Monday, October 27, 2014

Space Monster Gamera: Super Monster (1980)

Space Monster Gamera: Super Monster is the eighth film in the Gamera series, and in this one Gamera gets a new, fun theme song. I don’t speak a word of Japanese, and the song isn’t subtitled for some reason, but I can only imagine the lyrics are at least as good as those of Gamera’s previous theme (“You are strong, Gamera/You are strong, Gamera/You are strong, Gamera”).

The film begins with the opening shot from Star Wars, though this Star Destroyer isn’t chasing any Blockade Runner. Voice over tells us that this spaceship, named Zanon, has a mission to “take Earth under its control.”

Meanwhile crazy Japanese girls respond to noises that only they hear by grabbing their right earlobes and changing into their superhero outfits and flying up into the air. One of them, however, gets into her van (which, by the way, has pictures of cats on roller skates on the side), and it goes up into the air after turning into an orange splotch. All the girls meet in the splotch, where they hear a transmission aimed at the people of Earth. This guy knows there are space women there. So the three chicks change back into their street clothes to avoid detection.

Another space woman, Giruge, comes down from Spaceship Zanon. (Okay, we’re only like eight minutes into the movie, and it’s already completely off the rails.) Her orders are to “eliminate anyone and anything that may hinder our efforts here.” Pretty vague, but okay. She interprets the order as a call to electrocute a guy who asks her on a date.

Meanwhile three retarded boys go to a park in search of a character from a comic book one of them owns. They even have their own little retarded boy theme music. But when they find the guy they’re looking for, he tells them comic books are fiction. Speaking of retards, whoever wrote the subtitles doesn’t understand the difference between “hear” and “here.”

At this point the filmmakers apparently ran out of funding for the movie and were forced to start using footage from earlier Gamera films, like the terrible shot of the helicopter splitting in two, and then that beam splitting some cheap models of fighter planes into pieces. And that bat-like creature creating wind with its wings. This old footage is broken up by a shot of the main retarded boy singing Gamera’s new theme song to a turtle he was given by one of the space women. At his mother’s urging, however, he sets the turtle free in the river. He goes and plays the theme song for the space women. This is the third time we’ve heard this song in the first twenty-four minutes of the film, and I’m starting to enjoy it less.

Well, the spaceship Zanon can only find the space women when they have their superhero outfits on. Normal clothing confuses the spaceship. But for some reason they keep wanting to change into their superhero outfits anyway. Oh, girls love to play dress-up. It’s fun!

Gamera arrives, and the retarded boy believes it is his pet turtle that has changed into Gamera. The three space women think so too. Good thing the Earth isn’t relying on them to save it from the old monster footage! Speaking of old monster footage, we then get another scene from the third Gamera film where three guys in a red car pretend the car is moving while some crew members shake it, and that monster splits the car in half with its light beam. Gamera arrives to fight the monster. It’s the same footage used before, but now it’s set to disco music. So it’s improved!

Gamera defeats the monster exactly the same way he did in the third movie. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of footage from the other films to fill the ninety-two minutes of this piece of shit. Next up: Gamera Vs. Zigra, the seventh film (and the one I had considered the worst of the series until I saw this one). The retarded boy is at first frightened of the old footage, but the evil space woman tells him it will be all right. But is it all right to just take footage from several other movies and pass it off as a new movie? Is that entertainment? Well, I guess it’s fun to watch Gamera dance again.

This film then uses footage from Gamera Vs. Viras, the fourth movie in the series. So let’s see. They decided to make a new Gamera movie, and they started by created a new theme song for it, and then… Then I guess they considered their job finished.

There is more trouble with the subtitles. One space woman asks the others, “Have you both gotten your days om of work?” What does that mean? She also says, “Things are really happening fast.” Are they? Is she talking about some other film? And then she says, “Soon we’ll have to show yourselves.” Did she mean, “Soon we’ll have to show ourselves”? Or, “Soon you’ll have to show yourselves”? The second would be interesting, if she’s planning on sacrificing the other two in order to save herself.

Well, the retarded boy keeps the three good space women in a little case and takes them to the pet store. And the bad space woman proceeds to attack Earth with footage from Gamera Vs. Jiger. The three space women and the retarded boy watch the footage on a television screen, a way for the film to admit it’s reusing old footage. But then we’re forced to watch the television screen as well, which becomes redundant to such a degree that my brain begins to hurt. And… well, there’s more, but who cares? We’ve seen it all before.

Here's a question: Why didn’t the aliens just use their giant spaceship’s weapons to destroy Japan rather than sending one chick down there to control some old footage of monsters destroying Japan?

The good space women turn the bad space woman good, and then the retarded boy’s mother says that since the boy likes her she’s welcome to stay at their house as long as she wants to. But she wouldn’t let him keep a pet turtle? And at the end Gamera goes to fight the Star Destroyer, but the filmmakers apparently didn’t have enough money to actually shoot that scene and couldn’t find any similar footage in any of the earlier films. So there’s no battle scene. Instead the space women take the retarded boy flying over the city, like Superman took Lois Lane. Clearly, they have romantic feelings for him.

The end.

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