Gamera Trilogy: When a Turtle Was Better Than Godzilla | Video Essay

Gamera Trilogy: When a Turtle Was Better Than Godzilla | Video Essay


Oh boy There are two things from Japan that define my childhood Video games And Tokusatsu Ultraman Kamen Rider Super Sentai And of course Daikaiju It’s a good time to be a Kaiju fan With the new Godzilla film coming out I think it’s time we give the kaiju genre some love So today, let’s talk about Godzilla’s greatest rival A turtle name Gamera For the non-weebs here Gamera was a giant monster film series from Daiei films Created in 1965 to compete with Toho’s Godzilla series Sort of a DC vs. Marvel scenario The films were produced to target a younger
audience Which explains why the films seem so… Cheesy, I guess? But that is not always the case There was a time When Gamera represented the best of the best in the entire Tokusatsu industry Not just the effects But also the story Let’s take a look, shall we? The year is 1995 Godzilla’s popularity in the box office is declining Toho released one last film for the series Godzilla vs. Destoroyah With the promise of killing off Godzilla That same year Daiei rebooted the Gamera series after a 15 year hiatus With the release of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe The original Japanese title, by the way Is Gamera: Giant Monsters Arial Showdown A more tonally fitting subtitle Brutal deaths Animal cannibalism A little bit of blood It’s much more serious in tone For unknown reason, a bioweapon named Gyaos
from an ancient civilization awakens Eating humans for food But along with Gyaos Its arch-nemesis, Gamera, also comes to life Hell-bent on restoring balance to nature No, it’s not here to protect humans Humanity is caught in the cross-fire The special effects are top notch The fireballs packs a real punch Composite shots that really show off the scale
of Gamera But of course, the real star here is the miniature Even at its worst It still looks impressive And when it looks good It looks unbelievable I remember I showed this part in film school And my classmates said “That’s quite an explosion” In reality, it’s probably not much bigger
than a Metallica Concert Fireball But the miniature is so good You lose all sense of scale Of course, the amazing cinematography helps I dare say, it looks better than Godzilla The masterful composition accentuates depth Something that is lacking in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah But the best part, is how this film tells
a well paced suspenseful story The film introduces a few human characters As they learn about the monsters So do we This is nothing like Godzilla 2014 Where the film teases you for no good reason This is more akin to the original Alien You experience the slow revelation And learning about the monster In the human characters’ perspective Within the first 15 minutes You go from seeing the aftermath of an attack To seeing what a monster can do at a distance To seeing it up close And learning its weakness All without the need of info dump It’s just a masterfully done film Gamera 95 was a huge hit It became one giant middle finger to Godzilla Proving that Godzilla’s declining box office
return is not due to lack of interest in the genre Continuing the success of the first film Gamera 2: Attack of Legion is released. It’s a direct sequel of the last film Set in the a post-kaiju era Japan Remnants of the past attacks are still visible The film follows an alien invasion on Earth Swarms of locust-like insects build their hives on Earth It’s a battle of mother nature against mother
nature This time, Gamera is clearly overwhelmed by
an enemy he has no experience with Upping the challenge The gore and horror are also dialled up And so are the cinematography and special effects The constant use of miniature foregrounds creates a sense of scale that is simply awesome The addition of moving shots on a miniature
further helps sell the illusion But the show stopper is definitely Legion,
the villain of the film Technology has come far enough that we can
step away from humanoid monsters I honestly can’t tell you what material Legion’s
costume is made out of It looks alien Added with its puppet legs and eyes I still have trouble realizing that it’s a
suit with a human inside of it It may also be the most terrifyingly powerful
monster I’ve seen It’s like a horror villain When you think it’s dead It comes back to life and completely dominates
Gamera Badass 1999 saw the release of Gamera 3: The Revenge
of Iris This time, the film spends much less time
focusing on Monster Spectacles They do show up a lot But the battles and set pieces aren’t as prevalent as before Instead, the film spends its time in well
crafted world building Following the events of the last film
The world fell into a state of decay Where lovecraftian monsters live among us Endless news broadcast about Monster sighting For the first time, the film shows how it
feels to be a human bystander For a giant monster film, the mood is surprisingly
grounded One such bystander, is this film’s protagonist Whose parents were killed during the climactic battle of the first film So, the girl seeks revenge against Gamera It’s like Batman v. Superman But 17 years earlier and done better The girl finds her own monster Which she names “Iris” With its tentacles The monster looks like an eldritch god Watching it grow Viewers can feel this oppressive inevitability Iris is this looming threat that the film
keeps hinting at But we don’t know what it can do And that, somehow, unsettles me. And the suspense builds, and builds Until the climax, where Iris and Gamera finally meets In the rain Kyoto on fire An excellent, apocalyptic pay off Sadly, a Gamera 4 was never made In December 1999, Toho rebooted Godzilla, with Godzilla 2000 Taking back the spotlight Gamera also got a reboot in 2006 Reverting back to a more child-friendly tone 20 years have passed since Gamera 3 It’s once again a good time to be a Kaiju fan A new generation of giant monsters is on the horizon Visual effects have advanced so much Practical effects don’t always have the upper hand in realism, not any more CGI also allows much more nuance and flexibility But, there is something very visceral about
the Gamera trilogy Even if they look like a model train sets The destruction still gives my brain a sense of awe that the most realistic CGI cannot provide For this reason, the Gamera trilogy will always
have a place in my heart

