Movie Name: Gamera vs. Barugon
Studio: Daiei Film
Release Date(s): April 17, 1966
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Gamera has returned from space and is stronger than ever! As the world deals with Gamera, an expedition to find an immense opal lost in the jungles during World War II accidentally unleashes a beast called Barugon on Japan. Barugon freezes what he touches and cannot be stopped by the military…when all else fails, Gamera could be the world’s only hope.
Directed by Shigeo Tanaka, Gamera vs. Barugon (大怪獣決闘 ガメラ対バルゴン Daikaijū Kettō: Gamera Tai Barugon or Giant Monster Duel: Gamera Versus Barugon) was the second film in the Gamera series. Following Gamera the Giant Monster in 1965, the movie was released in the United States as War of the Monsters. The movie was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in its third season (MST3K #3.04).
Kaiju movies were a favorite growing up, but in the U.S., Godzilla pretty much dominated every Saturday (and edited for at that). It is nice to see some of these classic kaiju movies making it to the United States without being edited to pieces…it doesn’t mean they are good, but they are fun.
The story for this movie is much like its Godzilla counterparts. Gamera is a threat, a bigger threat surfaces, and Gamera saves the day. Through the course of the movie you also have a sub-story running about the evil Onodera who actually causes the hatching of Barugon (he does meet a pretty good end).
The movie does have some weird moments. Barugon is essentially allergic to water so they keep “watering” Barugon to keep it subdued. At one point Barugon almost goes into the lake but collapses…instead of trying to move Barugon into the lake, they build a giant reflective mirror to send Barugon’s killer rainbow back at him…it seems like a crane or some method of trying to slide him into the lake would have worked better (I suppose the cold might have been an issue).
There are aspects of Gamera vs. Barugon that visually seem better than many of the Godzilla films. The quality of the shooting and transfers are generally good and the ridiculous nature of Gamera the flying turtle can’t ignored (plus, you have to love the Barugon rainbow attack).
Gamera vs. Barugon is just fluff, but for fans of kaiju films, it is worth checking out. The movie has its moments and it is an interesting counterpart to the Godzilla films and like Godzilla drifts away from the monster horror movie into more of a sci-fi action film. Gamera of course came back after Gamera vs. Barugon and returned to the idea of a young friend for Gamera in Gamera vs. Gyaos in 1967.
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