1966, Movies

Daikaijû kettô: Gamera tai Barugon [Gamera Vs. Barugon] (1966, Shigeo Tanaka, Noriaki Yuasa)

Full disclosure: I have actually not seen the original Gamera. If this was a good movie, maybe that would disqualify me for reviewing its sequel. Also, I watched a dubbed version (sigh).

Kaiju movies are not my thing. I’ve never really seen their appeal. I bet if I had grown up with them like I did with westerns and zombie films, I would have a little more sympathy for some of them, especially an older one like this. But the thing is, obviously Gamera didn’t invent kaiju, Gojira did. And Gojira came out over a decade before Gamera so there is no historical value I might assign to this film to make up for its awfulness. It’s a sequel to a Gojira rip-off. Again, if I was a kaiju guy, maybe I would evaluate this in relation to other kaiju movies, but I’m not so I won’t.

Almost like the comic movies of the 21st century, this movie spends a hilarious amount of time on Barugon’s origin story. Our heroes (eh…) supposedly go to New Guinea or somewhere though it just looks like a bunch of Japanese people dressed up to look like they’re Papuan or Austronesian or whatever. This part is a little like Congo or something a little bit older, like an African adventure novel, where a bunch of people go looking for treasure and awaken something mysteirous. Of course, one of them is bad.

The production values are better than some of these movies but still pretty subpar, especially once Barugon emerges. If the movie was more original, I might grant it the benefit of the doubt here, because it really does look better than some of these movies.

The biggest issue I think most people will have other than the poor production values is that Gamera is barely present. He shows up a couple of times, including in the climactic battle, but he’s barely in the movie. I guess that doesn’t matter if you just want to watch a kaiju destroy stuff, but it seems pretty dumb to title this movie Gamera Vs. Barugon and have it really be about Barugon’s origin story for the most part. I mean, you have to get butts in seats, and I guess Gamera does that, but he is pretty absent.

Honestly, it’s far from the worst low-budget film I’ve seen, but I feel like the title is pretty misleading and the majority of the film is just about finding the egg that becomes Barugon. It’s pretty silly.

2/10 feels a little harsh but here we are.

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