Gamera: Super Monster 1980 Movie Review

Written by Barney Buckley

Email Address – bbuckley@triad.rr.com


gamera 1980poster

Movie Information 

  • Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
  • Produced by Masaichi Nagata, Hirozaki Ohba, Shigeru Shinohara, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, Masaya Tokuyama
  • Distributed by Daiei Film
  • Release Dates March 20, 1980
  • Running Time 92 Min.
  • Country Japan

Synopsis

The opening sequence shows a sequence of space drawings with a voice in the background soliloquizing about the vastness of space and isolation of earth among the heavens. Next, the narrator relates through a series of storyboards the arrival of a giant pirate ship. The star destroye-, I mean, pirate ship then appears onscreen ala “Star Wars”, the evil leader relating to us his intention to destroy Earth.  A woman in a pet store gets a chime alarm from her earring and launches into action, performing some funky aerobic ritual and transforming into a caped SPACEWOMAN! A second woman gets the chime alarm and changes into a spacewoman before flying away.

A third woman, driving an old van, gets the chime alarm and changes the van into a glowing, white, amorphous spaceship. Meeting the pirate ship in space, the spacewomen are confronted by the tyrranical pirate leader. Xanon know about the spacewomen from the Peaceful Star and informs them that nothing they can do will thwart his plans for world domination, and they are warned not to interfere on pain of death.

Conducting a strategic retreat the spacewomen do the strange aerobic ritual to change into their non-detectable human forms and ride around in the now transformed van discussing their helplessness in the face of this intergalactic threat. Xanon wants to ensure that the spacewomen don’t cause any mischeif, so he sends Spacebabe, his leuitenant, down to Earth to locate and destroy the spacewomen. Spacebabe touches down on Earth and assumes the guise of a comely, young earth girl to search for the spacewomen. An earth man hits on her and is electroshocked into submission by SpaceBabe.

Segue to a Japanese household, where young Akiachi is trying to learn how to play the piano and failing, badly. Frustrated by his lack of ability, Akiachi sets off in search of a new pet turtle. Akiachi tries to get a turtle from the local policeman but fails. In a pet shop, Akiachi does manage to convince the spacewoman Kalara to give him a free turtle. Kalara then gets a chime alarm an has to leave Akiachi to go home with his new pet. Kalara changes into spacewoman and rushes to confront Xanon, who rambles on about the natural disasters which will soon befall the Earth.

Then we are treated to some nice stock footage of a volcano erupting, and then some more natural disaster stock footage, and then more stock footage, and then we segue back to more awful piano lessons by Akiachi – AIIIIIGGGGGGHHHH!!!! . . . Can’t . . . watch . . . this . . . film . . . any  . . . longer [I’m back now, the Prozac did wonders.]

Akiachi’s mother intrudes on his piano practice(Ostensibly to kill Akiachi over how bad his piano playing is, but lacking any convenient weapons opts for the more subtle, physchological approach) to chide him to spend less time playing piano and more time studying. While she is at it, Akiachi’s mother gives the boy a guilt trip about keeping his beloved pet turtle captive and forces him to promise to set the turtle free. Akiachi dutifully does his mother’s bidding and we are treated to an emotional farewell scene between Akiachi and his turtle on a riverbank.

On the world front, Gyaos attacks the earth, presumably under pirate control. Stock footage fleshes out appearances of the monster. Spacewoman detects the monster and changes into spacewoman and meets her fellow spacewomen. Spacebabe detects the surge in energy and reports to Xanon for further instructions. Xanon directs Space babe to destroy the spacewomen. Space babe calls down beam fire from the star destroyer, pirate ship!

Spacewomen narrowly escape death, but a spacewoman’s red sports car/spaceship gets trashed. The spacewomen transform back to humans to escape detection. Back at the pet shop, Akiachi shows up to apologize to Kalara for freeing the turtle she gave him. Kalara tells Akiachi, no big deal. Kalara shows Akiachi her pad, and Akiachi thrills Kalara with this piano rendition of the Gamera march.

More pirate activity is detected, the spacewomen try to transform but are detected and fired upon almost immediately. Gamera shows up and proceeds to fight and defeat Gyaos in a series of stock footage outtakes, interspersed with exasperated commentary from Space babe. Akiachi runs into spacebabe and makes the wrong friend. Akiachi confides in space babe that his pet turtle changed into Gamera, Space babe in turn confides in Akiachi that Gamera is going to get its ass kicked. Akiachi doesn’t believe Space babe, and Gamera’s victory confirms his beliefs. Perplexed, space babe moves off to ponder the connection between Gamera and Akiachi.

