Rewatching the Gamera movies! Parent studio Daiei was on its last legs financially, so the cheap and hastily-put-together Gamera Super Monster (1980) was something of a hail Mary to earn a few quick bucks before the lights went out.
Here’s what happens: After a battle in outer space, evil alien dictator Zanon comes to Earth with his intention to conquer the planet. Zanon revives the giant monsters that have attacked Earth in the past. Three high-flying superheroes, the Spacewomen, meet a kid with a supernatural connection to turtles. They recruit him to call upon Gamera to save the world.
Nice gams: It’s said that the little kid’s pet turtle somehow transforms into a new Gamera, but this isn’t seen on screen. The finale has Gamera colliding into Zanon’s battleship and disappearing in a flash of light. It’s said that Gamera heroically sacrificed himself. Is that true, or is Gamera still out there somewhere?
Turtle power: Yes, all the footage of Gamera and the other monsters are footage from the earlier Gamera movies. This was marketed as a movie in which Gamera fights all his previous enemies at once, but really it’s a supercut of the previous battles. Freakin’ clip shows.
Big baddies: All the enemy Kaiju are seen only in the clip footage. Zanon has an evil henchwoman on Earth, who is sneakily pursuing the kid. Her fight with one of the Spacewomen is the movie’s only real highlight. Zanon is never seen on screen, just his ship.
Kid stuff: Keichi is a kid who loves comic books, turtles, and playing his electric organ. (The organ playing gets a surprising amount of screen time.) Once he successfully summons Gamera, his story is basically over, except the evil alien woman keeps pursuing him anyway.
Hapless humans: The Spacewomen aren’t given any origin story or background, except that previous Gamera movies had alien women running around pretending to be human, so why not? There’s also Keichi’s mom and a friendly policeman with a pet turtle (get it?).
Thoughts on this viewing: This is just tedious. You’d think you’d want a kaiju movie that’s just the fights, but this spends way too much time with the kid singing songs, and the old footage is just thrown in here and there with no rhyme or reason. If the series ended here, it’d be a pretty sad final entry. Fortunately, Gamera’s about to make a big comeback.
Next: New year, new look, new Gamera.
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