100 thoughts on “Gamera Trilogy: When a Turtle Was Better Than Godzilla | Video Essay

  1. Gamera Heisei trilogy was better overal movies, while the Godzilla Heisei movies had cooler monsters, and that is where i'll keep it

  2. Godzilla 54, Godzilla vs Biollante, Godzilla vs Destroyer, GMK, Godzilla 2014/19 >>> Gamera Trilogy>>>>>> other Godzilla movies >>>>>> other Gamera Movies

  3. Definitely loved this trilogy and the only Godzilla movie I hold up with them is the original black and white movie and Godzilla vs Biollante.

  4. I'd luv a gamera 4 finale vs gyaos that would rock.. If they stuck to the iris end.. With all nations joining the fight!! #GAMERAROKS

  5. I dug these old bad boys out and rewatched them because of you!

    They're so good! Dammit… They did so much with so… well they had a lot to work with, but damn imagine if they had Legendary money.

  6. In terms of quality, I have to say that the 12 Gamera movies are much better than the Godzilla movies. Well, apart from Super Monster which is basically a best-of clip show like Godzilla's Revenge.

  7. Waited want more Gamera want more Gamera Godzilla and Gamera need to team up and gainst the bad monsters all out Monster Brawl

  8. Spent the better part of the night watching most of your videos but when you started off saying "Japan influenced your childhood with video games and tokusatsu" (paraphrasing) I felt that and had to subscribenotifications based on that fact; for we are brothers in arms. Keep up the good work.

  9. The Heisei Gamera trilogy is like the perfect story-writing that balances kaijuu battles and human story development.

    I absolutely loved Shin Godzilla but even Shin Goji does not surpass the Gamera trilogy in terms of the human character development.

    Felt so surreal when I stood in Kyoto Station two years ago, with Gamera and Iris's showdown running through my head.

  10. Outstanding essay! Your success is measured in the increased desire by the viewer to go rewatch the discussed movies, which by that measurement, you certainly succeeded!

  11. Fun fact: The director of the Gamera Trilogy also made Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidora: Giant Monsters, All Out Attack. The best film in the Millennium era, and arguably the second best Godzilla film of all time.

  12. Oh man, this brings back amazing memories, i vividly remember renting the first of the gamera trilogy from hollywood video i cant even member how old i was

  13. I have always loved the Gojira/Gamera tokusatsu movies. I also loved the giant robots kaiju movies such as Jonny Sokko and His Flying Robot, which I can remember from childhood, or the Flying Robot Red Baron, filmed when I was a teenager but I'd only discovered in my 40's. I also loved the animated AstroBoy and Gigantor. I love it all.

  14. This fool who is upload ING vedioes against Asian movie is a big beggar.Asian culture values are deep like universe.viewers don't waste time by watching his vedioes. Do something useful.

  15. Maybe I'm wrong but I remember godzilla had transitioned into the guardian of the earth and gamera was considered the guardian of the universe… in my opinion there should not be a kong vs godzilla as godzilla should and probabaly will win hands down. Gamera is on a whole nother level than godzilla and should not be put against him either ..there are plenty of other story lines and famous villain type monsters to put these guys up against..but like I said that's just my opinion

  16. This is why Godzilla will always be better then Gamera he does not have kids always yelling out his name

  17. 04:30 Problem with that assessment. The reason is build-up. Full-on, until-the-last-possible-second build-up.

