Ingrid and I are back again with another Gamera Movie Marathon. We started this rewind Sunday night with Gamera the Invincible. We’re going through the original 8 movies of what is known as the ‘Showa Era‘. We’ll be going over its highs – and its incredibly painful lows. Now for the record, we will be going with the AiP (American International Productions Television) dubs/re-edits of the movies when applicable. The Sandy Frank dubs were just too corny (but we know at least one movie we’ll have no choice but to use that one).
We continue out Marathon with the second film, also from 1966, Gamera Vs. Barugon, which some consider to be the best of the Showa Era of Gamera films, a sentiment Ingrid and I can somewhat agree to. But after seeing the next film we kind of decided to put them both on an equal footing. In other words, “they’re the best for their own different reasons” level. But I, as a longtime Godzilla fan, can definitely say that this movie definitely fits alongside the original Big G’s Showa line-up.
Now this movie has many departures from the original. For starters, this is the only Showa Gamera movie not directed by Noriaki Yuasa but instead by Shigeo Tanaka (Yuasa would still direct the special effects). Second, there are no kid characters at all in this movie! Third, Gamera is barely in this movie. And lastly, the human plot is more mature (by comparison) and darker than the other Gamera movies in this era.
It begins, six months after the events of Gamera, the Giant Monster, and a meteorite collides with the Z Plan rocket and frees Gamera, who then returns to Earth.
We’re then focused on Keisuke, a young man who was sent by his brother to find what was believed to be a huge chunk of Opal. Along the way he has two friends, one of which is named Onodera (or as Ingrid and I call, the Bastard) Onodera would kill the other friend, try to kill Keisuke, kill Keisuke’s brother (and his wife), and nearly ruin the plan to stop the monster later on. Seriously this guy was someone Ingrid and I kept Rooting to see get his comeuppance.
The “Opal” turns out to be an Egg that hatches into the monster Barugon, a reptilian monster that can fire disintegrating rainbows from it’s back and freeze things with its extending tongue!
Ingrid and I loved this movie and felt it the characters were very well handled and the story was very good too. The only fault would be the lack of monster action. Fortunately that will be cleared up next time
Will Gamera be able to defeat Barugon? Will Onodera get his karmic death? Well check out what Ingrid and I think.
Want to watch it in its original language? Here’s the full film!
(You can turn on English CC subtitles)