Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
aka Gamera daikaiju kuchu kessen
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
Featuring Tsuyoshi Ihara, Akira Onodera, Shinobu Nakayama
What it is: Japanese monster mayhem
A flying fanged turtle does battle with a group of giant man-eating birds.
In its original incarnation, the Gamera series was largely a poor man’s imitation of the Godzilla series with an extra dose of juvenile pandering and goofiness. Still, the series did last a while, so I’m not really surprised that the attempt to revive it was made. What is surprising is that they did such a bang-up job of reviving it; the special effects are excellent, the juvenile approach has been jettisoned, and this movie is arguably better than any of the movies from the Godzilla revival of the eighties and nineties. It’s basically a remake of GAMERA VS. GAOS, with Gaos redesigned to look frightening rather than silly. Granted, it’s still a Gamera movie, and it pretty much follows the basic template of one, but it does it with a visual flair that puts it over well enough. It also makes better use of the female character with the psychic link to Gamera than the Godzilla series did with a similar character. At any rate, this certainly the best entry from the Gamera series that I’ve covered to this date.