The giant flying turtle is back for this 1995 Japanese feature where once again Gamera's intentions are misinterpreted by the military. All Gamera wants to do is take on his old enemy, Gyaos, the giant prehistoric bird who has nested atop Tokyo Tower. Written by
My main reaction was that this was nearly perfect kaiju. I saw Toho's Godzilla 2000, and here's why it wasn't half as good as this: Godzilla was too big. They made him too big, that's all. Gamera here was the right size: just as tall as a tall building, so when he falls over backwards into it, it really crumbles. So beautiful! I actually bought a Gamera figure (1999, Bandai) before I saw this. And I still haven't seen the subsequent two. But this was just great. They took advantage of new digital tech, as Godzilla 2000 did, but also refined what was great about guys in rubber suits clomping around smashing models. Only complaint: some of the matting when they were flying down the street was weak. But then again, part of the fun is knowing deep down that they're guys in rubber suits, so some flaws are exceptable. In fact, I'm sure each kaiju fan has his own pet special effects gaff that really makes it for him. Mine is the street lights. They never look real. Don't know why. But it's just so great that someone came and glued them there onto the miniature sidewalk. Some great long-distance shots, too. Best one: when Gamera and Gyaos are plummeting back down from outer space, and there's one shot that looks just like a sky-diving shot, with the blue Earth below - did they throw a giant turtle out of a plane and shoot that? And Gyaos roosting on the ruins of Tokyo Tower, silhouetted in the sunlight
The big final battle was great. Gyaos' eggs falling on the cars.
Oh, and there were a lot of great laughs. Especially when the plutonium ship captain comes running in and says, "There's a monster coming out of the ocean!" and he's told, "Not now, we're busy capturing giant birds." I saw a subtitled version. Thank god. The pacing was pretty damn good, too, since you're really only interested in seeing about half an hour of the thing. To watch this stuff in the 21st century rocks. It really reminds you how limited CGI is and what movies really are about. Don't mess with the rubber suit!
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