Gamera vs. Viras (1968)

gamera vs viras poster 1968 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 5/10

Goofy kids as the stars

Half the film is rehash of previous Gamera movies

Movie Info

Movie Name: Gamera vs. Viras

Studio:  Daiei Film

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Family

Release Date(s): March 20, 1968 (Japan)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

gamera vs viras submarine kaiju

Sure kids, you can take this expensive experimental submarine out to the deep seas…maybe you’ll see a kaiju!

An alien race has targeted Earth and is plotting to capture the planet.  Their only threat could be Gamera.  When they learn that Gamera’s weakness is his protection of the children of Earth, they kidnap boy scouts Masao Nakaya (Tōru Takatsuka) and Jim Morgan (Carl Craig) and force Gamera to do their bidding.  The Earth is on the brink of falling and the Earth’s only hope might be if Jim and Masao can free themselves and rescue Gamera from the evil aliens’ control!

Directed by Noriaki Yusa, Gamera vs. Viras (ガメラ対宇宙怪獣バイラス or Gamera tai Uchū Kaijū Bairasu aka Gamera vs. Outer Space Monster Viras), is a Japanese kaiju monster movie.  The fourth film in the series, Gamera vs. Viras follows Gamera vs. Gyaos from 1967.  The film was initially released in the United States as Destroy All Planets in 1969.

Gamera is the sad, lower tier Godzilla.  Despite this, Gamera can be fun in the same way that Godzilla is.  With cheesy plots and goofy monsters, Gamera vs. Viras is one of the weaker Gamera entries in a rather weak series due to financial constraints.

gamera vs viras carl craig toru takatsuka

What wacky mess have those kids gotten into now?!?!

The biggest problem with Gamera vs. Viras is the budget.  The movie company Daiei was having financial problems when they made the film and instead of making “new” content, the movie rehashes the previous Gamera films.  The aliens capture Gamera and probe his mind for weaknesses which leads to a long segment of fighting from the previous films.  This same work-around is used for the destruction of Tokyo.  The majority of the film involves the two kids walking around the alien spaceship trying to free themselves through pranks and tricks.  It does end up in a fight with Gamera battling the giant Viras, but it takes a long time to get there.

The movie largely circles around Masao and Jim.  The children are rather typical child actors from these movies and almost fall into a Little Rascals type situation through the movie.  Tōru Takatsuka is the clever kid Masao with tech including a super watch communicator that he can talk to his sister with while Carl Craig was selected in a plan to hire an American boy for the role…Craig however was simply picked because he was American and was in Japan as the son of an army officer.

gamera vs viras squid kaiju

…and the whole country had calamari for dinner…The End

As mentioned, the movie doesn’t have a lot of new material for Gamera, but some of the models and designs are fun.  You get a lot of Gamera just swimming and flying around (and bringing down a dam) until he gets into his battle with the pointy and dangerous squid like virus.  It is a typical kaiju fight that doesn’t have much new to offer.

Although Godzilla is kid friendly, Gamera seems even more kid friendly.  There is always a lot of ridiculous “kids in peril” moments in Gamera movies or kids doing things that they should never have permission to do (like driving a submarine around unaccompanied for “fun”).  The movies aren’t very deep, nor do you expect them to be.  Gamera movies are short and to the point.  Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the better ones.  Gamera vs. Viras was followed by Gamera vs. Guiron in 1969.

Preceded By:

Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)

Followed By:

Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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