Looking to test the connection between Gamera and Akiachi, space babe lures Akiachi out to lunch and throws the boy into a space warp that plops Akiachi down in the path of an oncoming Vigras.  During the stock footage battle, space babe exposes her true nature to Akiachi and the boy flees her. Monitoring the battle, Kalara opens a space warp for Akiachi to jump through. Denied her prize, spacebabe can only watch the stock footage destruction of Viras, and plead with Xanon for another chance.  Another shot of little Akiachi in Kalara’s room. Kalara introduces her space woman cohorts, Marsha and Mitan and reveals to Akiachi that they are from the planet of the Peaceful Star.

The spacewomen tell Akiachi that they must leave to fight Xanon. Stock footage of Star Blazers relates this gripping departure. The spacewomen in fact do not leave Earth, but retire instead to the magic van for a good night’s rest. However, space babe has detected their wheels and plants a time bomb under the van. The bomb explodes, obliterating the magic van. Akiachi stares in horror at the blackened space where his new friends once were, only to hear the voices of the spacewomen coming from a red lunchbox.

Turns out that the red lunchbox is their miniature space house and is protected from both Xanon’s bomb and detection system. The spacewomen transform quickly to check out the bomb site and then switch back to go into the lunchbox. Akiachi is charged with getting the red lunchbox, and the spacewomen, back to the petshop. Space babe nearly gets Akiachi in the process.

Kalara uses her magic organ to view Gamera’s battle vs. Jiger. Stock footage recounts Gamera’s 2nd victory against this monster. Space babe manages to plant a remote control device on Gamera, putting the giant turtle under her control. Gamera then proceeds to commit much stock footage destruction mayhem. Kalara tells Akiachi that she will risk her life to free Gamera from alien control. Kalara does the aerobic thing and switches into SPACEWOMAN! Dodging laser blasts from Xanon’s ship, Kalara reaches the probe on Gamera’s neck and manages to trick Xanon into blasting it.

Freed from alien control, Gamera jets off to its next stock footage battle. Spacewoman transforms back to Kalara, only to be confronted by a gun-toting space babe. Kalara and space babe, fight. Kalara donates a can of whoop ass to space babe. Kalara is gracious in victory, lecturing space babe and returning her blaster. Space babe is changed by Kalara’s mercy towards her. Gamera goes to the pirate’s planet (presumably) and fights a re-animated Guiron.

Stock footage relates Guiron’s grisly death at Gamera’s hand in some detail. For his victory, the viewer is treated to stock footage of the anime show “Galaxy Express 999”. Back on Earth, space babe tells Akiachi that she has learned about love from him. Gamera returns to Earth and defeats Baragon in a stock footage battle of epic proportions and predictable ending. This last defeat incites Xanon to attack Earth directly with his pirate ship. First, Xanon will obliterate Akiachi and the spacewomen.

Space babe bravely gives Xanon false coordinates and brings down laser fire on herself to save the spacewomen and Akiachi. In space, Gamera rams into the pirate ship, dying but destroying it in the process. Kalara consoles a grieving Akiachi by telling him that Gamera died to make the world a better place. Kalara then asks Akiachi to fly with her and the other spacewomen. The credits roll as we see Akiachi fly away with Kalara.

What I Think about This Movie

This movie is super loaded with stock footage. The alien women definitely the stupidest part about this movie is the cheesiest of all the Gamera movie. The one thing I do like is the new look of Gamera still has a showa series look about him. That’s the one thing I like about this movie. The rest that I hate.

Trivia

Showa era refers to the giant monster films made between Godzilla and this film. The Heisei era of giant monster films would begin with Godzilla 1985: The Legend Is Reborn but the Gamera series would not be revived for the Heisei era until Gamera: Guardian of the Universe which ignored the previous films.

Made with the intention of pulling production company Daiei out of debt. The film failed at the box office, and Daiei filed for bankruptcy about six months later. The low budget of the film is evidenced by the extensive use of stock footage; all scenes of Gamera battling other monsters are taken from previous films in the series.

Gamera knocks over a billboard at one point in the film. The camera zooms into the billboard, revealing it to be an advertisement for a Godzilla film.

Closing Statements

This is definitely not the best of the series of Gamera movies and this is because 80% of this movie is stock footage which in a sense school if you haven’t seen any of the other movies it does show you the fight scenes with all the other monsters. So you don’t want to pick up the entire collection pick this one up and you will get the highlights of all the movies if you can tolerate the cheesiness of the alien women.

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