Director: Yuasa Noriaki
Writer: Takahashi Niisan
Cast: Hongo Koujirou, Yaegaki Michiko, Atsumi Mari, Yashiro Junko, Kitahara Yoshirou, Natsuki Akira, Fujiyama Kouji, Hashimoto Chikara, Carl Craig Jr., Takatsuka Tooru, Gou Kenji, Takada Munehiko, Peter Williams, Nakahara Ken, Yamane Keiichiro, Mary Morris, and Wakayama Genzou
Composer: Hirose Kenjirou
Release Date: 3/20/1968
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Capturing two members of the Japanese Boy Scouts, aliens from another planet compel Gamera to attack the city of Tokyo. Despite eventually overpowering the aliens, Gamera must prevent Viras—a squid kaiju with a spear-like head—from destroying Japan.
A lighthearted entry in the Gamera franchise, this offering contains enough good, clean entertainment for young sci-fi/horror fans to enjoy. Viewers of a serious nature, in contrast, may criticize Gamera vs. Viras for its campy atmosphere, copious stock footage, and Z-grade special effects.
Providing a clever twist on the premise for Invasion of Astro-Monster, Gamera vs. Viras may appeal to kaiju eiga buffs and alien invasion enthusiasts alike. By kidnapping and threatening two of the Boy Scouts, for example, the aliens coerce Gamera—an otherwise kind and benevolent monster—into destroying Tokyo; the Xiliens from Invasion of Astro-Monster, on the other hand, rely exclusively on mind control when dealing with Godzilla and Rodan, prompting both creatures to wreak havoc on Japan.
To compensate for a lack of content, Gamera vs. Viras features over twenty minutes of recycled footage from Daikaiju Gamera, Gamera vs. Gyaos, and Gamera vs. Barugon. Especially problematic are the borrowed sequences from the first Gamera film, which, having been recorded in black-and-white, result in a severe continuity problem.
Though initially cute and amusing, the antics of Boy Scout members Jim Crane (Carl Craig Jr.) and Masao Nakaya (Takatsuka Tooru) while aboard the alien spacecraft grow thoroughly repetitive over time—another tedious attempt at narrative padding.
By helping Gamera defeat Viras and his alien followers, characters Jim and Masao offer a worthwhile lesson on the dangers of underestimating the little guy.
Gamera vs. Viras is a drawn-out, juvenile installment in Daiei’s Showa series. Notably, Japanese monster fans may take issue with this film for its goofy climax, shallow storyline, and forgettable kaiju antagonist.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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