bad, they’re good” monster classics such as
Mothra vs. Godzilla. Still, fans of
the genre would probably want to check out what is the first DVD release of
the original Japanese version of this movie.
THE DISC: Presented in its original aspect ratio the print used is
practically free of any blemishes such as scratches, specks and so forth.
The movie looks really fantastic. However the disc seemed to “stutter” once
or twice. A minor inconvenience though – and it could just have been our DVD
player instead of the disc itself.
There is a trailer and a 20 minutes long retrospective look at the Gamera
franchise (which was big with Japanese children of the era). The
retrospective is in Japanese and has a lot of talking heads. The staccato
audio commentary by an American enthusiast is filled with the sort of trivia
that will make your head hurt.
WORTH IT? By now you ought to know whether you’re the sort of person
who would rather spend an hour and a half of your life on a mid-‘Sixties B&W monster
flick as opposed to, let’s say, reading a biography of Stalin or listening to
Brahms’ piano quartets.
RECOMMENDATION: If you’re looking for sheer bizarro badness, then
you’d be better off checking out some of the Gamera sequels such as 1968’s
Destroy All Planets instead.