Godzilla… he has his rivals, but none have ever been as popular as the big G. Gamera has come close though, he’s been around since the late 60’s and, like the G, been in both kiddie and serious action films.
The plot of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe is pretty standard fare: 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. (from IMDb)
In essence you could take out Gamera drop in Godzilla and the plot would remain intact, including the destruction of the Tokyo Tower. The actual script would have to change though. Why? Well, Gamera has a few tricks up his shell. Not only is he ginormous, pondering and the destroyer of cities he is also, it seems, part machine… or something. You see, Gamera has powerful booster rocket things in his feet so in times of need he can simply rocket out of the situation.
Not only that, but it one scene he spins 360 degrees and effectively becomes a UFO! Speaking of which, in one scene he rockets into space! Everything was a plain Jane monster movie until that whirling UFO-style scene. Caught me off guard it did…
Like the majority of the G-films the models and suits are up to par, and I mean that in a good way. Although people mock these types of monster suits, you have to realize that these films are made on a low budget yet, in most cases, rake in a ton of money. We in the West might laugh, but it’s the East who get the last laugh.
CGI is present but is, thankfully, kept to a minimum. All those bright explosions seem quite real to me. The CGI is only really used to superimpose the giant birds and for some laser/sound wave effects.
I’m a big fan of Godzilla and thoroughly enjoyed this Gamera romp. There are apparently another two Gamera films that make up this ‘trilogy’ (of sorts) and I’ll definitely be checking them out ASAP.
If, like me, you like your monster movies then definitely check out Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. The others I’m not so sure about. Yet.