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Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen

Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995) Movie Poster
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 Lang:  
Japan  •    •  96m  •    •  Directed by: Shûsuke Kaneko.  •  Starring: Tsuyoshi Ihara, Akira Onodera, Shinobu Nakayama, Ayako Fujitani, Yukijirô Hotaru, Hatsunori Hasegawa, Hirotarô Honda, Akira Kubo, Kôjirô Hongô, Takashi Matsuo, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Tomiko Ishii, Jun Fubuki.  •  Music by: Kô Ôtani.
        A moving atoll appears at sea on the site where radioactive waste is about to be dumped. Nearby Himegami Island is then suddenly attacked by large reptilian birds. Attempts are made to capture these, but then a giant-sized turtle appears out of the sea and takes on the birds. An ancient plaque is found on the atoll and when translated reveals the creatures were created by an ancient civilization, the birds being the Gyaos and the turtle Gamera. But as the military hunt both down, schoolgirl Asagi Kusanago develops an empathic link with Gamera, being hurt whenever it is. She realizes that Gamera has been created to destroy the Gyaos who are causing devastation in order to bring the world back to the polluted state they are used to living in.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 2:29
 
 
 1:20
 
 
 0:32
 
 
 1:04
 
 
 2:14
 
 

Review:

Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
Image from: Gamera Daikaijû Kuchu Kessen (1995)
When Gamera first appeared in Japanese theaters in 1965, he was nothing more than a Godzilla-want-to-be. The giant flying turtle was one of the few want-to-bes that achieved any level of success close to what Godzilla had, but there was still nothing primal about him. Now truth by told, although I am a huge kaiju (giant monster) fan, I was not and still am not a fan of the original Gamera series. Those films were so juvenile and unbelievably dull that they made even the corniest of the Godzilla movies look like visionary works of art by comparison. And so Gamera had that reputation for a while. He was popular and suited only for very young children. That was until 1995, when director Shusuke Kaneko changed all of that with a very successful inventive trilogy of Gamera films that changed the flying turtle from just another Godzilla rip-off into his own character...and in three very good movies. The first was "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe." In this vast reinvention of the Gamera series, decades of environmental catastrophes have awakened a flock of bat-like creatures called the Gyaos, who begin to plague Japanese islands and then threaten the mainland. Around the same time, a giant turtle referred to in legend as Gamera, awakens at the same time. As the monsters begin to battle, its soon discovered that their simultaneous appearance and their aggression for each other is anything but coincidence.

Now in terms of its plot, "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe" is anything but special, but then again, neither was "Predator" (1987) or "Jaws" (1975) or to a certain extent "Gojira" (1954). Like with all of those movies, its the high-energy pacing and the stories that make "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe" work. The best word to describe this movie is fun. Even Roger Ebert, who is not a fan of the kaiju genre (see his review for "Godzilla 1985" for proof) admitted he had a fun time with the film.

One thing I particularly liked about "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe" as well as the other two movies in the trilogy was that even when the monsters were not on screen, I was not bored for a second. Typically in monster movies, the creatures are the most interesting element and the human characters are inane and time-fillers. This film is an exception. The characters are familiar in terms of classification (scientist, witness, etcetera) but they are fairly fleshed-out to become likable. The dialogue is also very well-written so that for once, the explanation of the monsters' origin is not long-winded, familiar, or tiresome.

But of course, I can't leave out the star of the movie, Gamera himself. Kaneko's decision to change Gamera from a child-friendly big-hearted turtle into a more vicious and animal-like, yet somehow appealing monster was absolutely brilliant. Now in terms of how he's presented, no, Gamera is not spectacular, but then again neither was the shark in "Jaws". And both creatures carry of their parts effectively. The Gyaos are also fairly well-done, although in their earlier scenes, there was a little too much of a phony expression in their ping pong ball-like eyes. Overall, the special effects are a little more then what you'd expect, although not fantastic like in the second and third installments of the trilogy.

Bottom line, "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe" is like the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" of Japanese monster movies. It's not meant to be taken seriously and nobody does, it doesn't try to be anything more than what it is, and every second is nonstop energetic and pleasurable cinematic fun.


Review by TheUnknown837-1 from the Internet Movie Database.