GAMERA: Guardian of the Universe (1995)

24 09 2009
Gamera 1995 poster

Gamera 1995 poster

AKA Gamera daikaij├╗ kuchu kessen

Gamera is legend in the world of kaiju. He has twelve movies under his shell and continues to delight audiences well into the twenty-first century. Gamera: Guardian of the Universe begins the nineties trilogy all directed by Shusuke Kaneko who cut his directorial teeth on Japanese soft-core erotica and written by Kazunori Ito who scripted anime favourites such as Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell and Dirty Pair. Neither of the pair fail Gamera and his relaunch is a great success.

Every giant turtle needs his adversary and this is provided by the Gyaos, giant birds who existence is confirmed when a sexy ornithologist identifies a giant lump of bird shit. Worrying indeed. Not only that, they eat people (and dogs). In their infinite wisdom the government and military try luring the Gyaos to the Fukuoka Dome baseball ground, however one escapes. Luckily Gamera’s awake and the one thing he was designed for – fighting Gyaos. It’s a nice idea, Gamera and the Gyaos are genetically engineered bio-mechanical creatures from Atlantis (where else?) and they’ve been at war since recorded history began.

Gamera is also telepathically linked to Asagi (a wonderful performance by Ayako Fujitani who returned for the sequels), a young girl who has an amulet taken from the shell of Gamera and is experiencing the same pain as Gamera in his many battles. While it seems a slightly more extreme version of the empathy Eliot experiences with E.T., it does lead to a great sequence where Asagi hires a crazy taxi driver to get her past the police blockade to be closer to Gamera who is under an army assault in the shadow of Mount Fuji.

The amount of hardware on display in the movie is impressive, battleships, tanks, bazookas, helicopters, the movie never really seems cheap. The shots of the Giant Gyaos resting atop the destroyed Tokyo Tower at sunset are downright beautiful and Gamera looks mightily impressive at night, emerging from the smoke and chaos to once more defend, well, the Universe.

A note on the ‘Special UK edition’ that I watched. At some point in the late nineties the decision was made to redub the film into English, by British actors. It was also decided that the original soundtrack might not be that heart-pounding and so the dubbing team engaged a UK Techno label to supply the music. The result is one banging monster movie with music by Jon the Dentist, Chris Liberator and Baby Doc, most of which was taken from an album entitled It’s not Intelligent, It’s not from Detroit, but it is Fuckin’ Avin’ It. The results are surprisingly exciting and make a real difference to the move – reach for the lasers, Gamera!




One response

15 01 2010
Cinemassacre’s Top 10 Giant Movie Monsters |

[…] GAMERA: Guardian of the Universe (1995) ┬ź GODZILLA EATS DISS! […]

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