Gamera vs. Guiron / Gamera vs. Zigra Noriaki Yuasa

Gamera vs. Guiron / Gamera vs. Zigra Noriaki Yuasa
Time and again, the bad guys tell us that Gamera the Giant Flying Turtle's Achilles Heel is his love of children. Kidnap a couple of pre-teen boys in tiny short-shorts (one Japanese, one American, presumably for the sake of international sales) and our reptilian friend can be lured just about anywhere. But while Gamera does indeed have an obsession with little boys that's just a tad unhealthy, his real weakness is his arrogance. In movie after movie, whenever yet another enemy monster is unleashed upon Tokyo, or Osaka, or just some rural farming community ― those forests and fields are less expensive than scale cities ― Gamera will drop in at the 20-minute mark and be roundly trounced by his opponent. Then, we will see Gamera flat on his back, covered in green blood, trying to remove whatever sharp object is stuck in his legs, perhaps reflecting on the danger of hubris. Humbled, but wiser and stronger, Gamera makes a triumphant return at the 70-minute mark to unleash a full-on ass-whupping, laying waste to the enemy faster than you can say, "Who's your daddy?" and perhaps accidentally destroying parts of Japan in the process (although nobody seems to mind). And yet despite his enhanced fisticuff mojo, Gamera's fighting strategy never changes; he jumps on things a lot, uses his fire breath, to no great effect, and always ― and I mean, always ― carries his opponent really high in the air before dropping him, again and again and again and again. Suffice it to say, think twice before you attempt to watch three Gamera films in one evening ― don't make the same mistake as your faithful correspondent. But enough with the public service announcements. In Gamera vs. Guiron (1969), two boys board a spaceship headed to an unknown planet on the exact opposite side of the sun, where alien space babes plan to eat them. Fortunately, Gamera doesn't have anything to do that afternoon and decides to make the long voyage to save them, as well as duke it out with Guiron, a knife-headed foe. Gamera vs. Guiron is silly and cheap-looking even by this series' standards ― never has it been easier to distinguish man-in-suit Gamera from stationary-toy Gamera ― but it does include a scene in which Gamera spins around on a steel bar, which is possibly worth the investment. Gamera vs. Jiger (1970) has markedly better production values, though it also has a long scene where two boys travel by submarine into Gamera's lungs, where the evil monster Jiger has planted his eggs; it isn't Shakespeare. This DVD includes publicity galleries and multiple English dub tracks. I recommend English track number two (the Sandy Frank one) on Guiron; it is bar none, the single worst dub job I have ever heard. "And while they are sleeping, we will eat their brains raw," says one alien lady. "You mean their brains?" responds the other. (Shout! Factory)