THE VINTAGE BULLET RECOMMENDATION REVIEW: Moving forward in this recommended selection, here we have “Gamera: Guardian of the Universe” which stars Ayako Fujitani (Tokyo!, Man from Reno), Shinobu Nakayama (Fist of Legend, The Ode to Joy), Tsuyoshi Ihara (Letters from Iwo Jima, 13 Assassins), and Akira Onodera (Young People, Samurai Cat).It is directed by Shûsuke Kaneko (Crossfire, Death Note) and written by Kazunori Itô (Ghost in the Shell, Avalon) and Matt Greenfield (Magical Twilight, Golden Boy [TV series]) for dialogue. The story is about a gigantic flying turtle named Gamera who emerges from the depths of the ocean to battle his old foe, Gyaos, a prehistoric bird who his enormous, in a high stakes war in Japan which draws in the military. In the midst of this battle, a bird scientist named Mayumi (Nakayama) is trying to figure out the Gyaos as well as Gamera’s intentions.
And there’s a night of my life wasted. Let me get something straight before I begin my review: I have a distaste for nuclear-monster-destroys-city movies. I find them to be a waste as the scripts are usually thrown together with the writers’ main intent being to show a fight between two monsters. It’s a useless genre that I wish wasn’t so popular. Yes, I gave “Godzilla” (2014) an okay score, but it’s just that: it was okay. It was nothing extraordinary and it was a disappointment, especially with how they treated Bryan Cranston. Also, you may know the score I gave the 2005 version of “King Kong” (if you don’t, I gave it a 90%), but let me explain to you this: “King Kong” was more of a period piece with great character development and a good theme. A film like “Gamera: Guardian of the Universe” doesn’t have any of that. It’s a mindless excuse for a movie whose only purpose is to supply the needs of monster-crazy fans. With that rant over, onto what makes this a blunder of cinematography. First off, the story. The story is basic: a nuclear-created beast rises up to save/destroy a city to stop another, more menacing, monster. We’ve seen it countless times. Many films have been created as well as sequels and remakes. The fact is, it seems like they take the same things that all those movies have in common and inject it into the script. There’s really nothing original about it except the design of Gamera. I can’t tell you how much of a chore it was to sit through this. I felt like leaving countless times, but I stuck it out for my friend, for I should review it for its entirety. Breaking down the story, the first half is laughable. I gotta tell you, the dialogue was juvenile and stupid to the point of chuckling at every minute. The English dubbing didn’t help either, for it was truly awful (though I can’t make that a con since it was created for the Japanese language). Once Gamera had his first fight, I was done. The fight only lasted about six minutes at the thirty minute mark, but it seemed like an eternity. When the results came in of the battle, the rest of the movie was filled with the same revolving door of plot. Important people of Japan would come in, tell the scientists that they need to stop Gamera, leave, Gamera fights, important people come in, say he needs to be stopped, leave, Gamera fights again. Over and over again, with it getting worse every time. I can’t recall how many times I checked to see how much run time was left in this incredibly-long-for-its-own-good film (it’s about an hour and a half long). By that point, the laughter turned into utter frustration. I was tired and ready to quit and hated the sight of Gamera and any character that walked on the screen. I didn’t care for anyone or anything, mainly because of the one-dimensional character development. When something “sad” happened, I either rolled my eyes or groaned, wanting this torture to end. After all of this hate, you may be wondering, what the heck is good about it? Not much. I guess my only pro, which is partial, is the special effects. They aren’t the best, especially the puppetry (Gamera reminded me of a knock-off character from the television series “Dinosaurs”), but taking the fact that it is probably low-budget and it’s from the mid-90’s, I have to cut it some slack. And, of course I have to give some points for participation or the fact that they tried (if they even did). Overall, this is an awful film that should never be seen and if you are into this (sorry Vintage Bullet), then you have some wild tastes in filmography. One in particular is Roger Ebert, for he gave it a thumbs up when Siskel and him reviewed it (yeah, it shocked me as well). Don’t watch this for it is a blatant copy off of every monster movie and a watered down, boring, terribly written one at that. If you want a story worthwhile, watch the 2005 version of “King Kong.” FINAL SCORE: 20%= Burnt Popcorn/Rubbish
This movie has been inducted into The Burnt Hall of Shame.
Here is the trailer: