Rewatching the Gamera movies! After making a big comeback, our turtle hero is back for more blockbuster thrills in Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996).
Here’s what happens: A meteor crashes into Japan, bringing with it giant insects and giant plants. The military fights the aliens for a bit, after which Gamera flies down from the sky to take them on. The aliens eventually form into a “Mother Legion” who battles both the military and Gamera.
Nice gams: This is set one year after the previous movie, and the public still sees Gamera not as a hero, but as something to be feared. (To be fair, Gamera causes a lot of destruction in this.) The movie ends with a warning. Gamera will protect the Earth no matter what, so humans better not endanger the Earth.
Turtle power: Gamera is CGI in some shots. Purists may not like this, but it gives him the ability to fly around a lot more than he did before. In the final fight, Gamera is touched by a heavenly light (from the children?) after which his chest opens up for a huge energy blast to take out Mother Legion.
Big baddie: The invading aliens are insects, who lurk in the sewers and who then swarm all over Gamera in an eye-popping set piece. Later, when the Mother Legion shows up, it fights with electric attacks (blue lightning!) for some city-leveling power.
Kid stuff: It’s the return of Asagi, the girl from the previous movie who had a psychic bond with Gamera. She’s able to use that bond to revive Gamera – with the help of a crowd of other kids – but then their connection is severed.
Hapless humans: An army colonel and a female scientist are more or less the main characters, as they work together to figure out what the aliens are and how they operate. But this is a real cast-of-hundreds movie, with soldiers, scientists, and TV reporters all acting and reacting to the monsters.
Thoughts on this viewing: This is ambitious alien invasion sci-fi, in the style of War of the Worlds or Independence Day. It also takes place during winter with snow everywhere, something I don’t recall seeing in other kaiju flicks. You could argue that the movie is too long, or spends too much time with the military and not enough with the monsters, but there’s still a lot to enjoy here.
Next: My, what big irises you have.
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