24 July 2007 | winner55
Return of the Giant Monsters
Of the two American releases of this film, the AIP print is far superior to the Sandy Frank chop job.
This is the best of the first Gamera series, and it is out-right fun if taken on its own terms, without high expectations.
Yet exactly for that reason, this film reveals the real problem with the original Gamera films - we all expect sloppy SFX from the old Gamera, but that would be excusable if the writing were any better.
It's in the plotting that this film, like all the old Gamera films, really lets us down. The Gamera production team never did figure out how to develop a plot that wove the monsters and the humans together in any interesting way - or any way at all. The back-story - a small village trying to work out a deal with a highway development company - is related to the Gamera-Gaos conflict by pure coincidence; that the road company supervisor would then become a central player in the Japanese Self-Defense Force effort to combat Gaos is ridiculous.
Besides being annoyingly smug, the leading scientist is equally ridiculous - his plans for trapping Gaos include hiring a small army of chemists to come up with a vat of synthetic human blood as bait - even though Gaos has already demonstrated that he us perfectly happy with horse and cow blood; the Japanese government would rather pay chemists hundreds of thousands when they could hire a few decent butchers on daily wage? The chemists lobby works wonders with the Japanese government.
Actually, once the monsters show up, the plot falls apart completely, and by the end of the film we've lost interest in even the little boy who befriends Gamera.
Oh well; at least it's watchable, and, in a dumb way, even entertaining. But if this is the best the early Gamera had to offer, it's hard to see what made it popular in the first place.
See the first "Gammera the Invincible", then see this film, then skip a couple decades to the trilogy starting with "Gamera, Guardian of the Universe" - you'll be doing yourself a favor.