Gamera vs. the Space Monster Viras is a bad movie.
However I have to admit it was enjoyable. Unlike a certain other bad Gamera movie.
So knowing this you should watch along:
Alright, time to get back on track.
So right off the bat Gamera gets a theme song. Sung by Boy Scouts no less. The song would have you believe Gamera is strong.
He flies through space when a spaceship shows up.
The spaceship is looking for a planet close to theirs, and earth is perfect apparently!
The spaceship has a certain Tim Burton/bees thing going on. We can’t see any aliens, just a disembodied voice and the cockpit. Which is TOTAL CHEATING.
The ship freaks out when it sees Gamera, perceiving him as a threat.
Gamera kicks the shit out of the spaceship then goes back to earth.
Next up…more singing Boy Scouts. But in person. The subtitles just read “[boy scouts singing]” so I suspect it’s not about Gamera.
Hey it’s Kôjirô Hongô! I didn’t mention him before but he was the protagonist in Gamera vs. Barugon and Gamera vs. Gyaos. First he was a pilot turned Indiana Jones, then he was a construction worker. Now he’s a Boy Scout…teacher? Captain? Scout Leader? I think it’s Scout Leader.
We now meet our protagonists. Both Boy Scouts, one in a different uniform, apparently on loan from the States? They’re pranksters off committing hijinks while they’re meant to be on the beach with the other Boy Scouts.
They creep through a research station and reverse the controls on a submarine.
As a Canadian I see nothing strange about the American kid being really good with a lasso. All Americans are cowboys right?
They get back to the beach and fucking hijinks man. Turns out the Boy Scouts are getting rides in the submarine, but the driver gets kind of freaked out by the controls and cancels the trip.
But our plucky protagonists demand they be given a try. And they are? It seems wildly unsafe to just hand over a broken submarine to two grade-schoolers and let them try it out.
It gets worse – no adults in the submarine with them.
If that submarine could only hold one person besides the pilot this was going to be a shitty field trip anyways.
The kids drive the submarine while the spaceship watches from space.
The aliens sorta research/recap Gamera’s past, playing past footage. It won’t be the only time this happens.
So the movie plays TEN SOLID minutes of preexisting footage. The damn thing’s only an hour twenty anyways. Plus it makes me look at fucking Barugon’s gross tongue again. Automatic points against this movie.
I really hate Barugon you guys. Ugh.
After cheaply extending its runtime the movie gets back to business.
The children pilot the submarine when Gamera shows up! They race him and do tricks where they like pilot the sub under his legs and stuff.
So I guess Gamera is just aquatic now. Plus he can breathe in space. Absorbs fire and energy. Has an indestructible shell. Pretty sure he could kick Godzilla’s ass. He probably wouldn’t want to though.
I’m really starting to like how adorably nice Gamera is. He’s just a nice guy. All smiles and helping kids and stuff. It’s a pretty adorable character trait for a giant monster.
So they’re hanging out and getting chummy when the spaceship launches, and I quote, the Super Catch Ray. It’s a circle of translucent fabric unreality, but I assume it’s meant to be a forcefield.
Gamera suffers through the pain of the ray to let the kids out. They go back to the surface and no one believes what they just saw! Trope trope trope. It’s actually kind of funny when you think about it, because this lazy scene is exactly as unimportant as it is uninspired. The spaceship is visible in no time, and that sorta proves the point.
Gamera pops out of the water towards the ship, which has formulated a plan. They fire the Super Catch Ray again, this time at our plucky Boy Scout protagonists. The ship slurps them up and holds them hostage, leveraging agreeable behaviour from Gamera.
Quick interlude, just researched the monster from this movie on Wikizilla and found this:
Like many of his fellow “Showa” era monsters, Viras has not appeared in any movies since his initial movie debut, save for a stock footage appearance in the film Gamera: Super Monster. However, he made an appearance in the short-lived Gamera comic series by Dark Horse that was based on the Heisei Gamera movies. In this series, he was the product of experimentation with Gyaos DNA. He’d eventually face off against Gamera amidst the streets of Paris, France. In said comic series he looked relatively the same, except for more Octopus/Squid-like features. Viras also appeared (along with other “Showa” era Gamera monsters) in an episode of the children’s cartoon Franklin. In the episode, Franklin is afraid to go into his shell at night because it’s dark, and his fear is manifested as ghosts of the various Gamera monsters including Viras that come out of his shell.
