Gamera's back, and just in time to save Japan from Gaos, a mysterious bat-like creature awakened by a volcanic eruption. As in the first Gamera movie, a young boy establishes an emotional link with Gamera, and the two work together, with the help of the world's scientists, to put and end to Gaos' violent rampage.
Directed by: Noriaki Yuasa
. Starring: Kôjirô Hongô
, Kichijirô Ueda
, Reiko Kasahara
, Naoyuki Abe
, Tarô Marui
, Yukitarô Hotaru
, Yoshirô Kitahara
, Akira Natsuki
, Kenji Ôyama
, Fujio Murakami
, Kôichi Itô
, Teppei Endô
, Shin Minatsu
. Music by: Tadashi Yamauchi
When it came time for him to make "Gamera vs. Gyaos" in 1967, director Noriaki Yuasa's skill with the motion picture camera had vastly improved since his first stab at directing the giant terrapin two years prior. That was one of my chief complaints about the first movie, "Gamera the Giant Monster": I was always aware that it was being directed by a neophyte filmmaker. For the second movie, the marvelously colorful and entertaining "Gamera vs. Barugon," Mr. Yuasa was given command of the special effects crew and this was great practice. Because by film number three, this one, his talents had been buffed up and he was set to make a satiably entertaining low-key monster movie.
In this third entry, a volcanic eruption results in the return of Gamera, who is drawn toward sources of heat and energy, and the awakening of a giant bat-like monster called Gyaos, which begins feeding off the local populations, eventually terrorizing a large city to satiate his hunger. Initially drawn in to defend a young child (Naoyuki Abe), Gamera begins his second war with another giant animal.
"Gamera vs. Gyaos" was given a smaller budget than its immediate predecessor and one can tell examining their qualities. This entry does not have the same brilliant special effects and a fair amount of acting is subpar. But then again, that's also part of the charm. And besides, Mr. Yuasa and screenwriter Nisan Takahashi treat their story with a surprising amount of seriousness. At times, it's downright creepy. Gyaos is one of the more truly evil monsters in the Gamera franchise and it's no surprise that he's been reused in all of the film generations since his debut here. There's a scene where we see him poised over a wrecked train, leering down hungrily upon a crowd of fleeing people, in a shot that is perfectly integrated, and it's rather unnerving.
There were no children shouting "Gamera! Gamera!" in the previous film, but there is one here. However, the young actor, Mr. Abe, has some charisma and he isn't as obnoxious as he potentially could have been. The movie does not focus upon him: he's a supporting character and the dynamic between him and Gamera is not annoying nor insufficient, and it does not create a schizophrenic mishmash when paralleled with the more solemn moments of the movie. The story also has some engaging elements, such as the introductory plot of the road construction officials clashing with stubborn landowners unwilling to give up their leases so than an expressway can be built through their property.
But the stars are the monsters and they are in good form. There are three battles between the two behemoths, each of them satiably lengthy and imaginative. The only big lapses being moments where we get close-ups of Gamera's hands as he claws around for boulders (or young children in peril). Like the previous entry, there is also a fair amount of gore, but Mr. Yuasa's counters by giving Gamera and Gyaos green and purple blood respectively, so that children will not be so affronted. The creatures are also well represented by clever use of low-key special effects and good cinematography, with only one really badly-directed moment where Gyaos is recovering from a battle inside of a cave, at which point the camera angles and contrast between the suit and the miniature set seems rather amateurish.
Although it fails to reach the same height as "Gamera vs. Barugon," the third entry in the original series still manages to hold up well as low-key entertainment. And it is instilled with that wonderful sense of unrestrained imagination that I tend to associate with science-fiction.
Review by TheUnknown837-1 from the Internet Movie Database.