Gamera Vs. Barugon (Japan 1965)

Rating: **
Review Date: 10/24/10

A direct sequel to the original "Gamera" film, we learn that the plan to send Gamera to Mars fails when the rocket containing him gets hit en route by a stray meteor. What are the chances? Of course the first thing Gamera does is fly back to Earth to destroy a dam, and then he disappears for the next 45 minutes of the film. In the meantime, we have to deal with a bunch of human bozos who are searching for a lost jewel. This plot must have been original at some point, right? Greedy humans visit a tropical paradise, defy the warnings of the natives, and unleash an unspeakable horror upon the Earth. In this case, the unspeakable horror is Barugon, a strange lizard monster who shoots a freezing ray from his tongue and fires rainbows from his dorsal spikes. That's right, rainbows. Deadly rainbows of vast destructive power. Naturally, Gamera is attracted to the rainbows and has a brief fight with Barugon, but then disappears for another 45 minutes while the humans desperately try to combat the monster. According to island lore, Barugon likes diamonds, so if he can be lured into the water by a giant diamond, he should be easy to kill. Makes perfect sense to me. The plan almost works, until the main bad guy decides to spoil everything by stealing the giant diamond. Foolish greed has never been so blind. Fortunately, Gamera thaws out just in time to finish the job, and with Barugon dead, he flies off into the distance.

This movie was made back when Gamera was still a serious monster, as well as a serious threat to mankind. It would be a few more years before he would become "the friend of the children" and make a mockery of the entire kaiju genre. Even so, despite the film's deadpan seriousness, the story and characters still come off as being completely absurd. You can't help but shake your head at the ridiculous caricatures and clichés on display, and marvel at the silly love story that's somehow woven into the plot. The costumes and effects are decent enough, with the highlight of the film being the dam sequence at the beginning. Unfortunately, the monster combat looks really silly, which is made worse by the fact that both creatures fight on all fours. Certainly not a bad entry in the series, but it's also not very memorable, either.