Gamera vs Zigra 1971 Movie Review

Written by Barney Buckley

Email Address – bbuckley@triad.rr.com


gamera 1971poster

Movie Information 

  • Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
  • Produced by Yoshihiko Manabe, Hidemasa Nagata, Sandy Frank
  • Written by Nisan Takahashi
  • Distributed by Daiei Film (Japan) Sandy Frank (US version)
  • Release Dates July 17, 1971
  • Running Time 87 Min.
  • Language Japanese
  • Alternate Titles Gamera versus Deep Sea Monster Zigra, Gamera vs Zigra

Synopsis

Our adventure starts on a UN moon base, where the narrator gives a rousing account of humanity’s conquest of space, and the dangers in the cosmos we may face. Suddenly, out of the blackness a strange, alien spaceship appears and uses a ray beam to slice and dice the base into little pieces.

The disaster goes unnoticed on Earth, where all eyes seem to converge on the Okigawa Sea World, where cutting edge research and training is done on whales, dolphins and seals. We are treated to a short essay on how to brush the teeth of killer whales and introduced to 2 marine biologists, the nominal heroes of the film. Each biologist has 1 child, both of whom are great friend.

The biologist goes out to the ocean on a field survey and pal around while pontificating on the ecological damage of pollution. In the distance, the scientists view a UFO descending into the ocean. Curious the biologists take their boat out to sea to investigate.

Checking their boat for lunch, the biologists discover that their children have stowed aboard the boat. There is no time to chasten the little children, however, as Gamera suddenly appears on the scene and flies around in search of the downed UFO. The biologists and the kids are hit with a tractor ray and beamed aboard the alien ship. Onboard, the group is confronted by 2 aliens, space babe and someone (thing) called Zigra.

Space babe tells the group the story of the planet Zigras and their plans for earth, wanting them to return to land and tell everyone. Having a change of plan, space babe decides to level Tokyo with a magnitude 18 earthquake to prove the superiority of Zigran science. Space babe levels Tokyo with a giant earthquake, much to the horror of the biologists. Space babe rebuffs the biologists, telling them that man has polluted the Earth and are no longer worthy to rule there. She then hypnotizes the biologists with her ruby Hypnos stare.

Space babe tries to hypnotize the kids, but they fiddle with the ship’s controls and manage to paralyze space babe. The kids use the ensuing confusion to escape the alien ship with their fathers. Space babe recovers and is told by Zigra to find the children and kill them because they “know too much”. Space babe pilots the Zigran ship towards the children, destroying a freighter that gets in the way. Just when it seems that the children are doomed, Gamera swoops in and plucks the children from the jaws of death. Gamera deposits the children and their fathers on a desert island nearby before returning to battle the Zigran ship.

The children learn that they are on Noah Island near the Sea World at Okigawa. Somehow the kids return to Sea World with their fathers in tow. The kids are debriefed by the military and scientists assembled there. The folks there learn little from the children. The children’s fathers do not respond to any treatment the doctors administer for their condition. The military attacks Zigra with warplanes that are promptly zapped out of the sky. Zigra dispatches space babe to Sea World to find and kill the children. Space babe materializes in Okigawa and makes/hypnotizes her way to Sea World.  Space babe finally reaches the children but is unable to catch them.

A chase ensues with much footage and mass hypnotization. The chase ends with Space babe tricked into riding a Ferris wheel. Gamera reaches the Zigran ship hiding underwater. Lasers and Fiery breath are exchanged. Boulders get tossed by Gamera at the Zigran ship. Under this combined assault, the Zigran ship is destroyed. Zigra, however, escapes and grows to tremendous size due to the lower water pressure of Earth. Gamera and Zigra do battle, with Gamera dragging the giant shark creature onto shore. After some pounding, Zigra morphs into a land form and dope slaps Gamera with a laser beam.

Gamera falls, catatonic, into the ocean. Zigra then goes back into the ocean and swims around – lamenting the loss of the spaceship and describing how it will destroy all of human civilization while humanity can only watch helplessly. Space babe gets free of the Ferris wheel and continues to rummage around zapping people and chasing the kids. A Sea World employee tells the military about Space babe. Space babe is cornered and then knocked out by a soldier yelling “Ah” into a walkie-talkie. The military uses the walkie-talkie technique to revive the children’s fathers.

Revived, they volunteer to go underwater in a bathysphere and revive Gamera with the walkie-talkie technique. The former Space babe revives and has no recollection of her nefarious activities. The kids hide on the bathysphere the fathers intend to go underwater in. The fathers descend to where Gamera lays, stricken, underwater.  They zap Gamera with sound once. No good. They zap Gamera again, louder this time, and it was still no good. Zigra shows up, attracted by the commotion, and proceeds to beat up the bathyscaph.

The fathers manage to use light to drive away Zigra, but Zigra then zaps the bathysphere. Just when all seems lost, a lightning storm appears and zaps Gamera reviving the giant turtle. Gamera sneaks in and blindsides Zigra, which allows Gamera to rescue the bathysphere and return it to the surface. The military uses the walkie-talkie technique to revive the fathers and their children. Meanwhile Gamera joins battle with Zigra once more. Ray fire is exchanged between the two beasts. Zigra then turns to slashing Gamera with its dorsal fins, with some success.

But Gamera tires of this quickly, and seizes Zigra flying the monster into the light and onshore, where it is weaker. Gamera picks up Zigra and drops the beast from a great height. Gamera then shoves a boulder down Zigra’s snout, blocking its laser ray. Emasculated, Zigra can only observe helplessly as Gamera pummels it mercilessly. Gamera takes a tower and plays a merry tune on Zigra’s dorsal spines before cooking the fish thoroughly with its fiery breath. With Zigra burned to a crisp, Gamera endures the hero’s final speech about the importance of ecology before flying away.

What I Think about This Movie

Well let’s just say that this movie too has some cheesy moments. Let’s get into what I like about the movie and that is Zigra is a cool looking shark with great-looking detail. Gamera is still the same they don’t usually change him until 1980 minus all the stock footage he does have a new look somewhat. He is drastically change in the Heisei Series. The one thing I did not like about the movie is the xylophone scene this they went little too far with.

Trivia

  • Zigra in full shark mode resembles a Goblin shark, a rare species of deep sea shark found most commonly near Japan.
  • Gamera vs. Zigra was the only classic Gamera film not released in the U.S. until the advent of home video. All the previous films had been picked up for theatrical distribution or for television. Gamera vs. Zigra first appeared in the U.S. in 1987 via video tape, long after its Japanese release.

Closing Statements

This is one of those movies that you can sit there and watch and be amused by some of the dumb things you see in this movie we even have Zigra the talking shark (LOL) quite amusing. Some of the scenes are a little far-fetched, but all in all it’s okay to watch once in a while.

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