Gamera tai uchu kaijū Bairasu (Destroy All Planets) (Gamera vs. Viras) Reviews
This time round Gamera is fighting an alien space ship that looks like a kids toy then dukes it out with a 40 stores Squid.
I remember watching this on the Foreign Movie Channel when I was 12 & it seemed cool...well it's not but its that bad it's fun. Made for mindless entertainment but it's no Godzilla.
Most of the film centres around two children that are either surprisingly adept at getting themselves out of trouble, or are surrounded by incompetent adults and aliens. Actually that isn't true because the longer the movie goes on, the more the adults and aliens in the film are seen as completely inept. One of the very first scenes with the children finds them manning a two-person sub and piloting it by themselves. These children didn't hijack the submarine or anything, they're given permission by the supervising adults to drive it. Now, the film makers might not be aware of this, but submarines are complicated machines and there is not only a lot that can go wrong with them (running out of air for example), but psychologically it can be difficult to pilot one underwater (think of the claustrophobia) so how do these people give the go ahead to these small children? There is also a scene later in the film where the aliens have kidnapped the same children and give the Earth and ultimatum: Surrender to the aliens, or the children will die. Now, most viewers may not be brilliant politicians or psychologically prepared to handle difficult hostage situations, but when the fate of the entire human race hangs in the balance, you don't surrender the world for the sake of two children!
The film looks incredibly cheap. The costumes are either clearly quickly put together (the aliens are literally people with black shirts and funny hats) or just aren't very convincing (Gamera has definitely seen better days and doesn't match the smaller fire-breathing puppet they have set up for close-ups). The film is also plagued by a ridiculous amount of stock footage. 19 minutes of the film is shots from previous movies so that the aliens can "observe what Gamera's weaknesses are" or so the movie can save itself the price of building a miniature city for the actor to destroy. You can tell this because the footage of "Gamera" destroying Tokyo is taken from a black and white movie, but the rest of the film is in colour!
Even as "so bad it's good" entertainment, this movie, while being extremely cheesy and so child-oriented that it stops making sense (the aliens let their human captives run freely around the ship... why not?) it still isn't that much fun and gets boring at times. Sure, there are a decent amount of monster fights due to the stock footage, but those you have either seen before in the movies they're actually from or if you haven't, have no context whatsoever so they're totally lacking in any tension. There are some bad lines that are pretty funny but nothing that match the ones from some of the other movies in the series ("Attack of the Monsters" had an ideal world "without any wars or car crashes" for example). The only really noteworthy things in the film are the aliens' ship, which looks like a bunch of bees spinning in a circle and the design of "Viras" which is at the very least, original. It's a very bad, cheesy and campy monster movie that is ok as bad movie entertainment but really isn't anything special. (English Dub on Dvd, March 22, 2013)
Gamera vs. Viras is about Gamera falling under control of evil aliens, but two children free him and he returns to fight the aliens' monster, Viras. Now this version is more campy and aim towards children and it somehow makes the human characters even more boring and dumber than before. In the movie, the UN has to make a choice of either saving Earth or saving two little kids on a spaceship colored like a bumble bee. Guess what the UN chooses, to save two little kids over planet Earth. Heck, the two little kids that get captured by aliens are easily the movie smartest characters as even they tell the adults to save Earth over themselves. Main point, human characters are still a problem, the story is predictable and for little kids, and the happy music playing during this movie is annoying.
So enough about the human characters as I expected that from the series, what I didn't expect was barely any new footage of Gamera in this movie. There's literally a scene in the movie that's just 20 minute of stock footage from Gamera previous monster brawls. In total, 90% of footage of Gamera in this movie is stock footage. The final monster brawl was fun, but it didn't have the same appeal to it as the previous entries. Now I did get some laughs from the final brawl as I saw Gamera water skiing using a Octopus like monster making it probably one of the series most unintentionally funniest moment. The final monster brawl though slow was fun, but it takes to long to happened and it's not worth watching most of the movie for it.
So a Gamera movie aim toward kids doesn't work as it's too campy and Gamera appearance is mostly stock footage. This isn't the worst of the series, but you won't find much to like in this entry.