God dammit, Daiei, just what the hell is wrong with you?
Imagine me saying this out loud as one long exhausted sigh while pinching the bridge of my nose with my thumb and forefinger. Thus is the response for virtually anyone who wanders into this god(zilla)forsaken Kaiju shit show which easily could be one of the cheapest cinematic experiences ever made.
By 1980, parent studio Daiei was in dire financial straits and despite not having actually made a Gamera movie since ’71 desperately rushed out a “new” adventure as quickly and cheaply as they could.
The result was this hideous Frankenstein patchwork of stock footage of Kaiju fights and destruction scenes from no less than SIX previous Gamera movies but then chucks in repurposed clips from other low rent sci-fi flicks like Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999 (God dammit, Daiei…).
The plot – and by plot I mean things that wasn’t blatantly stolen from other places- involves a battle cruiser full of space pirates who’s main aim is to destroy the earth (a somewhat lofty goal for mere pirates but hey, shoot for the moon, y’know?) and who release old footage of past Gamera foes who attack Japan despite the cities and fashion being 20 years out of date (God dammit, Daiei!).
Luckily (I guess), earth is under protection by a trio of super powered space women who call themselves… The Spacewomen (God dammit, Daiei!), and assume benevolent jobs in their secret civilian identities as a pet shop owner, a school teacher and… er… a Masda car saleswoman. They can transform at will into what looks like Evel Knievel cosplayers who boast powers such as flight, useless shrinking and sporting unfortunate amounts of camel toe; but despite their questionable fashion sense they befriend a small boy who has a special connection to the titanic turtle.
This wretched cash grab was the last breath for Gamera for over ten years and it shows as the desperation from it’s floundering studio is palpable through the screen. In fact not only does it shamelessly rip off it’s own franchise but thieves wholesale from Star Wars (it’s first shot is footage from an old film which itself is openly aping the iconic Star Destroyer fly by which is, by my reckoning, the most shameless thing ever attempted in cinema – God DAMMIT, Daiei), Charlie’s Angels and Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman, it’s as representative of the Gamera movies in their heyday as the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special is to George Lucas’ fabled trilogy (i.e. not very).
And still the clunkers keep coming: a somersaulting woman changes genders mid-flip, some footage of a spaceship clearly comes from a cartoon and the ending is such an unexpected and incredible downer, any questionable joy you may have gotten from the movie is wiped away in a second (points for predating The Iron Giant’s ending by 19 years though).
Quite possibly not just the lowest point of a franchise but very likely the nadir of an entire GENRE, Gamera: Super Monster’s bewildering greatest (s)hits package is virtually unwatchable to fan and novice alike.
…. God DAMMIT, Daiei!