Sunday, January 15, 2012

S03E08 - Gamera vs. Gaos


A road project is being held up by a small village that refuses to sell its land for the road to pass through. Matters become more serious when a nearby volcano erupts, letting loose a giant creature dubbed Gaos that rampages across the nearby countryside and cities. The only hope for everyone seems to rest in Gamera, the famed giant turtle monster.

Movie Review

Oh, joy, another Gamera movie. Compared to the previous two Gamera films featured on MST3K, this one isn't that bad in some respects. In other respects, however, it is just as bad, if not worse. So it ends up coming about dead even on the mediocrity scale. Oh, joy.

First, the good news: the monsters don't look as ridiculous as before. Oh, don't get me wrong, they still look as goofy as kaiju monsters always look, but at least the film makers seemed to have learned some lessons from the previous film(s). Unlike the last beast, Barugon, this film's monster Gaos does not look painfully obviously like a man in a suit. How did they accomplish this stunning feat? By not focusing on the monster's legs, which were a dead giveaway in the dog-like Barugon. Instead the feet are often obscured or at the least rarely focused on, allowing the monsters to look more like monsters and not men in heavy suits. So at least they wised up there.

But then they had to ruin their hard work with one addition to this film that wasn't in the previous one: Ichi. A kid. Another goddamn kid. Is he is as annoying as Kenny? No, nobody could be as vile and loathsome as Kenny, the boy who loved Gamera despite the giant turtle's slaughtering of thousands of people. And yet Ichi is still annoying. Why? Because he's a kid, and therefore he's been dubbed like he's sucked helium all his life. Why did old English dubs have to give kids such horrible, screeching voices? I'll never understand why they thought this was good idea, never.

To make matters worse, the film tries to make Ichi actually useful by (I can't believe I'm writing this) giving him the keys to defeating Gaos. Ichi is the one who reveals that Gaos only comes out at night. Ichi is the one who suggests using a rotating platform for an idea to incapacitate Gaos. Ichi is the one to reveal how to summon Gamera. Why? Because Gamera is a friend to children, apparently. I am not well versed in the traditions of kaiju, so perhaps it is normal to make a kid smart enough to get security clearances in the Japanese military and offer ideas that no one else has the brain capacity to ever consider. But even if this is tradition, it's still ridiculous to make Gamera, a killer turtle who slayed thousands of people in his first movie, suddenly a friend who will act as the savior of the human race.

Outside of this inherent silliness, the movie does not help itself with its ridiculous plot points. The most ridiculous moment comes when they decide to incapacitate Gaos by making him stand on a giant rotating platform so he will become dizzy. And how do they lure him there? With a giant fountain of blood. Artificial blood, of course, made in a science laboratory within a day. Of course! Then there's a silly subplot involving the local farmers holding out for more money for their land, which serves no purpose in a movie about giant monsters fighting each other.

Despite these momentum-killing flaws, the movie does do a couple things right. First, the fights between Gamera and Gaos are actually lengthy and numerous, as opposed to Gamera's lone, pathetic 10-minute fight with Barugon in his previous film. Also, while there is a submissive Japanese mother (of Ichi, duh) whose sole responsibility is to look pretty and apologize for her son's rudeness, she isn't matched with any of the film's male characters by movie's end, which is actually surprising. On a series like MST3K, where women are paired up with men they've met for all of one hour by the end of a movie, it's a breath of fresh air to see such a pointless plot point eliminated.

Such a shame it had to be in Gamera vs. Gaos, a goofy and at times annoying film that looks like it's started several trends that will only get worse. Much, much worse. Oh, joy.

MST3K Review

The previous two Gamera films were aired very close together, and probably as a result the second film, Gamera vs. Barugon, seemed to suffer with its jokes. The break that Best Brains gave the Gamera films (by airing Time of the Apes) seems to have helped, as the jokes were noticeably stronger for Gaos than they were for Barugon. The level of quality still isn't as high as some other season three episodes, but the level of quality is slightly higher than the average so far. At the very least it was enjoyable to laugh at Gamera again.

Stinger Review

I don't get this stinger. Two comic relief characters suddenly look scared and hold each other when their radio starts to emit warbled static. The scene makes sense in context, and out of context it's not particularly memorable, even if the two characters overact a little. Overall, not the best stinger, probably on the same level as the Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster stinger. A much better choice would've been the scene of Gamera throwing a rock into Gaos' mouth, a ridiculous scene in any context.

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