Franklin. Because he’s a turtle I guess?
I feel you must all watch this. JUST LOOK AT IT: http://youtu.be/S9nl7hBZLAo?t=12m17s
The aliens get Gamera to approach the ship and then stick him with a mind control…thing. Nubbin. It looks like a nubbin.
Then they command Gamera to attack Japan. Then we see ten minutes of Gamera attacking Japan.
TEN WHOLLY UNORIGINAL MINUTES.
That’s right, this movie has a total of one hour of original content.
What’s worse this second ten-minute chunk of repeated footage isn’t even framed as a flashback.
What’s worse is the movie doesn’t even flinch as it cuts in black and white footage from the first movie.
What’s worse is that of the handful of effects sequences this movie does have only two are action sequences.
What’s worse is this movie only has one kaiju-on-kaiju fight.
Even fucking Barugon fought Gamera twice.
So ten minutes of Gamera wrecking buildings I’ve already watched him wreck.
I am not going to lie to you – I scanned through this portion.
I’ve been watching these in close enough succession that I had absolutely no need to watch them again. I remembered those fights. Can’t remember a single earth human’s name but I remembered the details of the destructive sequences in the Gamera series.
Maybe I need reevaluate my priorities?
[Takes a deep breath, tunes in to Neutral Milk Hotel on vinyl, calms down, continues writing]
So the kids are on this spaceship and they start getting into more hijinks. Thank god they’re not too wacky.
The ship is being run by these completely human looking guys. Occasionally their eyes glow yellow.
Turns out the spaceship is powered by telepathy. The kids keep trying to find ways to dupe it into helping them escape. It doesn’t work and starts to try my patience.
They stumble across this caged tentacle monster and consider freeing it. They decide against it. Thrilling stuff.
The American kid uses his lasso powers to grab one of the alien’s arms. It shoots off, exposing bone and stuff. The flying severed arm pushes the kid aside and reattaches.
I’m beginning to think I could start making stuff up in these reviews and you guys wouldn’t be able to tell. Maybe if I did that I’d get to watch less clips of Barugon.
You can see why I kind of liked this movie though. Right? It’s hard to actually defend but fun to watch.
So the kids get strapped to a wall. Listen, I know this is playing to stereotypes about Japanese entertainment but seriously….restrained Boy Scouts and tentacle monsters? Could’ve gone another way.
So they get a motivational speech from a relative through a magic wristwatch and do some bullshit with a lasso and escape.
I’m just going to hit fast forward on my play by play and get to the good stuff.
So the spaceship crashes and the aliens emerge and the tentacle monster, revealed to be named Viras and the actual boss of the ship, pops out.
Monster design time!
Viras is basically trying to disguise his bipedal nature. He has two prominent foot tentacles and a handful of other tentacles hanging off of him. The tentacles at the top of his beaked torso/head are shorter and assemble into a sharp spike.
He’s not cool, but I’m glad they sort of thought outside the box.
He decapitates the human-looking aliens, little tentacle monsters pop out, then he absorbs them to grow in size.
Clearly what little budget this movie had went to the fight between him and Gamera, which is actually pretty awesome.
The tentacle attacks look good, the aerial stuff is cool, the underwater stuff is fun. It’s legitimately cool, and shockingly exciting coming on the heels of the rest of this movie. Gamera just gets insanely injured too and the movie pretends like it’s non-lethal. I wondered if he was going to die, that’s how nutty the wound is.
Gamera flies Viras into the upper atmosphere, lets him freeze, then drops him back down.
I know I should hate this movie. It’s lazy and cheap and generally unconvincing. However it manages to just be fun enough that I kind of forgive it.
Basically it’s still better than Barugon.