Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kaiju Reviews #25 - Gamera vs. Zigra

I'm back, baby! Now, after looking at some of my older reviews and [as-of-this-post] being in the process of watching all of the Godzilla movies in order, I decided that I'd tackle these Kaiju flicks after fresh viewings from now on, rather than basing them off of memory. As such, I won't be covering Godzilla 2000 quite yet, but I got one of Shout Factory's Gamera DVDs recently and decided that I'd go ahead and review the last true Showa film in the Gamera series:  Gamera vs. Zigra. Now, let's get on to the plot synopsis, shall we...?

We start off with an alien spaceship attacking a Japanese moon base, quickly heading towards Earth... But then we focus a little bit on animal shows in a Japanese Sea World (I have a bad feeling about this already). After that, we focus on two kids who live near the Sea World, named Helen and... Kenny... couldn't they have named him something else? Anyhow, instead of going to school, the kids sneak onto their fathers' boat. They're soon found out by the dads after Helen whines about wanting a Coke (oh yeah, I forgot to mention she's an American... an American who whines about Coke every five minutes). While the kids are being scolded by their dads, they point out a spaceship that crashes into the ocean nearby. Everyone goes over to the ship to investigate, only to be teleported inside; boat and all. Inside the ship is a woman claiming to be from Planet Zigra. The Zigrans [assuming that's what you call them] live deep in the ocean and have contaminated their world with vast amounts of pollution. Given that over 70% of the Earth is covered with oceans, this was the most natural place to go. However, on their planet, they eat any creature that lives on land... which is strange given that they live deep in the ocean, but whatever. The Zigran woman threatens to level Tokyo with a Magnitude 18 earthquake unless the humans give in to their demands, essentially becoming their cattle. Fortunately our plucky heroes manage to escape and inform the military of the Zigrans' plan. Meanwhile, it turns out that this woman is being hypnotized by our titular monster, Zigra; which, if you can gather from the poster, is a giant shark-looking thing (interestingly, he resembles the real-life Goblin Shark, which is very common around the waters of Japan). He orders her to kill the children, or else his plans will be ruined. As such, she ends up pursuing the children at Sea World. Meanwhile AGAIN, the military tries to take down Zigra with some fighter jets, but his spaceship manages to shoot them all down with barely any effort. Fortunately, Gamera arrives to save the day (who before this, only made brief appearances earlier in the movie; which mostly consisted of him flying around and looking down at the kids with those weirdass eyes of his). He then attacks the spaceship underwater and causes it to explode by breathing fire on it... even though he's underwater... yeah... Anyway, this releases Zigra, who ends up growing larger to the differences in Earth's water pressure... alright... However, after a somewhat brief battle, Zigra manages to defeat Gamera, giving him total paralysis. Thankfully, as far as the human side is concerned, the Zigran woman ends up being caught and her hypnosis disabled; however she still has all memory of her experience with Zigra. The fathers (with the kids stowing away, of course) then go into the ocean inside of a bathyscaphe [strangely pronounced as "bathyscope" in the dub] , in an attempt to wake up Gamera. However, they come across Zigra, who immediately attacks them and commands the government to attack them, or else he'll destroy the bathyscaphe. The UN reluctantly agrees, but a bolt of lightning ends up reviving Gamera, who manages to retrieve the bathyscaphe from Zigra and return it to the surface. He then goes back to take down Zigra, who has superior mobility underwater; as such, Gamera ends up taking the fight to the surface, where he quickly has an advantage over his opponent, jamming a rock into his beak, which pins him to the ground. After showing off his awesome musical talents, he roasts Zigra with fire breath (which honestly would've been the first thing I tried; but I guess I shouldn't question the almighty Gamera). Now that he flame-broiled that felonious fish, he flies off after a job well done.


Even though it had a lot of lapses in logic, I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. Thankfully, the kids aren't TOO annoying and Zigra [being one of the only kaiju who's able to talk] is fairly intimidating (both in demeanor and design), being given a lot of screen time. However, similar to the Godzilla movies at the time, there are bits of humor in the monster scenes in order to lighten the mood, such as the xylophone moment above. Overall, it's a fun movie and I recommend for those Kaiju fans out there who can enjoy more lighthearted fare.

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