Tuesday, 22 December 2015
Gamera vs Barugon (1966)
I bought this collection for the 1990s trilogy (all of which I have reviewed previously on this blog), as to be honest I've never much rated Gamera's original 1960s-70s run of films. But they are now among the DVDs that I have owned longest without watching them, so I guess I'd better make a start. I'm helped a little by the fact that I already saw the first and fifth films as part of another boxed set, so can skip them this time.
This is the second of the original series. At the end of his debut film, Gamera was lured onto a rocket and blasted into space. Therefore this one starts with the news that a meteor crashed into the rocket, destroying it, and Gamera has returned to Earth. Once here, he resumes his rapacious consumption of energy, destroying a hydro-electric dam in Japan and then racing off to absorb the geothermal energy of an erupting volcano.
Things are about to go from bad to worse however, as a group of Japanese treasure hunters accidentally unleash another giant monster. This is Barugon, a lizard-like creature with the ability to exhale a freezing mist, and also to unleash a rainbow-like energy blast powerful enough to vaporise steel.
There are no prizes for guessing that the two monsters will fight. It's right there in the title of the film, after all. But if you're seeking a picture packed with rock 'em sock 'em kaiju on kaiju action, this is not the movie you're looking for. They have only two brief fights. Barugon wins the first, around the halfway point of the film, quite easily, freezing Gamera until the last five minutes of the the movie. Most of the last act instead focuses on human efforts to defeat the big lizard. They fail, but they do injure him enough that he's easy pickings for Gamera when the turtle returns for round 2.
This is better than the other two 1960s Gamera films I have seen, but frankly that's an extremely low bar to clear. Only bother with this if you are a kaiju tragic.