Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999)
aka Gamera 3: Jashin kakusei
Article 5654 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
Featuring Shinobu Nakayama, Ai Maeda, Yukijiro Hotaru
What it is: Gamera movie
A young woman with a hatred for Gamera (most of her family died when a building collapsed during his appearance) befriends a newly hatched monster who she sees as the instrument of her revenge.
The best Gamera movie? Granted, there’s not a whole lot of real competition out there; only this movie’s immediate two predecessors are in the same league. Yet, even they pale a little in comparison to this one; whereas the previous two movies remained fairly conventional kaijus in spirit (albeit very well made ones), this one takes things in a different direction by really working the human characters into the mix. There’s not quite as much monster action in this one, but that’s because the movie is working the characters and the plot. Even the finale is something different; by restricting most of the final battle to the interior of a building, it gives a more intimate feeling to the movie, which is certainly unusual for a kaiju. It also addresses some issues that other kaijus ignore; even with Gamera being the “good guy”, he’s so huge that collateral damage of all sorts (both to buildings and people) is inevitable, and he’s seen as a threat anyway. So, yes, I would say this is easily the best Gamera movie, and it puts most of the Godzilla movies to shame as well.