1965, Movies

Daikaijû Gamera [Gamera: The Giant Monster] (1965, Noriaki Yuasa)

This Gojira rip-off I watched after seeing its sequel and it was weird to me that this is B&W whereas the (worse) sequel is colour.

Another strange thing is how I had to watch this movie. I could only find the American version. But, unlike with Gojira, it seems like the American version of this film may have been made in conjunction with the Japanese version, or planned with the Japanese version. So it’s bastardized, but not as bastardized as Godzilla is. (Though I’m guessing.)

This is not a good movie. Like other kaiju movies it is just a man in a suit, this time playing a giant turtle. (Ooooh!) As with these films, the effects are not great: there’s some Styrofoam subbing in for ice and a matte painting subbing in for some kind of scientific research facility.

But it’s the acting that really stands out in this one, particularly among the Americans. The American actors, especially the military, are really terrible. One guy playing a military officer was so bad at getting his lines out that the MST3K crew yelled “Cut, do it again!” and it was entirely deserved. But the general is not great either. There’s also some bad voice work from the Americans dubbing the Japanese – two characters in particular. And you have to wonder: how did they not have enough money to redo those lines? I guess they thought they were good enough.

Also, some of the costumes are ridiculous. There is this professor in a really bad wig that constantly made me laugh.

It’s a dumb movie but it’s far from the worst movie I’ve seen in the ’60s. For a kaiju movie, it’s less of a disaster than a few I’ve seen, even if it is about a giant turtle.


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