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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Back to the monster movies from our big list (HERE).  We still have thirty-plus to go before Godzilla opens in May.

Today's movie is Gamera: Super Monster (aka Space Monster Gamera; 1980).

My son will go first:
Well, this was a bad movie with horrible effects, but, it's about power rangers and a collage of Gamera movies.  If you're a fan you've seen all the movies before so even the fights were boring. 
So, rating wise, i'll say 0.6 out of 5 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness!!!
My turn:
I read up on the film's production before writing this.  The studio, Daiei, was in serious financial straits and their buyer cranked out this movie in hopes of recouping on their investment.  No dice.  Super Monster was a flop. 
Deservedly so. 
Look, I have an affection for Shōwa era Gamera, but that stems primarily from the films' inclusion on Mystery Science Theater 3000, on which the movies were lambasted with zeal.  Some of them are fun, but more often than not, the Gamera films have been goofy at their best and annoying at their worst. 
Recounting the old Gamera movies is apropos here since more than a third of the movie is recycled footage from the other films.  An alien invader throws monster after monster at Earth only to have Gamera destroy them.  That's what we're told, anyway, as we watch the turtle fight the same kaiju all over again in supposedly new battles. 
That's an upside, I guess.  If you want a taste of the Gamera movies and don't want to watch them all, you can just watch this one.  It's a clip show.  And it gives you a taste of what the series was like even outside of the monsters. 
There's an often-annoying kid with a predilection for turtles.  There's goofiness.  There's a poorly conceived and executed alien threat. 
Something new, though.  Aliens who aren't evil.  The "Spacewomen."  They do their little Ultraman/Power Ranger/Wonder Woman schtick and then they transform ... into their space clothes.  It's not great but it's not bad, either.  (Not the transformation; the concept.) 
Regarding the new stuff, what's bad?:
  • The special effects.  Remember how local commercials used to look in the '80s on your cable channels?  That's how everything looks here.  Scan lines, fuzziness, that indefinable "video tape" quality.  Sure, the previous Gamera films were nothing to write home about, but this ... this is just crap.
  • The music.  Oddly, the Spacewomen use it all the time and our kid "hero" plays the organ all the damn time, too.  His momma wants to hit him for it.  I wish she would.  And he writes a new "Gamera march" that takes over for the beloved Gamera theme of films past.  But I love turtle meat ...
  • Star Wars.  Look at that poster.  The alien ship is a straight-up copy of the Star Destroyer.
  • Gamera.  Yes, there is some new Gamera footage in the movie, but just a couple of minutes worth.  It all has that horrible videotape sheen to it, but the puppet or suit they use is even worse.
Gamera: Super Monster ... at least the fantastic Heisei series is still to come.  1.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Here's the trailer:

Up next, Return of Godzilla (aka Godzilla 1985Gojira).

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