Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Gamera vs Viras (1968)

You know, Godzilla's turn to the side of good wasn't the most rousing moment in cinema history - it involved him and Mothra bellowing at one another while the miniature women from Monster Island translated - but at least it happened on screen.  In the space of three films, Gamera's gone from "dangerous energy-eating monster" to "friend to all children" without a single syllable of explanation.

This movie opens with aliens from the planet Viras planning to conquer Earth and make it their new home.  But Gamera flies up into space and smashes their goofy looking space ship to pieces.  They do however manage to get off a message to their homeworld before they are destroyed.

Meanwhile on Earth, a pair of deeply annoying boy scouts play silly pranks with a miniature submarine.  Somehow this results in them being allowed to take the sub out for themselves. They encounter Gamera and have a race with him, but their "hi-jinks" are interrupted by the arrival of the second spaceship from Viras.  It looks identical to the first, of course.  Wouldn't want to build two models.

The bad guys temporarily imprison Gamera and scan his brainwaves to assess his powers and weaknesses.  This involves playing ten straight minutes of recycled footage from the previous three films in the series.  It also alerts them to how protective he is of children, so they turn that against him by kidnapping the two boys.

Most of the rest of the film is actually taken up by the brats running around the alien spaceship, though we do also get a few scenes - again all recycled from earlier films - of a now brainwashed Gamera rampaging through Japan at the command of the aliens.

After a bunch more plot points so stupid that I refuse to recount them, Gamera is freed of enemy control.  He smashes the second alien spaceship like he did the first.  Then the leader of the Viras grows into a giant octopus monster and Gamera smashes him too.  Mercifully, the movie then ends.

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