  18. Dude this is an outstanding video. I grew up loving Gamera as a kid and you really know what you're talking about. They are better films, and now I understand why they made such a deep impression on us as youngsters.

  19. I have always loved Gamera but he is not Godzilla not even close BUT some of his films were better for a short period in time, he will always be a favorite in my heart :). Very fun video and a fun take you had kudos to you 🙂

  20. Well then, now I HAVE to watch these. People more into kaiju than me have brought up Gamera multiple times and now I know why it's so beloved.

  21. the gamera trilogy are the only gamera films I rewatch from the franchise, they truly brought the best of godzilla's daikaiju rival.

  22. I'm reminded of Derek Meddings' excellent model work on Gerry Anderson TV series, like Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. I really like a well staged miniature scale apocalypse.

  23. This channel is essentially a more Chinese-Japanese orientated version of the American movie essay channels, and it's great. It gives me an opportunity to learn about the foreign films that I never really get to see anymore because of time constraints and preferences and quality differences.

  24. What gamera had over godzilla before it definitely doesn’t have it anymore after legendary pictures took over

  25. It was an excellent trilogy. Shame they did not continue with the series considering all the clues they dropped.

  26. I just finished the first one and high key… it kinda sucked there wasn’t as much monster action as the Godzilla movies, the special effects weren’t as good Godzilla’s, the suits looked stupid sometimes and in the night shots you could barely see Gamera but in the godzilla series you could see them clear as day. I hope the sequels are better

  27. Hands down not only my favorite kaiju films but also my favorite movies of all time. No movies not even the newest Godzilla film nor any future Godzilla or possibility Gamera films will ever top these underrated masterpieces. 🙂

  28. I saw every camera n godzilla films. Every one of them. Camera is as good if not better. I hope they will make a new one soon.

  29. I REMEMBER THOSE MOVIES!!!
    I loved Gamera as a kid, but no one I knew (I live in an unincorporated village in California, United States) had even heard of Gamera. When I told them how awesome it was people looked at me like a crazy person, or an interdimensional traveler where Godzilla doesn't exist in my home universe.

    I was however terrified by these movies(especially the 2nd one) and didn't watch them very many times but the first one was honestly one of the best Kaiju movies I have ever seen

  30. I’m not a fan of Gamera but I love the directer who did one of the gamera films because he did Godzilla GMK and made Godzilla a perfect villain along side shin Godzilla with so little budget also Godzilla is my favorite can’t be persuaded anyways also he is one of OG Japanese kaijus so Gojira is my love – My opinion

  31. What did you do to the Godzilla 2014 shot in the beginning to make it look how it did in theaters? Using the digital copy? edited yourself?

  32. Godzilla Vs. Destroyah was amazing! That said, this Gamera movie is fantastic. I grew up on the slightly cheezier Gamera (and that dubbed for American TV). Still loved that giant turtle, but it was cheezy. The later Gameras were really quite impressive and you could tell, even in those shots that might not have been perfect, that they were trying for creativity. You had to appreciate that.

  33. I've really been needing to get into the Gamera movies for a while(not sure about the showa era ones though). But I just don't know where to watch it or how

  34. Great video! I've been a Gamera fan for decades, even though they were hard to find in the US in the 80s until MST gave them a lot of exposure. I need to get the heisei trilogy to go with my showa bluray collection, they look great! I can't believe how spectacular the cinematography is in those films 🤯

  35. I am a big Godzilla fan and he will always be the king in my eyes. I have heard of Gamera but never seen the films. However, after watching your video, I really think I want to give this kaiju a chance. I personally like serious kaiju movies with a "childish" tone and this might be the thing that fills my void until Godzilla vs kong comes out :PPP thank you for this vid!

  36. Fun fact: the screenwriter of this movie later went on to write screenplay for Mamoru Oshii's anime adaptation of Ghost in the Shell.

  37. Great Video!!! I stumbled upon it because I wanted to know what happened to Gamera. Why not bring him back? I think Gamera bs Godizalla would be a better fight then bs Kong. Make Gamera bigger than before. They are rivals off screen why not be rivals onscreen and have them fight for the Crown. Let’s see who is the true alpha.

  38. Heisei Godzilla > Heisei Gamera. I will say Heisei Gamera did have better special effects but not story. I dod think the Heisei trilogy is the best Gamera and great movies.

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